DUI charges are no laughing matter. The penalties can be life altering even for first-time offenders. However, just because you face a charge, does not mean you don't have a defense. Anything from an improper stoppage to an officer's failure to deliver your rights can get your charge dropped.
When it comes to DUIs, some defenses are a little bit more unique than others. Here are a few odd-ball defenses that have actually worked.
“I have a slow metabolism”
When an officer stops you for a DUI, it will most likely take them a while before they conduct a breathalyzer test. From initially stopping your vehicle, to interviewing you, to field sobriety tests, a traffic stop can easily last over half an hour. Because, alcohol typically takes 60-90 minutes to metabolize, you could have easily become drunker while you were stopped by the police officer—especially if you had a drink right before you started driving.
The idea behind this defense is that you were not over the limit when you were driving but became so after the officer pulled you over.
“I didn't know I was drunk”
Unknowing intoxication is a legitimate defense. Your friend could have spiked the punch, or you could have mistaken your non-alcoholic beverage with a friend's cocktail. Regardless of how it happened, if you can prove that you had no reason to believe you were consuming alcohol, you may be able to get your charges dropped or reduced.
“I'm a wine taster”
Believe it or not, breathalyzer tests are not always accurate. One of the ways that a breathalyzer test could give an inaccurate result is if you've been wine tasting. Swishing around alcohol in your mouth and spitting it out will not get you drunk, but it might increase the amount of alcohol that is on your breath. This can lead to an inflated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading from a breathalyzer test.
“I had a fever”
Another factor that could affect a breathalyzer test may be your body temperature. According to studies, a higher body temperature directly correlates with a higher BAC reading. Furthermore, a high fever can cause you to look more haggard and red in the face. This appearance may have induced the officer to investigate for a DUI when you were sober.
“Officer, your camera isn't working”
There have been cases where a DUI charge was dropped due to faulty video evidence. In certain states such as South Carolina, all traffic stops and field sobriety tests must be recorded. This has caused a few DUI cases to be dismissed because the officer did not properly film the encounter.
While this particular defense might not work for New Hampshire residents, lack of video evidence might still help DUI defendants introduce reasonable doubt to their charges.
Keep calm when facing DUI charges
Though these defenses may seem like fun barroom stories, they are just a few of the legitimate defenses that defendants have used to fight DUI charges. Remember that every case is different, and legal advice should be specific to each situation. Stay calm if you face a DUI charge, and speak to an experienced DUI attorney to get proper legal guidance on your case.