It would be a mistake to think that average people charged with driving under the influence (DUI) receive the same treatment as troubled actress Lindsay Lohan. Count that as a good thing, because even though it might seem as if she gets away with multiple offenses, the job of Lohan’s defense lawyers is actually quite difficult.
Because of her notoriety, Ms. Lohan’s defense attorneys must not only navigate the courts of law but also the courts of public opinion. This likely has an effect on judges and prosecutors, forcing her lawyers to work extra hard to keep her out of jail. How they do that is instructive for the rest of us.
Being charged with DUI is hardly unusual. Making a simple error in traffic or even having a broken taillight can be cause for the police to stop you and assess your sobriety. If charged, one need not be a celebrity diva to get charges reduced or dropped:
Question the probable cause for the stop – While very difficult accomplish, all evidence obtained through a stop lacking probable cause can be suppressed, resulting the dismissal of the case.
Question the Breathalyzer test results – If you have heartburn or acid reflux, it can falsely elevate the reading in a DUI breath test. In fact, police are required to observe you for 15 minutes before administering the test to ensure you do not have hiccups, regurgitation or belches that would cause this to happen.
Question the blood or urine result – Retesting a split sample of the blood or urine specimen through an independent toxicology lab may yield a result lower than the crime lab result.
Identify police error – Specific procedures under California’s Title 17 regulations, if not followed, can lead to dismissal or reduction.