When charged with a DUI here in Colorado, the case against you hinges on one significant thing: evidence. The evidence incriminating you is collected around the time of your arrest, ranging from the officer’s observations, a field sobriety test, or even statements that you made after your Miranda Rights are given to you, and is used to determine sentencing and penalties. Evidence is crucial in the courtroom and can drastically alter the way that your charge will play out. If you have a great attorney who is experienced with DUI cases, there is a possibility that you can get evidence dismissed, which can get the charges dropped or reduce your sentence.
Types of Evidence
Experienced attorneys can identify the types of evidence brought forth in your case, and know which pieces of evidence were brought forth legally or not. There are 5 primary types of evidence in DUI cases:
- Blood Alcohol Test
After an arrest has been made, an officer should offer for you to take a blood-alcohol test at the police station or a hospital to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). It is recommended that you do take this test, as scientific evidence is more reliable than observations made at the scene. If, for example, an officer claims that your eyes were glazed over and your speech was slurred, but your BAC was low, then the officer’s observation would be discounted as a less credible piece of evidence.
- Field Sobriety Test
The FST is conducted when you get pulled over. This is an optional test that involves things like touching your finger to your nose while closing your eyes, walking from heel to toe in a straight line, balancing on one foot, etc. If you have agreed to this test, the officer’s observation of the test will put forth can be used against you in a courtroom, which is why you should probably decline. To read more tips on what to do when pulled over after drinking, check out our latest blog post on this topic here.
- Officer’s Observations
This piece of evidence rests on what the officer noticed about you during the time of the arrest. The officer can claim things like an alcoholic odor, slurred speech, inability to carry on a conversation, etc. This type of evidence, combined with a chemical test, can either prove or disprove a defendant’s innocence.
- Driving Mistakes
Whatever prompted the officer to pull you over in the first place can contribute towards the overall evidence against your case as well. If the officer noticed things like reckless driving, weaving, running a red light, braking erratically, this can be used against you.
- Incriminating Statements
Whatever you say to an officer before or after your arrest can be used as an incriminating statement. It is advised that you remain silent as much as possible during the time of officer interaction to protect yourself in a future case. Your Miranda Rights only protect you from being required to answer questions from an officer after an arrest has been made, but does not protect you against any information you volunteered to the officer.
In a courtroom, it is up to the state to prove that these pieces of evidence are quality enough to convince a jury that the defendant was, in fact, guilty of committing the crime at hand. Colorado DUI law, C.R.S. § 42-4-1301(2)(b), states that a defendant in a DUI case is “entitled to offer direct and circumstantial evidence to show that there is a disparity between what the tests show and other facts so that the trier of fact could infer that the tests were in some way defective or inaccurate.” This means that if there is any possibility that evidence was collected incorrectly, if observations were made that were not necessarily truthful, or even if the behavior of the driver does not mirror what the scientific tests display, the evidence can be thrown out in favor of the defendant.
There are many ways that evidence can go wrong. Errors can be made, inaccuracy in testimonies, false conclusions, inadequate data, unlawful collection of evidence, so many things have to be looked at when dealing with the evidence that is brought forth by the state in a DUI case, and there are many factors that influence the validity of each item. That’s why it is essential to get a qualified DUI lawyer who knows how to look at the evidence.
How can Liberty Law Center Help?
We are experts in DUI cases and know what to look for when it comes to the evidence in your case. We have had great success in the past getting evidence dismissed in a court, which greatly reduces the type of sentence our clients receive. Questions that we ask to evaluate the evidence include:
- Was the initial traffic stop or contact constitutional?
- Were you properly questioned about the incident?
- How accurate was the breathalyzer test used to determine your blood alcohol content?
- Were the police officers authorized to ask you to participate in a blood or breath test?
- Were Department of Health rules and regulations complied with properly?
- What errors or mistakes did the police make that can help you?
These questions and more can help determine the course of your case. To read more about challenging evidence, click here. If you are looking for an attorney who can help your DUI case, contact us today. Let us help you get your liberty back!