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Common Defenses for DWI Cases: Exploring Your Legal Options

by Jul 11, 2023Criminal Defense Attorney, DWI / DUI, Sam Edmunds

Facing a DWI charge can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. But if you’ve found yourself charged with DWI, it’s important to remember that a charge doesn’t automatically lead to a conviction. With the right legal representation and a solid defense strategy, you may have various options to challenge the charges and protect your rights. Here are some of the most common defenses for DWI cases.

Challenging the Traffic Stop

One common defense strategy in DWI cases involves challenging the legality of the traffic stop. Did law enforcement have a valid reason to pull you over? Legally there has to be a reason for the stop, such as a traffic violation or reasonable suspicion of intoxication. If the stop was unjustified or lacking probable cause, it may be possible to suppress evidence obtained during the stop, which can essentially destroy the prosecution’s case.

Contesting Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus, are commonly used by law enforcement to assess impairment. However, these tests can be subjective and prone to errors. Your attorney may challenge the validity and accuracy of the field sobriety tests, highlighting factors like poor testing conditions, medical conditions, or improper administration that may have influenced the results.

Questioning Breathalyzer Results

Breathalyzer tests are one of the most common tools used to measure blood alcohol concentration levels. However, these devices can be subject to calibration errors or improper usage. Your attorney may investigate whether the breathalyzer was properly maintained, calibrated, and administered according to the required standards. Inaccurate or unreliable breathalyzer results can be challenged, potentially weakening the prosecution’s case.

Medical Conditions or Prescription Medications

Certain medical conditions or the use of prescription medications can produce symptoms similar to intoxication. Whether you have a chronic medical condition or were taking medication for a short-term health issue, your attorney can argue that these factors contributed to the observed signs of impairment, casting doubt on the prosecution’s case. 

Violations of Miranda Rights or Due Process

Law enforcement officers have to adhere to strict protocols when making an arrest, advising suspects of their Miranda rights and ensuring due process. These rights form the foundation of our criminal justice system – they’re there for a reason. If you were improperly questioned during the arrest process or didn’t receive necessary information from law enforcement, it could impact the admissibility of evidence and potentially lead to a dismissal or reduction of charges.

Rising BAC Defense

The rising blood alcohol concentration defense asserts that your BAC level was below the legal limit at the time of driving but increased to an illegal level by the time the chemical test was conducted. This defense relies on the fact that alcohol takes time to absorb into the bloodstream, and for some DWI charges, the prosecution must prove that you were actually impaired while you were operating the vehicle.

Accepting A Lesser Charge

It’s sometimes possible to negotiate a lesser charge in a DWI case through a process known as plea bargaining. Plea bargaining involves negotiating with the prosecution to reach an agreement where you agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduced sentence or other favorable terms.

In some instances, the prosecution may be willing to offer a reduced charge, such as careless driving, which carries less severe penalties compared to a DWI conviction. But keep in mind that prosecutors aren’t required to offer a plea bargain, and they may not be open to it if the evidence against you is strong or if you have prior DWI convictions.

Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys for DWI Defense

Being charged with a DWI doesn’t necessarily mean a conviction is inevitable. By exploring common defenses and understanding your legal options, you can work towards protecting your rights and achieving a favorable outcome. Don’t give the prosecution an advantage in your case; consult with an experienced DWI attorney who can assess the details of your charges and identify the most viable defenses. 

A skilled attorney has specific experience navigating the complexities of DWI cases and can help you find the right defense approach tailored to your specific circumstances. They’ve spent years gaining knowledge of DWI laws and potential defenses that can make a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Your attorney can review the evidence, including police reports and breathalyzer results, to determine the legality of the traffic stop and arrest. This approach will allow your lawyer to identify any potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and determine the best defense strategy.

Additionally, a criminal defense attorney has the experience and negotiation skills necessary to engage in discussions with prosecutors and potentially negotiate plea agreements. They will advocate on your behalf, presenting the strongest possible defense and fighting for your rights and interests. If your case proceeds to trial, they will provide aggressive representation, presenting a compelling case in court and challenging the prosecution’s evidence and arguments.

Working with a criminal defense attorney offers peace of mind during a challenging and stressful time. They will provide emotional support, alleviate your concerns, and handle the legal complexities on your behalf. With their guidance, you can focus on addressing any personal or professional consequences that may arise from your DWI charge, while knowing that a dedicated legal professional is diligently working to protect your rights.

If you’re facing a DWI in Minnesota or Wisconsin and hope to prove your innocence, contact the attorneys at Sieben Edmunds Miller. Our attorneys understand the intricacies of the legal system and can guide you through every step of the process. From the beginning, we’ll explain your rights, educate you about the potential consequences you may face, and offer guidance on how to navigate the complex legal proceedings. We’ll do everything in our power to protect your rights and help you reach a favorable outcome in your case.


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