Defenses to DUI Charges in Orange County
The defenses to DUI charges in Orange County are well known by both prosecution and defense lawyers. The key to successfully fighting DUI charges is to find an attorney who is extremely detail oriented, truly a zealous advocate, and is familiar with the courts where they practice law. DUI and trial experience are also qualities the defense lawyer you hire must possess.
In order for the prosecution to successfully prosecute someone charged with driving under the influence (California VC 23152), they will need to prove two criminal elements to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt: That a person was operating a motor vehicle, and that the person was impaired while operating the vehicle.
These are not the most complex charges to prove and the police, through the advocacy of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), generally speaking are very well trained to properly collect evidence and record their observations in a way that helps prosecutors gain convictions. At the end of each year, DUI statistics are compiled and agencies look to see whether their tactics are effective, refine them, and go back to the streets to continue arresting suspected drunk drivers.
Element 1: Prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was operating the vehicle. Although no two cases have the exact same facts, it only takes a single witness (usually the arresting officer) to testify that the defendant was, in fact, operating the vehicle.
Defenses to Element 1: This is not a hard element to prove, but some cases aren't prosecuted because the prosecution doesn't have clear evidence that the defendant actually operated the vehicle. Unfortunately statistically speaking, juries are far more likely to believe the testimony of a police officer over a defendant. Despite the assumption that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty, that's just the way it is. Sadly, surveys of jurors who have served on juries found that some even believe that police have some superhuman powers of perception. So, finding a defense to element 1 can be challenging, especially if the officer actually saw the defendant driving.
But it's not impossible. There are certain circumstances where an officer may have thought a defendant was operating a vehicle, when in fact they were simply sitting inside of it and not driving. Some DUI convictions have even been thrown out because the defendant was sleeping in the vehicle with the keys out of the ignition and the car not running. In that case the officer would have needed to visually confirm that the person drove the vehicle to the location in which they were found, then turned the vehicle off and instantly fell asleep seconds before the officer initiated the traffic stop. A very unlikely scenario.
Element 2: Prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person operated the vehicle while impaired.
Defenses to Element 2: The most common defense to element 2 is that the driver was not impaired. There are many possible scenarios where the state will fail to prove that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving. Breathalyzers can malfunction or provide faulty results, a person could be fatigued, the officer poorly administered a field sobriety test, and so on. It really comes down to the individual facts of your particular case what your defense will be.
How Does a Breathalyzer Provide Faulty Test Results?
What Happens When an Officer Wrongly Administers a Field Sobriety Test?
What Are the Defenses to Bad Performance of a FST?
If you were recently arrested for DUI in Orange County, call our office and speak with a DUI defense attorney who knows how to navigate the courts here. It's important the firm you hire gets you the best outcome possible in your case to keep you out of jail. A DUI lawyer who knows Orange County courts can also help reduce the fines you'll have to pay, minimize the amount of time your license is suspended, and set you up for the classes you will need to take in order to satisfy the terms of your sentence. Don't wait to hire someone - call the Johnson Criminal Law Group now.