DWI Defense: An Overview
The potential consequences of driving while intoxicated (DWI) – also known as driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle while impaired (OWI) – can be serious. For this reason, those accused of DWI offenses should consult an experienced attorney to determine the best course of action that offers the possibility of a positive result. Below is an overview of DWI defense strategies commonly employed by attorneys.
A good DWI defense is necessary in many (if not all) DWI cases. The laws and procedures in DWI defense cases can get quite complicated and complex, therefore it is important to consult with a lawyer who specializes in DWI defense law.
There are a number of DWI defense points that can be used in a DWI case. First, because the DWI charges are criminal in nature, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution to prove that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The prosecution must be able to prove that you were the one driving the vehicle, which- in some circumstances- may be difficult to discern.
Challenging the Stop and Arrest
In some cases, it may be possible to challenge the legality of a stop and/or arrest without even attacking breathalyzer results or other evidence. Generally, police officers must have reasonable suspicion in order to legally pull over a driver and make an arrest if they suspect DWI. Attorneys will carefully scrutinize the facts of the case to assess whether the officer had reasonable suspicion and whether there was probable cause for the arrest.
DWI defense may include the suppression of evidence if the arresting officer did not have sufficient cause to stop, arrest, and detain an individual for the crime of a DWI. If the officer neglected to inform the defendant of his/her Miranda or Implied Consent rights, some evidence in the case might be inadmissible (such as refusing chemical testing, which can increase fines and license suspension in a DWI case). There also exists a wide range of problems pertaining to chemical testing for drugs and alcohol. These tests can often be inaccurate due to several factors such as time of alcohol consumption related to the time of the test, radio frequency interference, and several other complex physiological and procedural factors. Complications with testing may provide a good point in DWI defense.
Questioning Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are used by law enforcement officers to determine the level of intoxication of a motorist. There are three standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs): walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN). In addition to these widely administered tests, there are other nonstandardized field sobriety tests used by law enforcement officers. All field sobriety tests have varying levels of accuracy and validity, which can be challenged in a court of law. An experienced DWI defense lawyer can question these tests and how they were administered to bring into question their accuracy and validity.
Disputing Breathalyzer Results
A breathalyzer is the most common form of chemical test used by law enforcement authorities to measure the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of suspected drunk drivers. However, these tests can produce inaccurate results due to a variety of factors such as human error during administration. Additionally, some machines are not properly calibrated or maintained, and they may also give unreliable readings. An experienced DWI defense attorney will know how to challenge breathalyzer results in court by picking apart their accuracy and reliability.
Examining Other Evidence
When defending against DWI charges, attorneys may also look at other forms of evidence such as surveillance footage or dashcam recordings in order to build a strong defense. It may also be possible to examine witness testimony in order to establish a claim that another individual was responsible for operating the vehicle. All relevant evidence should be closely examined to identify any weaknesses that can be used as part of an effective defense strategy.
Often a good DWI defense is necessary during the Department of Motor Vehicles hearing. This is where license suspension and revocation matters are decided. A number of issues can be raised by the DWI defense team in these hearings which can help defendants regain the privilege of driving as soon as possible.
DWI laws are complex and quite complicated at times. DWI laws are always changing and are always subject to the place in which the DWI incident took place. A good DWI defense is best achieved by working with a trained legal professional who knows the current laws and how to work them into a strong DWI defense.
DWI is a serious offense with the potential for severe legal penalties. Individuals charged with DWI should seek representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney right away in order to protect their rights and build a strong defense that may result in reduced or dropped charges. By closely examining all available evidence, attorneys can explore various strategies that can lead to more favorable outcomes in DWI cases.