Getting a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence) can result in serious penalties. For those who are arrested and charged for these offenses, there are some viable techniques that can result in reduced or dropped penalties. Here are five tips about how to defend against a DWI/DUI.
1. Misconduct during field sobriety test
Law enforcement must follow strict protocols when administering field sobriety tests. Failure to follow these procedures can result in suppression of evidence. If police officers engage in overt intimidation, disrespect or inappropriate conduct, there may be a viable defense.
2. Improper stop
Police officers are not allowed to stop or pull over private individuals without reasonable suspicion. For a stop to be reasonable, the officer must witness the driver do something wrong or suspicious. If a driver is obeying traffic laws, driving the speed limit and there are no malfunctions with the car, the suspect may be able to claim there was not reasonable suspicion.
3. Miranda violations
Law enforcement must inform suspects once they are placed under arrest. While informing the suspect of the arrest, the officer must advise the suspect on their rights, also known as a Miranda warning. If the officer fails to issue Miranda warnings, evidence collected afterwards may be excluded from the investigation.
4. Witness testimony
There may be witnesses of a DWI/DUI arrest or traffic stop. Be they passengers, pedestrians or other individuals, these witnesses can testify in defense of the defendant. For example, a witness may claim that the driver did not drink anything prior to driving or that traffic violations occurred due to distraction rather than intoxication.
5. Improper chemical test procedures
Many states, including North Carolina, have requirements regarding the administration of chemical tests . For example, refusing a breath test results in the ability of your license being taken away. Officers must advise suspects of this consequence and adhere to proper calibrations and maintenance of the testing machines. If a suspect is not informed of license suspension or the test was faulty, the evidence may be dismissed.
Utilizing these defense techniques may require help from a criminal defense lawyer. Many drivers who are arrested and charged with a DWI or DUI lean towards pleading guilty and dealing with the consequences or trying to defend themselves without legal assistance. Anyone who has been arrested and charged with these offenses should consider consulting with an attorney. Mounting a viable defense against these charges and having a better outcome is possible.