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Category Archives: Your Defense

Non-Standard DUI Tests

Handwriting

According to a research study, the consumption of alcohol, at any level, results in objective changes in a person’s handwriting. However, this conclusion alone is insufficient to measure accurately the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the person providing the handwriting sample, as your Orange County DUI attorney can explain.

In fact, there may be some doubt as to whether or not handwriting is a reliable indicator of alcohol consumption on any level.  For example, one study measured a sampling of 35 individuals who had provided writing samples both before and after the consumption of alcohol.  The researchers’ conclusion: handwriting can not be used as a measure of the BAC of the writer.

Hand pat

This test involves placing one hand in front of you, palm up.  The other hand is placed on top of that hand, palm down. You are instructed by the officer to then:

1. Pat the bottom hand with the top hand;

2. Rotate the top hand so the back of the top hand faces the bottom hand and pat again;

3. Keep doing so alternatively, all the while increasing the speed as instructed until told to stop.

An Orange County DUI attorney understands this is a test that is designed to fail.  Even a completely sober individual may eventually double pat or roll their hand instead of patting one time smoothly as the speed of the rotation increases during the test.

Picking up coins

As with the hand pat test, picking up coins does not involve balancing on a person’s legs, and therefore may be employed if the subject has told the officer he or she has some back, knee, or leg affliction.

It involves instructing the subject to use one hand to pick up multiple coins from a flat surface, such as the hood of a car.  This test, just as the hand pat test, has earned no scientifically validated support as an accurate prediction of sobriety or BAC.

Chad Maddox, an Orange County DUI attorney, can provide counsel and advice to explain your rights if arrested for a DUI.  Mr. Maddox may be reached at (714) 695-1500.

Illegal DUI checkpoints

An experienced Orange County drunk driving lawyer knows how to successfully prepare the defense for a client who has been charged with a DUI that resulted from a roadblock. Police officers commonly use roadblocks in order to stop drivers to see if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, frequently police offers do not use proper legal procedures for the roadblocks or the stops. There are two significant elements to defeating a DUI that occurs at a roadblock.

First, your Orange County drunk driving lawyer needs to determine if the only purpose for pulling you over was the roadblock. Your lawyer will gather police reports and records on your behalf to see if the police officers had any other reason for the stop, such as a moving violation that was observed prior to the stop.

Secondly, your Orange County drunk driving lawyer will research whether the roadblock itself was constitutional. Your lawyer will secure the evidence needed to determine if any aspect of your stop was unconstitutional. It is surprising how often police officers make errors that violate the constitutional rights of persons charged with a DUI; this could have an impact on whether or not you will be found guilty of DUI.

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence and are facing a criminal trial, get the help you need from a dedicated Orange County drunk driving lawyer today. Consult Chad Maddox, an experienced Orange County drunk driving lawyer, today at (714) 695-1500 for a free initial consultation regarding your DUI roadblock incident.

A DUI Checklist

If you are stopped and arrested for a DUI, there are certain pieces of information that your Orange County drunk driving lawyer will want to know about the events that took place at the time of the arrest. The following is a short checklist of things that you should keep in mind so that your attorney can prepare the best case possible for you.

With respect to the arrest itself:

  • Did law enforcement search your vehicle, and if so, was anything found?
  • At what point in the process did the officer tell you that you were under arrest?
  • Were you put in handcuffs?
  • Was a videotape or audiotape made, or were pictures taken during the stop?
  • Were you read your Miranda rights, and did you waive those rights or stay silent?
  • Did you request an Orange County drunk driving lawyer?
  • Were you on a diet when you were arrested?
  • How much sleep had you gotten over the previous two days?
  • Had you taken any medications recently?
  • Do you suffer from any physical disabilities or do you have balance problems?
  • Do you have any mental health problems?
  • Did you burp or throw up during the required observation period?
  • How many breath samples did you give?
  • Did you have any problems giving a sample?
  • Did the operator disturb your breathing pattern at any time during the test?
  • Did the operator make you hold your breath for any amount of time prior to blowing?
  • Were you tested on more than one machine?

Your attorney will also want to know about your health at the time of the arrest:

Regarding the breath test:

If you have gotten a DUI, and you need an Orange County drunk driving lawyer to help you with your case, please call Chad Maddox at (714) 695-1500 for a free consultation.

Gender & GI Tract

As with any criminal defense, there are a number of time-tested DUI defense tactics that your Orange County DUI lawyer can employ to help save you from hefty fines and extensive jail time. If you were recently charged the crime of driving while intoxicated, we encourage you to contact one of our experienced Irvine DUI attorneys as quickly as possible in order to get started on your case. By commencing your DUI defense as soon as possible after the arrest, all witnesses will have the events fresh in their minds and will be able to recall the night in question more easily than would be possible by waiting many months.

One important defensive argument involves producing facts relevant to alcohol absorption rates in women versus men. If you happen to be female, alcohol is absorbed into your blood stream at a much faster rate than males, thus leading to a higher blood alcohol content which may not be indicative of your inebriation or how many drinks your consumed. These differences are attributed to variations in size, weight and body composition. It has also been suggested that the enzyme “dehydrogenase” responsible for breaking down alcohol is lower in women than men.

Since alcohol is absorbed through the stomach, a DUI defendant with stomach or intestinal issues may wish to raise these arguments in defense of a finding of intoxication. Any number of physiological changes such as stress, fear, disease or surgery could lead to faster-than-normal absorption rates and a blood alcohol content reading which does not accurately depict the suspect’s alcohol consumption. Those with ulcers or other stomach ailments could have an impact on your blood alcohol content as the alcohol will absorb faster than it would in a person not facing such issues.

If you would like to meet with an Irvine DUI lawyer to discuss your case, contact the law office of Chad Maddox today. We can review the facts of your charge and arrest and help you determine the best course of action for your DUI defense.

Preservation of DUI Evidence

One of the first things that your knowledgeable Costa Mesa DUI lawyer should do when getting your case ready for trial is to ensure that the scene (along with any evidence that might exist) is secured. When you speak with your attorney, he or she will likely advise you to go back to the place where you took the field sobriety tests and take pictures of the location. Your Orange County lawyer will probably have his or her investigator go with you, if at all possible. Getting pictures of the test location is important, because almost all police reports assert that the area where the field sobriety tests were given was flat and level; however, that is typically not the case.

The majority of field sobriety tests are given either on the side of the road or on a sidewalk, and it’s a known fact that most roads are crowned and most sidewalks are sloped in order to assist with water runoff. Additionally, you and the investigator should also look to see what the lighting conditions were in the area.

Something else that your well-versed Orange County DUI lawyer might ask you is whether or not you made any phone calls from jail. This is important because such calls tend to be made late at night and the person being called is usually asleep; thus, it is highly possible that some or all of the call might have been recorded on someone’s answering machine or voicemail. If any part of the conversation is on the recorder, you should seek to obtain and secure that recording as soon as possible because that recording may show that your speech was not slurred at all. When such evidence is available, it proves to be quite significant when fighting any claims of slurred speech.

If you or a loved one is in need a Costa Mesa DUI attorney, please contact Chad Maddox at (714) 695-1500 for a free legal consultation. You want your case in the capable and experienced hands of our Orange County Law Office.

The Walk and Turn Test

When a police officer stops a driver for suspicion of DUI, there are three standardized field sobriety tests the officer may administer that are recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – the “horizontal gaze nystagmus,” the “one-leg stand,” and the “walk and turn.”

The walk and turn test requires a driver to walk heel-to-toe along a line for nine steps and then turn and return. The test evaluates both the driver’s ability to follow directions and ability to physically complete the test.

A driver fails the walk and turn test if he or she is unable to maintain balance while completing the test or fails to follow the police officer’s instructions. Additionally, a driver may be deemed to have failed the test if he or she stops walking, steps off the line, is unable to maintain the required heel-to-toe stepping pattern, raises his or her arms, takes the incorrect number of steps, or turns improperly.

If you fail the walk and turn test, it is possible your Orange County DUI attorney will be able to prevent the results from being entered into evidence at your trial. In order for the results of a walk and turn test to be valid, the test must be conducted using a straight line on a reasonably hard, dry, and level surface. If your test was not conducted in these conditions, your Orange County DUI attorney will argue that the results of the test should not reach the jury.

Further, research indicates the walk and turn test can produce inaccurate results for those with back or middle ear problems, over the age of 65, or wearing high-heeled shoes during the test. If any of these characteristics apply to you, your Orange County DUI attorney will argue your test results are too unreliable to be admitted into evidence.

If you need legal assistance defending a drunk driving charge, please contact Orange County DUI attorney Chad Maddox, Esq.

Attacking Field Sobriety Tests

There can be a variety of innocent reasons for a person to fail a sobriety field test, some of which include a lack of coordination, tiredness, or even stress. Your skilled Orange County DUI attorney might find that the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus) test in particular is as good a time as any to establish the notion that there are a lot of reasons as to why you did not do well on the test, especially because the HGN test comes with a multitude of innocent reasons to explain away a claim of failure on the test.

A competent lawyer will also want to attack the use of complex instructions at the time of the test. The majority of field sobriety tests have many requirements, and despite the complex nature of a lot of the instructions, the tests are usually explained and demonstrated only one time and in as little as 10 to 15 seconds. A person is expected to have an instant retention of those instructions.

Additionally, the prosecution might ask the officer to repeat the instructions in open court, just as they were given to the defendant at the time of the test. On cross-examination, your California DUI attorney might want to ask that same officer to provide an estimate of how long it took him or her to give you the instructions for the test in an effort to show that they’re given in a matter of seconds.

Then, in closing arguments, your attorney may proceed to ask the jurors if they, themselves, can recall the exact instructions of the field sobriety tests in order to demonstrate the difficulty of retaining such information. If you need an Orange County DUI lawyer, please contact Chad Maddox at (714) 695-1500 for a free consultation.

Finding a Great Orange County Drunk Driving Defense Attorney

Many people use the Internet to easily compare the experience and specialty of local drunk-driving attorneys. Most attorney websites should provide answers to the following questions:
• How long has the attorney been practicing criminal defense?
• How long has the attorney been representing drunk driving defendants?
• Does the attorney specialize in drunk driving cases?
• Does the website show that the attorney specializes in drunk driving cases? Look for things like membership in bar associations, board certifications, and publishing or speaking engagements about drunk driving cases.

Referrals from people you know, other attorneys, and court employees may also be useful.

You can represent yourself, but it is not recommended that you do so. It is usually not wise to represent yourself because:
• The prosecutor will have no motive to make a fair plea bargain;
• You don’t know anything about the court’s procedural rules; and
• You may not be able to appreciate whether you have a good or bad defense.

When you first meet with your Orange County drunk driving defense attorney, be sure to discuss in detail all the financial arrangements, such as:
• What is the attorney’s fee?
• What does the fee cover?
• Does the fee cover any hearings regarding your driver’s license?
• Does the fee include trial, appeal, or post-conviction relief? If not, what will the fee for those be?
• Does the fee cover the situation where the case is dismissed and the prosecution refiles the charges?
• What additional out-of-pocket expenses apply?

A drunk driving arrest is a serious matter. For the best advice about your case, contact experienced Orange County drunk driving defense attorney Chad Maddox today for a free initial consultation.

Signs of Drunkenness: A Flushed Face

There are a variety of causes for people to have a rosy skin tone, the most obvious of which is that your face always appears to have a reddish hue. Even if your complexion is not typically red, there are still plenty of other reasons for having a flushed appearance. For instance, getting sunburned can redden your skin. Also, for those who wear makeup, blush can be used as part of their makeup regimen, which can also make the cheeks appear to be rosy.

Furthermore, when people get embarrassed, mad, or scared, they may end up with a flushed face. And in the cases of those who have been stopped by a police officer, it would not be uncommon for them to be upset or nervous when they are confronted, and accordingly, they will experience a quick flow of blood to the face.

During the cross examination of the police officer involved with your case, a skilled Orange County drunk driving defense attorney might want to watch to see whether the officer ever becomes embarrassed about something during his or her examination. For instance, if the officer misspells a word on a drawing or forgets the prosecutor’s name, he or she may become embarrassed and experience a flushed face due to the pressure of the embarrassment. Should that happen, it would be an excellent time for your attorney to ask the officer about perfectly sober people experiencing a flushed face.

If you need an experienced Orange County drunk driving defense attorney, please call Chad Maddox for a free consultation.

Presenting to the Jury Refusal to Take Field Sobriety Test

Assume a defendant has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Assume also that when he or she was arrested, the defendant refused to perform any field sobriety tests, such as the one-leg-stand test.

How should the Orange County DUI defense lawyer address this issue so that the jurors don’t hold the defendant’s refusal against him or her. Clearly, the wrong approach would be to ask the jurors: “Would you hold against my client the fact that he refused to perform the one-leg-stand test?”

Instead, an experienced Orange County DUI defense lawyer would ask the following: “My client has been charged with DUI. Mr. Juror, can you imagine a situation when it might be appropriate for a person to refuse to perform the one-leg-stand test?” After Mr. Juror suggests some possibilities, the DUI defense lawyer asks other jurors to suggest additional situations in which a defendant might reasonably refuse to perform the tests. By doing this, the DUI defense lawyer opens up the jurors’ minds to the possibility that it can be acceptable to decline to take the tests. And, if during cross-examination of the arresting officer the DUI attorney suggests those same situations, and the officer considers them to be unreasonable, the jurors may reject the officer’s testimony, perceiving him as someone who doesn’t relate to their ideas of what is reasonable.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, contact Orange County DUI defense lawyer Chad Maddox.