Getting arrested for a DWI is scary, but with the help of a good criminal defense attorney, you have a chance of coming out on top. Also, sometimes the police unwittingly help your defense, as the list below will show.
Invalid Vehicle Stop
One of the first things an experienced DWI criminal defense attorney will review is whether the vehicle stop was legal. Whether the stop occurred in Texas, California, or another state, law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
By reasonable suspicion, we refer to a logical reason for stopping your car that’s more than mere suspicion. There must be a legal and logical basis for pulling your vehicle over for the stop to hold up in court.
Most often, police will cite a traffic violation, such as swerving, or equipment violation, such as a broken tail light, to pull someone over. But if law enforcement didn’t stop you for a legitimate reason, your criminal defense attorney might successfully challenge the entire stop.
And if the reason for the stop was invalid, the case could be thrown out. For example, there was a case in 2010 where the police officer turned on their red and blue lights to get the attention of the defendant, which lured him into stopping his vehicle. This led to the defendant being arrested for suspected DWI.
This stop was successfully challenged and led to the charges being dismissed.
Didn’t Follow DWI Stop Training
The procedures for pulling people over for suspected drunk driving were made by the NHTSA or National Highway Traffic And Safety Administration. The NHTSA regularly performs police training to do these stops legally and according to regulations.
If the police failed to adhere to NHTSA guidelines for your DWI stop, the validity of the stop could be affected in court.
Following You Into Your Home
The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees that your home cannot be illegally entered by law enforcement. While trying to hide in your home cannot stop you from being convicted of a DWI, if you are in the home, the responding officer must have a court order to enter your dwelling.
Most police officers are fair and respectful during traffic stops, but there have been cases where the law enforcement professional displayed a poor attitude that led to the stop being questioned in court.
For example, if the police officer calls a suspect vulgar terms, it’s possible a jury could question the person’s judgment and fairness.
There are some officers who resent it when a DWI attorney questions the legitimacy of a traffic stop, particularly if a DWI is allegedly involved. And some may even not show up for depositions or in court.
If you believe the responding officer who arrested you was unprofessional, it’s important to alert your criminal defense attorney. It’s especially helpful if there were eyewitnesses to the police officer’s behavior during your arrest.
Arrested You When You Weren’t Drunk
It might surprise you, but sometimes the police arrest people for DWI who weren’t legally intoxicated. Police make mistakes like everyone and may act inappropriately during a vehicle stop.
There have been suspected DWI cases where law enforcement simply pulled over and arrested someone who left a bar parking lot late at night. Pulling a person over merely for leaving a bar isn’t sufficient cause for a legal stop.
Stopped You At An Illegal Checkpoint
DWI checkpoints have become more common in many states in the last few years. However, legal DWI checkpoints must adhere to strict rules, which vary depending on your state of residence.
Some police officers conduct DWI checkpoints illegally, and a skilled attorney may be able to call the stop into question in court.
Unprepared For DWI Hearings
If you are arrested for DWI, you may need to go to court to get your driver’s license back temporarily. Or, there may be a hearing looking into the possible suppression of evidence.
Some officers are busy and may underestimate how important these hearings are compared to the DWI trial. If the officer isn’t prepared for one of these critical hearings, your trial attorney may be able to beat the case early on.
How To Make It Easier For Your DWI Attorney
Now that you know some of the mistakes that could damage the DWI case against you, it’s important to understand some critical tips to make things easier for your criminal defense attorney to defend you:
Get Going On Your Defense Immediately
There are strict guidelines for fighting a DWI in court. You may need to appear before the judge just hours after the arrest.
If you want to fight your license being suspended because you refused to take a breath test, for example, you usually only have 15 days from when you were arrested.
It’s important to get in touch with an experienced attorney quickly so they can find witnesses, check evidence, and construct the best defense.
Consider Refusing Alcohol Testing
If you are arrested for DWI, you will be asked to take a breath or blood test to check your blood alcohol content. Implied consent laws for driving on public roads mean you’ve agreed to be tested, but you are allowed to refuse.
Some attorneys argue for declining such testing because it may incriminate you and make the case harder to beat in court. However, refusing an alcohol test could mean your license will be suspended pending trial. However, you can contest an administrative suspension.
Get All Evidence
Discovery is essential during a DWI case, and you have a right to know every piece of evidence against you.
But the prosecutor probably won’t go out of their way to hand information over to you. Your attorney can make a discovery demand and use the FOIA Act to get as much information as possible from the state and law enforcement.
Working closely with your attorney to uncover all evidence could make or break your case.
Remember the information highlighted here if you want to beat your DWI case. While nothing is guaranteed, skilled attorneys beat drunk driving charges for their clients every day.