DUI Defenses in North Dakota
In a defense against a DUI, a defendant attempt to challenge the arrest and/or the BAC. To stop a moving vehicle or approach or stopped vehicle, the officer need only to show probable cause. This probable cause required is less than the probable cause needed to arrest. An officer may find probable cause by observing a vehicle at very slow or uneven speeds, weaving, crossing the center line of the highway, running a red light, hesitation in going through a green light, etc. An officer may base probable cause for arrest on observation of a driver including slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, inappropriate joking, incoherent speech, inability to walk normally, or pupil enlargement. If the officer based his opinion from failure to complete field sobriety tests, a defendant may be able to point out the inherent difficulty of his/her performing that particular test (ex. Reciting the alphabet backwards), or circumstances at the time of the test that made it difficult (ex. Uneven ground).
A defendant can refute the officer’s observations or suspicions by offering alternative explanations for his/her behavior other than impairment. Some examples may include sleep deprivation, allergies, contact lenses, personal stress, medication, food recently ingested, nervousness of being pulled over, injuries, other physical or mental conditions, etc.
Although tests are presumed to be accurate and reliable, a defendant can also challenge the test results by showing inaccuracies in the test or by demonstrating lack of compliance with the state procedures. This may include unauthorized personnel taking chemical samples, incorrect information (ex. Incorrect date or calibration). A defendant is entitled to receive a copy of the checklist that the officer followed in administering the test or the analyst used in the chemical test. If it is shown that there was any inconsistencies, then the burden is on the state to prove that despite that, the test was sufficiently accurate and reliable.
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