Defenses And Mitigating Factors To Discuss With Your DUI Attorney

Posted on: 14 September 2017

Have you been arrested on DUI charges and now face the serious consequences of a conviction? If so, you are justly stressed. The courts are taking driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs much more seriously than in the past. Gone are the days when you could walk away with a mere slap on the wrist or a warning, it seems. Pressure groups have understandably worked hard to compel judges to hand out harsh penalties. From steering wheel locking devices to suspended licenses, judges ensure that you pay dearly for choosing to get behind the wheel intoxicated.

Nevertheless, you still have the right to defend against the charges and to ask for leniency. In, fact, even if pleading guilty, you can ask the judge to lessen the severity of the sentence.

As always, contact an experienced DUI attorney, such as Robert A Murray, before making any legal decision. To help you better discuss your situation with legal counsel, following are some examples of important DUI defenses and possible mitigating factors to mention if present in the case facts.

Poppy Seeds Were to Blame

Though found on bagels, breads and muffins, poppy seeds are a form of opiate. They are seeds of papaver somniferum, the same plant used in heroin production.

If you failed a sobriety test and had eaten a bagel, for example, that could explain the result. Maybe you had some wine or beer as well. Though perhaps below the legal alcohol limit, the poppy seeds could cause officers to eventually charge you for both drinking and using an illegal substance while on the road. They would presume you have injected heroin based on the positive match of the poppy seeds.

After hearing your explanation about why an opiate match was made, the judge might be willing to reduce the charges or even throw the case out altogether, depending on the circumstances.

Prescription Drugs in Your System

Likewise, you can be arrested on DUI charges for driving erratically after taking prescription drugs. Most serious medications have warning labels informing users of the risks of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of the drug. However, what if you had to get to work or take a relative to the hospital? Maybe you only needed to drive a short distance and assumed the medication would not affect you to the degree it did.

Well, the judge may well decide that incarcerating you, suspending your license or forcing you to install a steering wheel locking device, much too harsh. After all, you were not using an illegal substance.

Medicinal Marijuana Before Driving

The effects of marijuana on drivers have not been firmly established by research. Meanwhile, officers can and do make DUI arrests of drivers who have been using the drug for medicinal reasons.

You can point out to the judge that unlike someone who smokes just to merely enjoy the effects, you have a verified medical need for marijuana.

Get DUI Legal Advice

Before you appear before a judge, it is well-advised that you speak with a competent DUI attorney. This legal representative can explain all the available options in your case.

Last, never forget you have a right to ask for a case dismissal or sentence reduction if these things would be in the interest of justice.