Common Police Mistakes That Get Your DWI Dismissed
Getting pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving is terrifying – but being arrested and thrown in jail is a whole other level of fear. A DWI conviction is disastrous to your life, and even first-time offenders risk jail time, driver’s license suspension, and hefty fines.
With penalties that severe, you may wonder what options you might have to make your DWI charge go away. When reviewing your case, a criminal defense lawyer will revisit the details of your arrest, look at your criminal charges, and collect evidence, including the police officer’s conduct, to help you try to get your case dismissed.
The reality is police officers are not above the law – they can make mistakes with your DWI charge. And when they do, you can use this to your advantage to get your DWI dismissed, and a criminal defense lawyer at Martine Law can help.
Here are some common mistakes that police officers make during an arrest for a DWI.
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion
Before a traffic stop can happen, the officer must have suspicion to pull you over in the first place. In criminal cases, having an objectively justifiable suspicion based on facts will enable officers to request a search warrant for their investigation.
In DWI cases, acceptable reasons to pull you over may include:
- Observing a traffic violation (failing to signal, speeding, swerving, reckless driving, etc.)
- Observing a public offense
- Suspecting that you were involved in a crime
Contrarily, if the police officer can not provide proof of suspension that is reasonable, the evidence against you is not admissible – invalidating the charges against you.
Lack of Probable Cause for DWI Arrest
A police officer must have probable cause to arrest you for DWI charges. This means they must be able to demonstrate objective reasons for what led them to believe you committed a crime. Although the burden of proof is lower than what it would take to convict you, they must still present qualifying evidence that you were breaking the law. This is where sobriety testing and other tests come into play (which we’ll get into next). Failure to provide proof will invalidate the evidence against you.
Faulty Field Sobriety Testing
When you’re pulled over for a DWI, the officer might ask you to perform one of three standardized field sobriety tests; Walk and Turn, One-Leg Turn, or the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. These tests exist to check whether your coordination or “faculties” have been impaired by alcohol consumption. The problem with these tests is they aren’t always accurate. The arresting officer must be trained for these tests, and in most cases, you do not have to submit to field sobriety tests at all.
Inaccurate Breath or Chemical Testing
Most states follow implied consent laws, meaning if you’re pulled over for a DWI, you have already consented to have your blood alcohol concentration tested. The arresting officer may test your BAC using a breath test or chemical tests like a urine or blood test. If your test shows a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit (0.08%), you will be charged with a DWI.
However, breath tests and chemical BAC testing must be administered by an individual who is certified to do so. Additionally, breathalyzers must be calibrated to ensure readings come out correctly. Even the slightest mistake or mishandling of evidence can get the evidence thrown out in your case.
No Proof That You Were Driving
While less likely, there may be instances where the arresting officer can not prove that you were driving the vehicle. Whether there is a lack of witnesses or you were parked at the time, you can not be convicted of DWI charges if you were not driving. However, some states still follow actual physical control laws, meaning you could be convicted of a different offense if you were proven intoxicated, especially if you have previous DWI convictions.
Avoid A DWI Conviction – Contact an Experienced DWI Defense Attorney
An arrest for a DWI doesn’t overshadow your constitutional rights. Law enforcement agencies make mistakes, and when you’re facing serious penalties over a driving while intoxicated charge, an experienced DWI lawyer can make a difference in your DWI defense case.
Our attorneys at Martine Law have seen firsthand the impact a DWI charge can have on your criminal record and your life. We’ve helped hundreds of people across Minnesota get their misdemeanor and felony DWI charges dismissed, and we can do the same for you. We offer comprehensive legal representation for your case, so you can keep your driving privileges and get your charge dismissed.
So before you enter a guilty plea, contact us today for a free consultation on your DWI case.