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Defenses to DUI in Indiana

There are several defenses to a DUI charge in Indiana. These defenses are aimed at attacking one or more of the elements of the charge itself.

A motorist charged with a DUI offense may also challenge the arresting officer’s observation of “intoxicated behavior.” Poor lighting or darkness, may have obscured the officer’s ability to observe the motorist.  The defendant could explain redness of the eye from eye irritation or fatigue. Fatigue could also explain stumbling or slurred speech. The motorist could also rely on witness testimony to contradict the testimony of the officer.  If there was another passenger or bystander that witnessed the stop, such person could provide useful testimony as to the truthfulness or accuracy of the officer’s testimony.  Additionally, another means useful in attacking an officer’s testimony is to introduce into evidence the video from the officer’s dashboard camera. Police cars often come equipped with dashboard camera’s to record traffic stops. The video from such a device could be useful in proving a motorist’s innocence.

Another means of attacking a DUI arrest is to call into question the validity of the field sobriety test.  If the motorist is arrested solely on the basis of a failed field sobriety test, the motorist may challenge whether or not that failure was indicative of intoxication. More specifically, the motorist would allege that the failure of the field sobriety test was not due to intoxication, but rather it was due to inherent qualities of the motorist.  For example, a motorist could claim that they failed the One-Leg Stand test because they naturally have poor balance.  The motorist could also claim that they failed the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test because they naturally exhibit some degree of nystagmus that is not attributable to alcohol intoxication.

The most difficult method of challenging a DUI arrest is to challenge the chemical test itself.  Failure of chemical testing is prima facie evidence of intoxication. In the case of alcohol intoxication, the prosecution need not further prove that the defendant was intoxicated, if the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration exceeded the legal limit. Concerning controlled substances found in a motorist’s body fluid sample, the best way to defend against a charge of DUI is for the motorist to provide a valid prescription for the substances found in the motorist’s body. Absent a prescription, the motorist will have to improve that the intoxicating substances did not actually impair his or her ability to drive.

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