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You've been arrested for drunk driving: Now what?

Many motorists across the country, including in Maryland, tend to assume an attitude of passivity and inevitability when stopped by a police officer and subsequently arrested for drunk driving.

That is, they assume that there is little they can do when criminally charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, and they simply submit -- both to the process and to any legal outcome that awaits them.

Indeed, while slam-dunk DUI cases in Maryland and elsewhere certainly occur with some regularity, just as many -- if not far more -- drunk driving stops are underscored by question marks regarding the legality of the stop itself, the administration of sobriety tests, the accuracy of testing equipment and additional matters.

Owing to the open-ended nature of many drunk driving stops, motorists charged with DUI quite often have legitimate defenses that substantially or entirely undercut arguments for conviction. As one national provider of legal information notes, “it may help to consult with a lawyer”

At the very outset, a police stop based on an officer’s stated belief that a motorist was inebriated may have lacked probable cause to occur. In other words, a reasonable basis for pulling a driver over might have been absent, making the stop improper and, thus, illegal.

Then, too, an officer might have lacked proper training to administer sobriety tests pursuant to which he or she concluded a motorist was drunk. Perhaps a breathalyzer was improperly calibrated. Evidence -- such as blood work -- might have been incorrectly handled as it moved through the chain of custody. A testing lab could have bungled results.

All of these things and more routinely happen across the United States. A proven DUI defense attorney well anticipates that possibility and closely scrutinizes every aspect of a drunk driving stop to ensure accuracy and fundamental fairness.

The bottom line: There are often strong, and even multiple, defenses against drunk driving charges.

Source: findlaw.com, "Defenses to drunk driving," author uncited, accessed Sept. 17, 2014

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Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

Law Offices of James N. Papirmeister, Esq.
8630 Fenton St., Suite 320
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Office Number: 301-589-2100
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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013