People often think of driving under the influence (DUI) charges as open-and-shut criminal cases. They assume that the state has relatively authoritative evidence after arresting someone. However, it is actually possible for many people accused of drunk driving in South Dakota to defend against their pending charges with the right help. The first step in that process involves looking over what evidence the state has gathered.
There are different types of evidence commonly used in DUI cases, and all of them are far from infallible. People sometimes successfully beat DUI charges by thoughtfully responding to the state’s evidence. The following types of evidence often help to prove allegations of impaired driving in South Dakota.
Video footage of driving
Often, officers begin gathering evidence before they even turn on their flashing lights. They follow someone driving in an erratic or unsafe manner so that the dashboard camera in their police cruiser captures video footage of their performance at the wheel. Proof of impairment while driving can be as important as evidence of the presence of alcohol.
Field sobriety test results
Body camera footage of someone’s behavior during a traffic stop can also help the state develop its case. Specifically, how someone answers questions during their initial interaction with an officer and also how they perform on field sobriety tests can lend credence to claims of chemical impairment. Officers may ask someone to perform a series of specific field sobriety tests to gather further evidence of chemical impairment and establish that they should not be in control of a motor vehicle. There are many times when there is a reasonable explanation, like nerves or a medical condition, for someone’s poor performance on field sobriety tests.
Chemical breath test results
When officers have probable cause to arrest someone, they may then ask the driver to perform a chemical breath test. If the test results show that someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than 0.08%, their test results can be one of the most important pieces of evidence in the state’s DUI case.
There are ways to raise questions about the accuracy of the state’s evidence in some cases and ways to exclude the evidence from a criminal trial in other situations. Learning about the evidence the state might use can help someone determine what defense strategy could work most effectively in their case.