DWI, or driving while under the influence of alcohol or a drug, is a serious charge that can have long-range implications for anyone convicted of the violation. However, with the help of a dedicated DWI lawyer, there are many ways to successfully defend a DWI.
Challenging the Legality of the Stop
Although uncommon, you will find cases where law enforcement illegally stopped a vehicle or lacked probable cause to do so. Your vehicle can only be stopped for these reasons:
- Violating a traffic law
- Erratic driving
- DWI checkpoint
- Your vehicle matches description of a stolen vehicle or one involved in a crime
Arbitrary stops are prohibited, as are stops based on racial profiling or any other reason unrelated to breaking the law.
Lack of Probable Cause for a Breathalyzer Test
Another basis for dismissing a DWI is insufficient probable cause for the officer to request a breathalyzer test. If you are stopped for speeding and denied drinking any alcohol, the officer may ask you to perform field sobriety tests if they suspect you were drinking. But you aren’t obligated to perform these tests, and few sober people can do them correctly. If you refuse, the officer is left without much probable cause to request you to take a breath test, besides your driving actions and your temperament.
It is possible to refuse a breath or chemical test entirely, but you risk losing your driving privileges for a minimum of one year.
Challenging the Breath or Chemical Evaluation
The most common way to defend a DWI is by using a proven defense strategy of challenging the legality of the breath or chemical test. A proficient DWI attorney understands how a breathalyzer test works and can challenge the protocol used in managing the evaluation, along with the mechanisms of the machine itself. If the machine was improperly calibrated or the law enforcement officer refused to turn over its source code, a court could rule the evaluation results are inadmissible. Additionally, certain medical conditions may influence the correctness of any evaluation results.
Likewise, blood and urine tests that look for specific drugs, including alcohol, must be demonstrated to have followed strict protocols during the collection and processing of the specimen.
How to Fight Your License Suspension
Any time you’re charged with a DWI, your driver’s license is subject to suspension in a proceeding separate from criminal charges. If you don’t challenge your suspension at an administrative hearing, you may lose your driving privileges instantly, even if you are found not guilty or your case is dismissed.
Should you be successful in the administrative proceeding to recover your driving privileges, there’s a chance that the prosecutor may choose not to pursue the DWI charges against you.
Contact Schwartz & Krysinksi, LLP today for more information about DWI defense strategies and to obtain a consultation. Call now at (718) 643-9333.