Kentucky law can be quite harsh when it comes to charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But before you can be penalized for drunk driving you need to be convicted first, it is incumbent on the prosecution in any such case to see to it that the accused’s legal rights are respected. Part of this respect is based in the federal and state constitutional protections against things like unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to gather evidence and to present witnesses in defense, to cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and more.
Defense against a drunk driving charge begins early, well before the beginning of trial. A police officer must, for example, have a valid reason to stop you if you are driving (“reasonable suspicion”). He or she cannot pull you over based on arbitrary considerations. Additional matters, such as the proper calibration of test equipment and the administering of field sobriety tests must also be done properly (including giving you instructions in a way that you can readily understand). Even the failure to advise you of your legal rights upon arrest can damage the prosecution’s case. An experienced criminal defense firm, like we are at the Law Office of Michael J. Thompson, will carefully investigate the facts through all phases of the police officer’s interaction with you, from the initial stop through the decision to make an arrest, to identify any mistakes that he or she may have made that can affect the case against you.
These considerations and others may sound like the so-called “technicality” defenses you have probably heard about on television crime dramas. But it is just as important for police and prosecutors to follow the rule of law is it is for you. The presumption of innocence until being proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is a cornerstone of our criminal justice system, which is inextricably tied to our status as a free society.
If you are ever charged with drunk driving, it is essential that your attorney make sure that law enforcement personnel prove each and every element of their case against you. Your attorney’s knowledge of and experience with the relevant laws of Kentucky is key in this regard.
If you would like to learn more about defending yourself against a drunk driving charge, we encourage you to examine our webpage on the subject for more information.