Swerving to avoid a squirrel in the road or turning a corner and encountering a sobriety checkpoint could lead to your arrest on allegations of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) infraction. While you maintain your innocence, you may feel like defending against a DWI charge is hopeless.
Most people who hear of the charges won’t give you the benefit of the doubt by presuming you are innocent. It is common for people to assume that those accused of drunk driving must be guilty because they failed the field sobriety test or a chemical breath test. If you recently got arrested for a DWI charge, there is still hope that you can defend yourself and avoid conviction.
Learning about some of the most common defense strategies could help you decide the best path forward after your arrest.
Questioning the traffic stop
Whether you got arrested as part of a mass enforcement effort or a one-on-one traffic stop, the officer needs to have a legal justification for stopping you and then for screening you for signs of impairment. When a police officer didn’t have probable cause to pull you over in the first place, any evidence gathered during the traffic stop may not be useful in criminal court proceedings.
Challenging the chemical testing results
Did you know that there is significant evidence about issues that can cause false positives on breath tests? There are some courts and judges who won’t even hear cases if the only evidence the prosecutor has is a failed breath test.
When your driving was overall acceptable and you insist that you did not have too much to drink, you could potentially challenge the chemical breath test results and get the courts to exclude them from your trial.
Explain why you failed the test
Did you just find out that you have type 2 diabetes but have yet to start taking medication for it? You may have been in a state of ketoacidosis during the traffic stop that would have affected your breath test results. Severe anxiety or even certain neurological conditions may have made you look impaired to an officer when you were in fact perfectly safe to drive. Showing how a medical issue led to your arrest can be a viable defense strategy.
There are certainly other defense strategies that can also work, but these three are the most commonly used successful defense strategies. Understanding how others fight back against DWI charges can help you protect yourself from criminal penalties.