In Alaska, operating under the influence is a serious offense. Evidence plays an important role in OUI cases.
Understanding the types of evidence and how defendants can challenge them is necessary for those facing such charges.
One common form of evidence in Alaska OUI cases is the breath test. Law enforcement often employs devices to measure blood alcohol concentration. However, these devices are not infallible. Defendants may challenge the accuracy of the equipment or question whether officials properly calibrated and maintained it.
Field sobriety tests
In Alaska, 2.6% of people report driving after they drink too much, above the national average of 1.7%. Officers frequently administer field sobriety tests to assess a driver’s coordination and cognitive function. These tests, such as the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand, are subjective.
Various factors, including weather conditions and physical fitness, may influence the results. Defendants can challenge the reliability of these tests by highlighting potential external factors affecting their performance.
Another form of evidence is the blood test, which directly measures BAC. While generally more accurate than breath tests, blood tests are not immune to challenges. Defendants may question the procedures for blood collection, storage and analysis. Factors such as contamination or mishandling could undermine the integrity of the results.
Witness testimonies, including those of law enforcement officers and bystanders, can establish the events leading up to an OUI arrest. Defendants can challenge these testimonies by probing potential inconsistencies or biases. For instance, if there were conflicting accounts of the driver’s behavior or the events leading to the arrest, it may cast doubt on the reliability of the testimony.
Many OUI arrests involve the use of dashcams or body cameras. Video evidence can be a powerful tool for both the prosecution and the defense. Defendants may challenge the admissibility of the video or point out any technical issues that could compromise its accuracy.
Defendants facing OUI charges in Alaska have various avenues to challenge the evidence against them. A thorough examination of the evidence is necessary for building a strong defense.