The penalties for a DUI, or driving under the influence, can be very serious. In Alabama, the penalties depend on how many offenses you have. The penalty for a first offense is a fine between $600 and $2,100 and a 90-day suspension of your license. With each subsequent offense, the fines are stiffer and the suspensions longer. If you have been arrested for a DUI, and you want to fight the charge, there are several defenses available. Challenging behavior testimony in a DUI case is one way to defend yourself.
Do police officers have sufficient evidence to charge you?
Unfortunately, in many cases, police officers accuse people of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but have insufficient evidence to substantiate the charge. Consider the recent news article published at AL.com. Jonathon Albert Smith was arrested in Shelby County, for DUI and possession of a controlled substance, after he led police on a “relatively low speed” chase. According to the article, sheriff’s deputies allegedly saw Smith swerving across the center line and into oncoming traffic multiple times. After he allegedly drove onto the shoulder of the road and ran a red light, the officers attempted to pull him over. Once he was apprehended, he was found in possession of Xanax, for which he did not have a valid prescription. Probable cause for the traffic stop was based on his behavior while driving.
Are officers really trained to interpret driver behaviors?
The reality is, many officers are not actually trained to detect whether someone is under the influence of drugs. While there are observable signs of intoxication, there are also many medical reasons or other explanations for a driver’s appearance or behavior. In most cases, an officer has not actually seen the suspect before pulling him over. For this reason, a defendant should never admit to intoxication.
Challenging an officer’s testimony regarding your behavior
All too often, a substantial part of the evidence against a DUI defendant comes from the arresting officer’s observations and impressions as to whether or not you were intoxicated. For instance, the officer will likely testify about how you were driving, if you were weaving, crossing the center line, or running traffic lights or stop signs. If you can present evidence that might disprove those observations, it will go a long way toward helping your defense.
If you have questions regarding DUI, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law, either online or by calling us at (205) 296-4233.