Types of DUI Evidence
The ability to evaluate Tennessee DUI evidence is a very important aspect of defending a DUI case. It is very important that your lawyer have both the experience and knowledge to use the arresting officer's statements and reports to your benefit. It is crucial to establishing a sound defense. How an individual charged with a DUI is treated by the system will generally turn upon the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence available to the prosecution. Where the prosecution’s evidence is weak, there is an increased likelihood that a jury trial will result in a finding of not guilty. Because of this, prosecutors are more open to reasonable plea negotiations.
As a DUI attorney, I work to weaken the prosecutor’s case. One of the first things that I will do upon being retained on a case is to obtain a copy of the police officer’s arrest warrant. I then work with my client to analyze the report, as well as other evidence provided by both my client and the prosecution, to determine whether any legal arguments exist as to why evidence, such as a breath test or my client’s statements, show be excluded from trial.
Where legal arguments are available, I will file a motion(s), often extensive, on behalf of my clients to either exclude evidence or, where appropriate, to dismiss a case. If our arguments are successful, evidence will be excluded for trial and/or the case will be dismissed. Where evidence is excluded, it often weakens the prosecution’s case, increasing the likelihood that the prosecution, recognizing a trial may result in a finding of not guilty and, will be more open to a reasonable plea negotiation.
Examples of Evidence Used in a Typical DUI Case
Defendant's Driving Behavior: Was the defendant swerving or weaving? Was the defendant speeding? Or was he stopped for a bad taillight or other equipment malfunction. Can the driving be explained? This the starting point in any DUI case evaluation. If poor driving is present, it is necessary to either put the driving in context or explain it away all together. If the case does involve poor driving, then that issue will be a very important aspect of your defense.
Physical Coordination: If a defendant is having difficulty walking? Can the difficulty be explained?
Odor of Intoxicants: Does the accused smell of alcohol? Of course, this does not mean that the defendant is under the influence.
Eyes and Facial Color: Are the defendant’s eyes bloodshot and watery? Is the face red or flush? Can this be explained?
Speech: Is the defendant’s speech slurred? If so, can this be explained?
Field Sobriety Tests: Did the defendant perform well on the roadside tests? If not, are their contributing physical and/or psychological factors for poor performance. Remember, field tests are designed to be failed. A good DUI lawyer understands this and does not fear the tests. In fact, these tests can often be used in your favor or defense.
Statements: Did the defendant make any incriminating statements to the arresting officer?
Blood or Breath Test Results: What was the result of the defendant’s breath or blood test? Are the results valid?
Witnesses: Are there any witnesses available to either the defense or prosecution other than the defendant and arresting officer?
Although the state has multiple means to obtain a conviction for a DUI, an effective DUI lawyer has his own arsenal for the defending the accused in a DUI case. If you have a DUI charge in Tennessee, it is possible that the state's evidence can either be excluded or its credibility disputed before the judge or jury. An arresting officer's own reports can often be used against him in your defense as well as the arrest video. It is a DUI lawyer's job to ensure that your side of the story is told in court in the most persuasive manner. It is a DUI lawyer's job to leave no stone unturned.