In America, people accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution must prove every element of the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If prosecutors fail on even one element — if there is even one bit of doubt as to whether you committed the offense — they have not made their case.
That is why the evidence police officers collect against you can make or break your case. There are many places and many ways that the police collect evidence against you, including blood, breath and urine tests.
At the Whited Law Firm in Daytona Beach, Florida, we examine all the police evidence against you. If evidence was collected illegally, we take action to make sure that it cannot be used against you in court.
Evidence in a drunk driving case generally falls into five categories. The first of these consists of driving symptoms that lead to traffic stops. These include involve weaving in and out of lanes, breaking repeatedly, lane straddling or erratic driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are as many as 20 different driving patterns recognized to be possible indicators of intoxication.
The second type of DUI evidence involves personal behavior and appearance, which the police officer notices when he or she approaches the vehicle. These can include an odor of alcohol on the breath, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, unsteady walking and leaning on the car for support. Some of these are so common that officers include them in their arrest reports — even if the behavior was not actually present.
The third type of evidence consists of the results of field sobriety tests. These may include walk and turn, touch the nose, one-leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This test involves following an object like a pen or finger from side to side with your eyes. Each test must be administered correctly, and the results are not always reliable.
The fourth category of evidence consists of incriminating statements. These may be made during questioning or just spontaneously. A refusal to submit to blood tests, breath tests (Breathalyzer) or urine tests may be interpreted as an incriminating statement.
The final type of DUI evidence is the blood-alcohol test. These may be blood tests, breath tests or urine tests. Experienced DUI defense lawyers know that the computer in the breath-test machine (Breathalyzer) assumes the person is average when this is not always the case. Mistakes in test administration, food and some medications can all affect the accuracy of the Breathalyzer.