Being wrongfully charged with a crime you did not commit can be a product of a faulty police investigation, a problematic evidence testing, and overall a flawed justice system. No matter the cause, being falsely convicted is never right and will cause only lengthy suffering to the incriminated.
Unfortunately, wrongful convictions happen all the time especially on cases with factors that are flimsy and can be easily adjusted to make plausible, one of these cases are DUI (Driving under the Influence).
If you are living in Las Vegas, you should know that DUI arrests are rampant, largely because of the city’s law enforcement being more vigilant towards drivers that are under the influence. Due to the casualty rate of 318 in 2015 caused by DUI crashes in Nevada, it is understandable why law enforcement is aggressive toward DUI.
Still, the law and the police force are not perfect and there are instances when they do something unintentionally wrong that could mean grave consequences.
How to know if you have been wrongfully charged for DUI
If a police suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol and drugs, you will be requested to be pulled over. Once cleared off the road, the officer will perform sobriety and Breathalyzer tests to determine how intoxicated you are or if you are.
The politically correct term for a sobriety test is the Standardized Field Sobriety Test or SFST and usually includes activities that is designed to know if you are impaired such as:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus or HGN test
- Walk-and-turn test
- One-leg stand test
Breathalyzer tests, on the other hand, use a specialized device to measure your blood alcohol concentration or BAC level to learn if you are intoxicated.
If you happen to perform the sobriety tests properly and come out with a Breathalyzer result that is less than blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 but you still get charged and hauled towards the police headquarters, then you are most likely on your way to a wrongful conviction.
Shortcomings that cause unjust convictions
Everything within the entire DUI case can be the cause of the unlawful conviction. Even you as a defendant could have done something wrong that contributes to the problem without you realizing it.
One of the most prominent causes of wrongful charges and eventual conviction are false confessions. Allegedly, some police officers coerce the accused to admit to the offense by using shady tactics that can be subtle or even blatant. Officers are believed do this to speed up the process or because they believe the accused is actually responsible of the violation.
The actual sobriety test and the Breathalyzer devices used during the initial arrest can also be major factors that result to a wrongful conviction. There are occurrences of police officers having limited knowledge of the tests or having a subjective view of the test results. Sobriety tests can fail but officers with a biased point of view will conclude that the tests are infallible and you are therefore showing signs of someone under the influence. Breathalyzers are also not devices invincible to errors. They need to be calibrated routinely and properly and if a police officer fails to do so, they are baiting you on using a device that will only produce unreliable results.
Blood tests can also help determine whether a person is intoxicated at the time of the arrest and like the sobriety and Breathalyzer tests, it can also yield defective findings. Mishandling of the specimen and incompetence of laboratory specialists are some of prime reasons for this.
How a wrongful conviction affects your life
Aside from consequences of being held in the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) or any other detention centers in Nevada depending on the magnitude of your case, paying required fines, attending court hearings, and having your license revoked, a DUI conviction can follow you for the rest of your life.
What exactly is a DUI conviction? When it is proven that you were driving-under-the-influence in an undesirable level then you can be sentenced to particular penalties such as:
- Two days to six months in prison
- At least 48 hours of community service
- Fines of $400 to $,1000
- Driver license suspension of 90 days
- 10 days to 6 months in jail
- Fines of $750 to $1,000
- One-year driver license suspension
- One to six years in Las Vegas jail
- Fines starting from $2,000 to $5,000
- Driver license suspension for three years
Additional penalties such as intervention programs and other fines can also be charged based on the situation such as the driver being underage or if there is casualty involved.
Hassles brought by DUI charges will also not end after the jail time or the license suspension—your reputation can also be tarnished. You likely will have a difficult time getting back to your job or finding a new one. Your relationships, finances, and applications can also suffer. The good thing is you can expunge a DUI record but you need to wait at least seven years to do so.
Challenging the charges
You can challenge the DUI case right from the arrest through following every procedure that is being ordered for you to do. Remain your composure and make sure you observe everything that is being done. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot refuse tests such as the Breathalyzer unless under several conditions so it is best to just submit to the test than cause problems that might likely lead to a charge.
Once at court, you can use counter-defenses like:
- Arrest is an evident set-up (police officers happen to appear out of nowhere but strategically despite no official checkpoints or signs of roving)
- Tests performed are inadequate or flawed
- Devices used for tests are not working properly
- Arresting police officers have no probable cause
- Blood test was taken without permission and without having the need for it
You are never less of a person when charged with DUI, especially if it is a false charge, so go out there and defend yourself with the help of a reliable DUI attorney and through strategies that are only leaning to the truth.
Being convicted of a crime you are innocent of can take toll in every aspects of your life but you can prevent this if you are a responsible citizen in the first place.
Goodman Criminal Defense Attorney
520 S 4th St, Las Vegas, NV 89101, USA
(702) 383 – 5088