Pre-Trial Motion Hearings in Georgia DUI Cases

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There are various ways that you may be able to defend against DUI charges. Much of your legal defense would come before the trial.

Law enforcement needs the court to admit evidence of the traffic stop and the tests that could show that a defendant was intoxicated. If you can either prove that your rights were violated, or that the evidence against you is faulty, you may be able to successfully defend your case.

Our experienced DUI attorney in Carrollton, GA can review your circumstances at the beginning of your case before you make any decisions about how to proceed. Moffitt Law LLC fights hard on behalf of our clients at all times.

Contesting the Traffic Stop Itself

The Fourth Amendment applies to any DUI traffic stop. The United States Constitution allows you the right to be free from an unreasonable search or seizure.

Police can stop you when they suspect that you are under the influence. Under the standard articulated in the Supreme Court case of Terry v. United States, police can conduct a limited investigative stop when they have a reasonable suspicion that there is a crime in progress. The reasonable suspicion standard is lower than the probable cause standard that law enforcement needs to make an arrest or conduct a search. For purposes of a traffic stop, reasonable suspicion is usually that:

“any reasonable person would suspect that a crime was in the process of being committed, had been committed or was going to be committed very soon.”

The officer is allowed to rely on their experience in deciding whether to make an investigative stop. If they saw the driver acting erratically, they may be able to make a traffic stop.

However, there are cases when the officer has made a traffic stop without a reasonable basis to do so. If you can prove that they lacked reasonable suspicion to stop you in the first place, law enforcement may not be able to obtain any evidence obtained after the stop, including Breathalyzer results.

Challenging the Testing Results

You would raise any objection to the admissibility of evidence at the pre-trial motion phase. Of course, you could always argue that you were the subject of an illegal search or seizure. In some cases, police will seek a search warrant for a blood test from a magistrate (usually when a suspect has refused a Breathalyzer test). The search warrant must be based on probable cause, which is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion. You may be able to argue that the search (in the form of a blood test) was illegal, and the test results should be suppressed.

Further, you could argue that the blood test results were corrupted, or there was not a proper chain of custody of the evidence.

Your lawyer may also argue that the evidence itself is faulty. Most DUI charges are based on the readings from a Breathalyzer machine. This is a sophisticated device that gives an instant reading that tells whether you are over the allowable blood alcohol content.

Breathalyzer machines may not always work. They may not be properly calibrated in the first place. Your samples could have been dramatically different, indicating that the machine was not working properly. The officer or technician may not have been following proper procedure when they administered the test.

If you can successfully have evidence thrown out, it could mean the end of law enforcement’s case against you because they may have few other ways to prove that you were intoxicated.

Claiming Your Rights Were Otherwise Violated

Law enforcement may have violated some of your other constitutional rights after they arrested you. For example, you should have been read your rights after you were arrested, telling you that you can remain silent, and that you have the right to a lawyer. These rights are so standard that every American seems to know them by heart.

Police do not always respect your rights. They may try to find creative ways around your rights, trying to get you talking, so they have evidence to use against you. If police illegally obtained evidence after your arrest, it could be excluded from your case. You may even be able to persuade the judge to drop the charges against you based on law enforcement’s conduct.

Your Lawyer Does Most of Their Work Pre-Trial

When you hire a DUI defense attorney, they will speak to you and do their investigation of your case. Your lawyer would determine whether there is a possibility that you may be able to fight the charges, either by challenging the stop or the evidence being used against you.

There are times when it may be in your best interests to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor. Having strong defenses may put you in a better negotiating position. However, there is nothing that says that you must accept a plea bargain. You may have an opening to fight the charges against you. As a rule of thumb, you always have a better chance of obtaining the best possible legal outcome in your case when you hire an experienced DUI attorney.

You must get legal help right after you have been charged. Much happens in the early days of your case that can dictate the outcome. The longer you go without hiring a lawyer, the more that your legal defense can be compromised.

Contact a Georgia DUI Defense Attorney Today

Moffitt Law, LLC provides clients with a vigorous legal defense in DUI cases, as you seek the best possible legal outcome. We begin each case with the approach that there is nothing that says that you have to plead guilty. We will look for possible defenses before advising you on the path forward.

The first thing that you need to do is contact us to schedule a free initial consultation as soon as possible after you have been charged. You can call us today at 762-200-2924 or you can send us a message online to speak with an attorney.

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