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Should you just plead guilty to a drunk driving charge?

If you've been charged with drunk driving based on a failed breathalyzer or blood test, is it time to give up and throw yourself on the mercy of the court?

Ultimately, you should make that decision with your attorney -- but, consider this: While there are plenty of ways to win your case, pleading guilty is the only 100 percent certain way to lose it.

What sort of defenses are often effective against drunk driving charges?

Challenging the propriety of the traffic stop.

An officer can't simply pull you over and demand that you take a breathalyzer test. There had to be a probable cause to suspect that you were drinking.

Attorneys often challenge the reasons behind a traffic stop quite successfully. For example, perhaps the officer claims that you were weaving in traffic and your eyes were red and you slurred your words. However, the dash cam evidence from the officer's cruiser may not show any sign that you were weaving and you told the officer that you had a cold, which is why your eyes were red and your voice wasn't clear.

Challenging the field sobriety tests used.

If you were subjected to a horizontal gaze test, made to walk a straight line with one foot in front of the other or asked to balance on one foot, there are plenty of good reasons to challenge those tests.

Someone who is simply tired or a little dizzy can fail the horizontal gaze test. Someone who isn't in good shape may have trouble standing on one leg or walking heel-to-toe without weaving. It's very possible to fail those tests without being intoxicated.

Challenging the results or use of breathalyzers and blood tests.

Breathalyzers can fail to give accurate results for a number of reasons. For example, the machine could be improperly calibrated or in need of repair. Blood tests may be useless if they weren't taken within the correct period of time or the lab has a problem preserving samples properly.

These are just some of the ways to weaken the prosecution's case against you. Before you decide to throw away your chance at an acquittal, talk to an attorney about the possible defenses in your drunk driving case.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Drunk Driving," accessed July 14, 2017

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