How to Fight a DUI Charge in California


If you have just come under the radar for a DUI charge in California, the chances of severe consequences to follow are high. Thankfully, we have some strategic ways to help you fight your charges and save your driving privileges, prevent imprisonments, and also escape paying a humungous fine.

The process, however, is not easy. In addition to complying with court restrictions, you could suffer massive loss by the negative consequences if you don’t play your cards right. It would be best to appoint a competent and experienced DUI attorney and lodge a viable defense with him/her.

You must also note that the applicability of your defense entirely depends on the circumstances that had unfolded. If you are faultless in your place or want to escape neatly, then here is how you can fight the DUI charge in California. 

  • Claim Heartburn or GERD

GERD is short for gastroesophageal reflux disease. This, along with heartburn, acid reflux, and others, can trick the DUI breath machines. It is too familiar for these conditions to show an inaccurate and high reading of your blood’s alcohol level. 

Your deep lung tissue sends the alcohol measurement into the breath machine. We also refer to this tissue as alveoli. Often, GERD sends the alcohol from the stomach back to your throat and mouth. So what happens here is that the DU suspect breathes the mouth alcohol rather than the alveoli into the machine. 

Chronic gastro problems may not be the only causes; even heavy, greasy, and spicy meals can cause heartburn and reflux. Therefore, it is best not to consume these when going for a DUI breath test to avoid giving an erroneously high reading. 

  • The Officer Stopped You Unprecedentedly

The law specifies that an Office may only stop a driver after noticing signs of intoxication or other legal trespassing. Officers may also stop drivers for infractions, including missing tail lights, missing headlights, expired tags, etc.  

Therefore, if an officer stopped you or a farce, then the charges that followed upon you are inadmissible. Your attorney can challenge your stop’s validity in the court and prove that your behavior throughout was innocent. Approximately 35% of the cases include innocent actions such as fiddling with the vehicle’s audio system, using the GPS, etc. 

  • Failure to Read Miranda Rights

You must be extremely vigilant in this regard. If ever police stop an individual in a DUI case, they must first read the Miranda Rights to the individual. If the officer has you in custody and interrogates you for incriminating responses, your defense lawyer has a winning point without reading your Miranda Rights first. 

Your attorney can argue that the police did not obtain a waiver after reading your Miranda rights. Therefore, the law enforcing authorities must exclude your comments post-custody from the evidence. 

  • Your attorney can Object to Intoxication Signs.

When a law enforcement officer pulls you over, his/her primary objective will be to look for justifications to detain you further. For this end, they will look for telltale signs of intoxication if they suspect you are a drunk driver.

The potential signs of impairment they will look for include bloodshot or red eyes, slurred speech, steady walk, flushed face, alcohol fumes, and other objective signs. At the same time, it is a fact that not all of these relate to drunkenness only. 

You could have bloodshot eyes, flushed face, and even slurry speech under the influence of certain medications. Even allergies, fatigue, and eye infections or irritations could look like that. This is a strong point of defense in your case, and medical history or a prescription would work wonders here, 

  • The Office did Not Follow the 15-Minutes Observation Before Your Breath Test.

The California laws mandate the officer’s observation of 15 continuous minutes before they can test your breath for alcohol. Under this rule, the officer must observe their DUI suspect for fifteen consistent minutes, ensuring that the suspect does not burp, belch, regurgitate, or hiccup meanwhile.

If the suspect does any of these, it will cause the alcohol from their stomach to travel to the mouth and show an inaccurately high BAC reading. In most cases, the officers disregard this protocol and instead spend that specific time performing paperwork, setting up the machine, talking to their partners, preparing reports, etc. 

Suppose the officer neglected this essential protocol in your DUI charge. In that case, your attorney can cast doubts on your test result’s validity and even get the court to dismiss the test altogether. 


Upon detecting signs of intoxication, officers may request a field sobriety test. This test can occur in a variety and generally measure your concentration, your balance, how well you follow instructions, etc. 

The standardized tests of sobriety have three stages, and each takes a couple of minutes to complete. The law has been using a combination of these three tests as scientific and valid evidence of demonstrating intoxication. 

Californian law officers have permission to use a non-standardized sobriety test. In this, you have to undergo the Rhomberg balance, finger count, numbers backward, hand pat, and finger-to-nose tests. Officers then use these results as evidence against you in the court. 

However, your defense attorney can object to this tunnel vision and claim that the officer did not consider vital factors. For example, your attorney could argue that your poor performance resulted from wearing heels or inappropriate boots, suffering a foot injury or a muscle spasm, and similar conditions that can cause anyone to perform poorly in coordination tests. 

Environmental factors can also cause instability, such as slick roadways, lousy weather, uneven pavements. The officer may have also not had adequate training to appropriately conduct the test, skipped vital steps in the process, and ended up with accurate results. 

Based on officers’ capacity for erroneous judgments in sobriety tests, the Californian Law gives drivers the right to refuse to give a sobriety test. 

  • No Compliance with California’s Regulations under Title 17

If you look up title 17 of the Californian code of regulations, you will see the implementation of officers’ procedures to observe during breath alcohol or DUI blood tests. If the officer broke those regulations during your DUI charge, your attorney can your BAC test results lead to their exclusion altogether or attacking the evidence. 

  • Inappropriate Police Conduct

In a DUI charge, officers tend to be inappropriate in their conduct or questioning the suspect. Your attorney could argue that the officer on duty subject you to improper handling, and the investigation process was offensive in specific ways. 

Your attorney has the right to explore the officer’s conduct and actions in the past and prove that perhaps this reason contributed to your DUI charges and findings.

  • Necessity

Your defense attorney can argue your case based on the necessity to drive under intoxication. In this instance, the law can excuse DUI charges if:

  • An emergency compelled you to act under intoxication to avoid bodily harm to yourself or another under your care
  • You had no legal alternative
  • Your DUI did not give rise to danger more significant than the one you avoided
  • Your DUI did not contribute to any emergency

Final Thoughts

There are endless defenses you can raise in the event of a DUI charge in California. From extenuating circumstances, improper questioning, and investigative conduct to law negligence, you can base your success on multiple strategic ways.