Anyone who is accused of a criminal offense has the option of going to court to fight those charges. However, a surprisingly large percentage of those facing criminal charges in the United States opt to plead guilty. They may fervently swear that they did not break the law but may believe that going to court will only put them at risk of worse penalties.
There is no guarantee of leniency from a judge just because someone pleads guilty. Even offenses that do not involve direct harm to others, like impaired driving charges not related to a crash, could potentially result in maximum penalties allowed by law depending on a judge’s view of the situation.
Therefore, fighting successfully against criminal charges is the only true means of avoiding the worst penalties permissible under Georgia state law. Many people mistakenly believe that it is impossible to defend against impaired driving charges, but there are many people who do so successfully every year, and a significant portion of them employ one of the three defense strategies below.
Providing a medical explanation
There are a host of different illnesses that could mimic the experience of intoxication during a traffic stop or field sobriety test. There are also certain health conditions that could alter the accuracy of chemical test results. Not only can health issues affect the accuracy of a police officer’s evaluation, but so too can someone’s prescription medication. Even certain diets, like the keto and paleo diets, could compromise the accuracy of test results because of how they impact the human body.
Questioning the science
There is a growing body of scientific literature undermining the reliability of chemical breath tests as a means of conclusively establishing chemical impairment. Particularly in scenarios in which the main evidence against someone is a chemical test result, raising questions about the accuracy of the test could help someone avoid a conviction. Even internal police department records showing gaps in maintenance or software updates could help someone undermine the usefulness of chemical evidence.
Challenging a traffic stop
One of the most effective strategies for fighting impaired driving charges will involve preventing the courts from introducing evidence obtained during an illegal traffic stop. If a defense attorney can prove to the courts that an officer wrongfully stopped someone, any evidence obtained during that traffic stop may not be admissible in court.
None of these defense strategies works in every situation, which means that those accused of impairment at the wheel in Georgia often need to look carefully at their situation and applicable evidence to choose the best strategy. Evaluating common defense strategies with the assistance of an experienced legal professional can be a good starting point for those hoping to avoid a Georgia drunk driving conviction.