Is Video Footage From Police Cars Ever Used In Defense of A DUI?
Yes, video footage from police cars is definitely used in defense of a DUI. Most of the in-squad video cameras now are like constantly running TVR tapes. So, they are not actually recording until the cop flips on his lights. But when they do that, it actually rewinds about three or four minutes. So if the cop says, “I saw him go by at a high rate of speed and weaving all over the place,” then you’ll actually get to see what he saw. I told you I had a case just like that where the cop claimed that the driver was weaving all over the place and changing lanes, but he clearly wasn’t. I guess the case was thrown out. The guy hadn’t done anything wrong. The officer had nothing else to do and that’s why he pulled him over. However, the officer made it sound like he was a hazard to everybody and all over the road. Video footage really makes it clear, so it’s not just up to the subjective opinion of the officer. It allows everybody to see exactly what the officer saw. One way or another, having a video always makes it easier to resolve a case.
What Is A Rising BAC Defense?
A rising BAC defense is based on the way alcohol gets into your body. You don’t drink four beers and suddenly register a BAC of 0.10, and then an hour later register a BAC of 0.00. Instead, it’s on a constantly moving graph. The more you drink, the more your body absorbs the alcohol and the higher the blood alcohol concentration level in your body. If you’re at a BAC of 0.10 but you haven’t had a drink in two hours, then your body starts fully absorbing it and getting rid of the alcohol in your body. Eventually, your level drops down to zero. Let’s say you’re at a bar and you have had nothing to drink. Right before you leave, your best friend comes in and he makes you do four shots in five minutes. If you leave at that point, who knows what your blood alcohol content is because the shots haven’t yet fully entered your system. Conversely, if you drank a long time ago and you had those four shots, then your level will be going down three hours later. So you can imagine how it would apply.
There are some scenarios where you might say something like, “I just had all those drinks at the time I was drinking. I wasn’t at a 0.08 yet because I just had it and they hadn’t really entered my body. Maybe I’m just not a coordinated person, and maybe I can’t stand on one foot for 30 seconds.” In fact, a lot of people can’t. The field sobriety tests are brutal. The tests alone are very tough, and to perform them when a cop breathing down your neck often just makes people more nervous. These things can be indicators that you’re intoxicated, when in reality you may just be nervous, uncoordinated or have bad knees. I have bad knees and bad ankles, and I would have a hard time doing those tests even if I had nothing in my system.
Let’s say you’ve been involved in an accident and they don’t get a chance to take your breath until four hours after the accident. If your BAC is 0.08 four hours afterwards and you’ve been under a controlled situation where nothing else was going into your body, then they can extrapolate out reasonably using a person’s size and whatever scientific standards they’ve had. They can say, “Look, if you’re a 200 pound guy and you’re at 0.08 and you haven’t ingested anything in four hours, then it’s completely reasonable to a scientific degree of certainty that you were at 0.12 or above four hours ago.” So that can hurt you too. It’s a constantly varying type of situation that can hurt you or help you.
Are There Any Other Unique DUI Defenses That You Can Think Of?
The police will tell you that if you refuse to blow, you’re going to lose your license immediately for one year. That is not true. You have to have a 46-day rule before anything kicks in. So the police don’t tell you the full truth about it. They misinform you as to whether you have a right to refuse to do the field sobriety tests. If they tell you to get out of the car, you still have to get out of the car, but you don’t have to do any tests. They usually don’t tell you that. They will purposefully misinform you or strategically leave out information. So they’ll say, “Step out of the car right now, you need to do some field sobriety tests,” instead of asking you to perform some field sobriety tests. They kind of bully you into taking the test and providing evidence against yourself. On the back of my business cards it says “Look, I’m trying to be polite but I understand I don’t have to take these tests. I don’t care what you’re telling me. I don’t have to take these tests and I don’t want to take these tests.”
However, you have to be aware there are still some administrative sanctions that could follow. In the implied consent law in Illinois, having a driver’s license is a privilege and not a right, so you’re agreeing that if an officer has a probable cause, you have to take the test or suffer the consequences. You are going to lose your driving privileges for at least a year if it’s a second time offense. If it’s within five years of your first offense, then you’re going to lose your driving privileges for three years. So, you have certain rights, but everything has consequences. Your best defense is to be well-informed and smart. Don’t do something stupid, but that’s easier said than done.
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