What Are Some Possible DUI Defense Strategies In Mississippi?
The most common thing is, refuse the breathalyzer. There’s no record of any blood alcohol content. Here we say, heck no, don’t blow up. The absolute worst thing you can do is blow a 0.08., because at that point, once you blow 0.08 or greater, then we have to go and do a couple of things. You have to show the machine was not properly calibrated within the timeframes allowed, or the officer wasn’t certified, or there was some other error with the Intoxilyzer. And from there we make normal DUI and common law arguments. Refusing a breathalyzer creates an uphill battle for the state. Once that’s done, then it comes down to field sobriety test, officer observations, officers’ reports, video evidence, and we break it down from there. We can challenge the breath or the blood test. We see if the individual has certifications to operate the Intoxilyzer with the Mississippi statutes. If not, then we move to get the test excluded. The next thing is that same statute requires the Intoxilyzer be calibrated quarterly by somebody from the forensics laboratory. And if they don’t have a certificate showing it’s been calibrated, then we’re going to argue that that test is also invalid. What’s more, you have the right to confront your accusers. Under United States Supreme court case law, you have a right to confront the analyst who performed the test. They are your accusers at that point, in addition to the officer that stopped you. Dash and officer cams are a great thing. I know a lot of people think that it might’ve showed them doing something wrong. Yes, it may have showed you doing something wrong, but guess what? Police officers are human beings too. And they get things wrong. Also, I personally think body cameras should be required to be worn by all officers. And in fact, in some departments that’s standard operating procedure that the officers wear body cameras. They mess up standardized field sobriety tests. They’re called standardized for a reason as they’re meant to be performed in similar environments in the same platform every time to produce a result. An officer may do the horizontal gaze nystagmus test incorrectly, or they show the walk and turn test incorrectly, or they have the time wrong on the one leg stand test. I can watch the video and break down the officer. I have their manuals to use against them. I’ve also seen reports say my client did one thing. I watched the video of them doing quite another thing. Are there times that I’ve seen them work to a client’s disadvantage? Yes, but most of the time it works to their advantage. So, if you see a camera, don’t worry about it. Another thing is challenging drug recognition experts. The good news is there’s relatively few of them in Mississippi compared to the police force as a whole. But again, refuse all tests. Additionally, I come across problems with the initial stop. Reasonable suspicion or probable cause is required to pull somebody over and careless or reckless driving accounts for the majority of the cases I see. And that is a tenuous term in Mississippi. You can stay between the yellow and the white lines and still get a careless driving ticket. It’s ridiculous in my opinion, but those are the most common ones that we see. The next thing we see are roadblocks. That’s going to be the next most common reason for an officer to approach you. And they almost always testify that they smelled alcohol or marijuana. If you are accustomed to be around marijuana, your senses are off. You may not necessarily smell it. It’s kind of like somebody that keeps an air freshener in the car that smells terrible to you as a passenger, but not to them. They can’t smell it because they’ve been riding with it for the last month. Another one I see a lot of is anonymous tips. Somebody called into dispatch and they observed a white Dodge pickup driving southbound in I-55 swerving. The cop has to see how truthful that tip really is unless it’s coming from a known source. So, if it’s truly anonymous, they have to either follow the individual and see him swerve, or have to perform some something extra, as opposed to just having an anonymous tip. We’ve had a lot of success beating anonymous tips.