Challenging a Georgia Breath Test DUI
In a previous post, I addressed the Four Most Common Breath Test challenges. Today, I want to elaborate on why challenging your overall arrest is one of the most important things you can do in a breath test DUI case.
Georgia's per se DUI laws make it illegal to blow or test over the legal limit while operating a vehicle. For those 21 and older, this means you cannot test at or over a .08, the legal limit in all states. When defending a DUI case where you blew over the limit, the prosecutor will have 2 alternative ways of proving their case. The first, and easiest, is to simply convince a judge or jury that your test result was believable and at or over .08. The second method is to show that you were less safe to drive your vehicle due to the alcohol you had consumed. The two cases do not necessary depend on one another. You can be found not guilty of one and still found guilty of the other. Prosecutors usually have an easier time proving a per se (over the limit) case, since they will tout the breath test as "scientific evidence" and therefore harder to successfully challenge.
While attacking a breath test on the science is something our firm gladly does, there is a way to cut off your case before it even reaches that point. By attacking a DUI arrest's validity, you have a chance to have the case thrown out, regardless of the test result. Of course, not every case will be thrown out based on the validity of the arrest, but it is always worth combing through the case from the beginning.
The most common challenges to a DUI arrest in Georgia, regardless of the breath test result, are probably to challenge the probable cause for the DUI arrest, the reason for the stop of your vehicle, the Georgia implied consent law, and whether or not there are any Miranda (custody) issues. Miranda does not come up very frequently in DUI cases, but the length and overall progression of the traffic stop is always a relevant factor in a DUI case.
When a client's case involves a traffic stop or roadblock, I always file motions that challenge the legality of the traffic stop or roadblock. In order to be constitutional, the officer must have a valid reason for stopping your vehicle. Merely thinking your car looks or seems suspicious is not enough. The officer must be able to justify the stop with specific facts that equate to a violation of the law. If you are pulled over at a roadblock, or safety check as cops frequently call them, then the police must satisfy a whole set of requirements for the roadblock to be held as valid.
In addition to attacking the reason you were initially stopped, we always file motions in our client's cases looking at the probable cause for the DUI arrest. Remember, you were arrested for DUI before you took the state breath test. The officer could not predict that you would test over the legal limit at the time- they should be able to justify their reasoning for arresting and charging you with DUI. Whether or not the officer developed sufficient probable cause to arrest you will be explored in every case we take.
Attacking your breath test case from the second you were stopped is essential in a strong DUI defense. Of course not every case will be won because one of the reasons mentioned above, but I am still surprised by how some investigations were performed on seemingly slam-dunk DUI cases.
If you have been arrested for DUI and tested over the legal limit in Georgia, give us a call today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. I will give you a thorough and honest evaluation of your case and go over how we can help defend you. We concentrate on defending DUI cases throughout North Georgia and the Metro Atlanta area and will be happy to put our experience to work for you.