Some people, including some lawyers, think that a DWI charge is impossible to beat. However, there are actually many ways to defeat a DWI charge. Of course, you probably won’t be attacking the DWI charge yourself. Hiring a good lawyer is key to any DWI victory. In order to make sure your lawyer is good, you need to be educated about the defense to DWI in your state. While every case is different, this article will give you some general advice about how to defend a DWI case. This way, you can see if your lawyer is looking into some of these issues.
Understand the gravity of the offense
In some states, a DWI charges is a traffic ticket. In other states, its a criminal charge. A DWI can result in points, license suspension, jail time and even a criminal record. You need to know the range of penalties, the likelihood of the worst case scenario along with the most likely outcome if your case goes to trial. This way, you will be better able to size up the plea bargain that is offered to you. After all, if there is no difference between the plea and the trial, then there is no real plea bargain.
Attack the machine
Each state uses a different breath test machine. While blood can be taken in some rare cases, the easiest way to test someone’s blood alcohol level is a breath test machine. With each machine, there a whole host of defenses that can be used. By using these defenses, your lawyer can show that there was a problem and therefore, the reading is inadmissible. Without the reading, the State’s case may crumble and be thrown out. At the very least, it will make it difficult for the State to prove its case.
Field Sobriety Tests
Standard Field Sobriety Tests otherwise known are SFSTs or simply just FSTs are the tests used on the side of the road when the police pull you over. The FSTs give the police probable cause to arrest you so that they can later test your breath. The FSTs can also be used to support the State’s case as to intoxication. In some states, some of the FSTs may not be admissible but they are still used anyway. Thus, a motion may need to be filed to exclude these inadmissible tests. In addition, FSTs are very difficult to do correctly which leads many police officers to do them wrong. If this occurs, the finds may be ruled inadmissible.
Motion to suppress
No matter how guilty you are, the United States Constitution guarantees you certain rights. If those rights are violated, the evidence gathered by the police will be thrown out. Without that, the police would be free to violate your rights and thus, you wouldn’t really have any rights at all. In the DWI context, if the police pull you over improperly, the evidence (such as the breath test results and the SFTs) will be thrown out. While the law varies from state to state, the State has a very low burden in this regard. Often times, a simple moving violation such as speeding or weaving will be all that is needed to justify a motor vehicle stop. The probable cause needed to arrest the defendant may be more difficult for the State to meet. That’s where the FST’s come from. While errors in the FST’s may prevent a conviction, some errors may still help the State meet the probable cause standard to arrest.
Using an expert
Because DWI has become so complicated, most lawyers use experts to review the evidence and write a report. These reports can lead to good plea offers or the case being dismissed. If the case goes to trial, the expert will testify. Most DWI experts should be able to address all issues of the case from the stop, to the FSTs to the breath test machine.
As you can see, there are many ways to defeat a DWI case.