A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is much different that an arrest based on a law enforcement officer’s suspicion or belief that a person is driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In order to secure a conviction, the state must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest burden of proof that exists within the United States legal system. In order to meet this burden in a DUI case, the state must be able to introduce specific pieces of evidence that tend to establish that a driver was intoxicated, which can include the following:
- An officer’s observations regarding a driver’s appearance, demeanor, or other characteristics
- The results of any field sobriety testing that was conducted
- The results of any chemical testing that was performed on a driver’s blood, breath, or urine
- The testimony of witnesses that may have observed a driver’s behavior or driving prior to an arrest
- Video footage of a driver or his or her vehicle while it was in motion
When they are admissible in court, this and other kinds of evidence can have a strong influence on a judge or jury that is trying to determine whether a particular driver was under the influence or not. As a result, many people who are accused of DUI decide to arrange a plea agreement with the prosecutor handling their case, usually in return for a lesser punishment. In other cases, however, there are ways that an experienced attorney can exclude evidence from being introduced at trial, resulting in a situation in which the prosecution will be unable to “make” their case. When this occurs, prosecutors may decide to drop charges or judges may dismiss them based on the legal insufficiency of the available evidence. As a result, anyone facing a DUI should discuss their options with an experienced Colorado DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.
Evidentiary rules can keep evidence out
There are various legal rules that can operate to keep certain evidence out of court for a variety of reasons. These rules are often very technical and properly applying them takes a thorough understanding of the law and the rules of court procedure. In addition, these rules are not self-executing, meaning that if a defendant does not challenge the introduction of specific evidence, the court will not do it for him or her. Some of the types of legal challenges that can be raised to keep evidence out of court include the following:
- Challenging the reason for the initial traffic stop. In the event that the stop was illegal, any evidence gained after the stop would likely be admissible in any court proceedings against you.
- Introducing evidence that any field sobriety testing that occurred was improperly administered.
- Challenging the results of any chemical testing that occurred, including the initial calibration of a breathalyzer machine, if one was used.
In many cases, the successful suppression of evidence in a DUI case can force the prosecution to drop its case. As a result, anyone facing allegations of driving under the influence in Colorado should discuss their options with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call the Tiftickjian Law Firm today at (303) DUI-5280.