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Protect your legal rights after a drunk driving charge

A charge of drunk driving can take a toll on your life, as you have many concerns about the impact of a conviction on your future. Fortunately, a DUI charge doesn't always result in a conviction.

There are steps you can take to protect your legal rights, with the idea of avoiding a conviction and the serious consequences associated with it.

It's important to discuss the pros and cons of each drunk driving defense strategy with your legal team, as this will help you decide how to proceed. Here are several of the most commonly employed drunk driving defense strategies:

  • Improper stop: An officer must have probable cause to stop your vehicle. If you can prove that this wasn't the case, you may be able to use this strategy to have your charges dismissed.
  • Accuracy of field sobriety tests: Don't assume that every field sobriety test is 100 percent accurate. For example, an officer may not have much experience administering a Breathalyzer test, which could lead to a mistake. Also, without proper maintenance, a Breathalyzer may not work as intended.
  • Chain of custody blood test: This is based on the administration of the blood test, including whether there was any mishandling or tampering along the way.
  • Rising blood alcohol concentration level: Your blood alcohol content level will increase over time, until it reaches its peak. It's possible that your blood alcohol content level was below the legal limit at the time you were first stopped, but increased by the time of testing. In other words, you were not actually breaking the law when you were operating your vehicle.

Which DUI defense strategy is best?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as it depends largely on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and case.

For example, one person may be able to argue an improper stop, while someone else can protect their rights by questioning the accuracy of the field sobriety tests.

Is an expungement possible?

While it's best to avoid a conviction altogether, this isn't always possible. Fortunately, you still have another option: expungement.

In the event of a misdemeanor DUI conviction, you must meet these requirements of expungement:

  • Five years has gone by since the date of conviction
  • You have not committed any additional crimes during this period
  • You are current on all fines and court costs

Since a felony DUI conviction is more serious, expungement calls for:

  • Eight years have gone by since the date of conviction
  • You have not committed any additional crimes during this period
  • You are current on all fines and court costs

If you are arrested for driving under the influence, remain silent to avoid saying something that will complicate your case. Once time allows, learn more about your legal rights, the court process and the many steps you can take to settle on the right drunk driving defense strategy.

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