Few things are more frustrating or humiliating than getting charged with a DWI offense. But there’s a difference between being charged and being found guilty. You still have time to beat this thing and move on with your life. The important thing is that you step up and face the noise, rather than waiting for things to magically disappear. Take action and take control!
5 Possible DWI Defenses to Consider
If you’ve been charged with a DWI, your head is probably spinning. You’re confused, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and probably regretful. There are, however, steps you can take.
For starters, hire a DWI attorney who is local to your city and state. Laws are different across state lines, and it’s helpful to work with someone who understands the complexities of DWI law in your area.
For example, a Dallas DWI lawyer knows that, in the state of Texas, charges and penalties can be enhanced if you have a BAC over 0.15, had an open container in the vehicle, or had a child passenger younger than the age of 15.
If any of these factors are working against you, they’re going to be even more aggressive with their defense. However, the same might not be true in Florida or Ohio. DWI laws are different everywhere.
Once you’ve hired a DWI lawyer, it’s time to think about possible defenses. And while you should definitely leave this up to your lawyer, here are some good ones to consider:
- Improper Stop
Always start with the stop. Police are prohibited from arbitrarily pulling over a citizen without “reasonable suspicion.” In other words, a police officer can’t turn on their blue lights and pull you over just because you’re driving on a random backroad at 3 a.m. There has to be suspicion that some sort of criminal activity is taking place. A gut feeling isn’t enough.
If you were obeying the speed limit, staying between the yellow lines, and didn’t have any issues with your vehicle (like a missing tag), it’s possible that law enforcement didn’t have the right to pull you over. In that case, anything that they discovered afterward is inadmissible in the court of law.
- Failure to Observe Proper Field Sobriety Protocol
In order for a police officer to administer a field sobriety test, certain protocols must be followed. A failure to adhere to these procedures can negate the results of the test. If you were intimidated and/or physically forced to take a test, you can challenge the results. Likewise, if you were asked to perform a heel-toe test in rainy or icy weather, this is not valid proof of intoxication.
- Inaccurate Test Results
Breathalyzers are notorious for giving false measurements. While they’re designed to measure the blood alcohol content level, any number of variances in human physiology and/or the breathalyzer device itself can lead to inaccurate results. Even the instrument itself has a 10 percent margin of error.
- Medical Conditions
There are certain medical conditions that can cause someone to appear intoxicated or even skew the results of a breathalyzer test. For example, certain people with diabetes may experience a side effect known as ketosis, which creates an “alcohol smell.” (Even being on a keto diet can do this!) This can make an otherwise sober driver register a positive BAC on a breathalyzer test.
- Miranda Violations
If a police officer decides that you’ve broken a law and wants to place you under arrest, the U.S. Constitution requires that they read you your Miranda Rights. This includes the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, etc. If an officer fails to do so, any evidence they gather afterward can be excluded from being used in a court of law.
Don’t Fight Your DWI Alone
A DWI is a serious charge, and you should never attempt to fight it on your own. By hiring a lawyer and letting them advise you on the best course of action, you can significantly reduce the consequences and lower your risk of getting slapped with serious fines or jail time. And if you’re able to use any of the defenses outlined above, you might even get the case dropped altogether.
Don’t sit back and wait for things to get better. You have to take action!