The Virginia Verdict Review

Comprehensive and Informative Commentary on State and Federal Legal Matters

Understanding a D.U.I Defense

The most charged crimes in Virginia are reckless driving and DUI. Although no one should drive if they are under the influence, certain organizations and local governments have made a concerted effort to arrest and charge people for merely having had one or two drinks and then driving. Unfortunately, most people do not know that it is possible to successfully defend against the charge of DUI. To do so, one needs to understand the basic physiology of alcohol consumption and the weaknesses of the techonology often used by prosecutors to prove being under the influence.

In 2009, the Commonwealth switched from using the Intoxilyzer 5000 to using the EC/IR II for breath testing. Many in the defense community cynically argue that this was done to aid in convictions as the EC/IR II does not reflect differences in types of alcohol (ethyl- v. methyl-) as well as its predecessor. Breath test machines also don’t differentiate between genders, account for individual body types, or assess actual body temperature. Most importantly, breath test machines assume that individuals have the same breath to blood ratio, or lung capacity.

Because everyone is different, the failure of machines to account for differences in temperature, the amount of body fat or water in a person, and lung capacity means that all DUI convictions based on the numerical results of a breath test machine are based on inaccurate test results. 

At Westlake Legal Group, we have been able to demonstrate to juries that breath test machines are inaccurate. In fact, we have shown that machine results as high as .30 were inaccurate and our clients have been properly found not guilty. Every case is, of course, different and results cannot be guaranteed. However, if you, a friend, or family member, are faced with such a charge, know that we have the experience to defend you.

Of course, the real issue of discussion is whether DUI laws are too extreme. Is it possible to properly regulate alcohol and driving without having the pendulum swing to the extreme? Thoughts?
If you wish to learn more about our approach to criminal defense, feel free to contact Westlake Legal for more information.


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