The accused in a DUI case has options — and hope

There are many myths about criminal law and, specifically, DUI law. But one of the greatest myths ever told about drunk driving charges is that the accused person has no chance at beating the charges, or that the charges will stick with them forever. That is completely untrue. There are many successful defense tactics that can be utilized to help the accused, or there could be unique circumstances in their case that are ripe for questioning and further investigation.

To begin, consider the actions of the police officer involved in your DUI and the actions of investigators after the fact. Did the officer read you your rights? Did he or she uphold your rights during the stop? Was the stop legal in the first place? Were any sobriety tests used? Was the instrument used for any breath, blood, or urine tests properly calibrated? What about the chain of custody for the evidence after it was collected? Was it followed to the letter of the law?

These are all important questions to have answers. And then there are the circumstances of your DUI. You may have been forced to drive drunk due to a threat of violence from another person. You may have unknowingly become intoxicated due to a spiked drink. You may have driven drunk by choice in a medical emergency to save someone’s life.

All in all, we have only discussed a few of the many possible problems that could come up with a DUI case presented by the prosecution. It behooves the person accused to discuss this matter with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Autopilot is not to blame if you have had one too many drinks

Drunk driving a self-driving car sounds like an oxymoron. Last month in two separate incidents in California both drivers blamed their vehicle for the crashes. In both cases the drivers told authorities they were not driving, the cars were. It can feel like a leap of faith to take your feet off the pedals and let the car continue moving on its own. Although self-driving vehicles are supposed to


Blame the car

In the first incident, police came upon a Tesla stopped on the Bay Bridge. They found a man passed out in the driver’s seat, with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit. He gamely contended that the car was driving, but he was nonetheless arrested for drunk driving.

In the second incident, a man had activated the autopilot on his Tesla, which subsequently slammed into a fire truck parked on the side of the road. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured. The driver could be found civilly and criminally negligent. And in turn he could sue Tesla for product liability.

Even if your car can drive itself, that does not mean you can pin the blame on just the vehicle itself. Tesla cautions its patrons that “autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.” The human driver must remain alert and ready to assume the controls because ultimately they are ultimately responsible for the vehicle and its actions. If it was possible to claim that you were not driving, there are still laws related to physical control of that could apply. These regulations are used if the driver can take control of the vehicle from the auto-drive system.

Dependent on technology

Partially autonomous driving systems are giving drivers a false sense of security. As the industry continues to grow and technology advances, drivers could become overconfident in their vehicle’s ability making it all the easier to forget they are not foolproof. The DMV states they are committed to requiring the highest safety standards for the roads but it is difficult to keep pace with ever-changing technology.