To avoid these consequences, you have to fight back. And the best way to do this is to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled cases like these before and understands the many different ways to defend against the charge.
Obviously, every case is unique, and the only way to know how to best defend yourself is to consult with an experienced DWI lawyer, but below you’ll find several examples of defenses that are frequently used to great effect.
Disputing Suspicion. Often, when you are charged with a DWI, it’s because you were pulled over for “suspicious behavior.” This can mean swerving, erratic driving, speeding or even driving too slow. As the defendant, you can question this suspicion by the arresting or charging officer by explaining why you were driving as you were.
Prior to the texting-while-driving laws, many people used texting as an explanation for their driving. Now, however, that will get you fined just as much as a DWI. It’s recommended that you speak to your DWI attorney about your options when disputing suspicion.
Field Test Accuracy. Many people who are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving as subjected to a field sobriety test. This often involves tracking the officer’s finger, standing on one leg, walking in a straight line, or variations on this theme.
However, due to a variety of issues, some people may not be able to pass a field test – even while they are completely sober. This may not be understood at the time of the field test, or may have not been shared with the officer in question. Informing your criminal defense attorney of such an event would greatly help in disputing the DWI charges. Also remember that you can always refuse to take a field sobriety test without risking legal repercussions.
First Offense. If you are facing your first DWI offense and the evidence seems strongly in favor of the prosecution, it may be possible to decrease your charges and penalties simply by arguing that you haven’t done this before – and won’t again. Many judges (and even some prosecutors) understand that it’s possible to make a one-time error in judgment and will be sympathetic. You likely won’t walk free with this type of defense, but it can mean that you’ll spend less time in jail or have fewer fines to pay.
One big thing that helps your attorney’s argument for a lesser charge is if you had a relatively low BAC at the time of your arrest. Why? Because having one too many drinks is a lot easier to define as a “mistake” than having five too many.
Respected Rights. Many people do not know that at the time of a field test or arrest for suspicion of a DWI, they have the right to contact a lawyer to seek counsel on the matter of testing. They also have to be informed of this right at the time, and the officer must allow them to seek a second test (beyond the field BAC test) to verify BAC.
If the arresting officer does not respect these rights, they can argue this point in court and potentially overturn the charges. A knowledgeable defense attorney will be able to help you understand your rights and ensure they are being respected fully in the due process of law.
There are a number of other defenses you can use as well, including calling into question the results of breath and blood tests, which can be inaccurate for a variety of reasons. The bottom line? You need to sit down with a Minnesota DWI lawyer and figure out which strategy gives you the highest chance of getting a positive outcome.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).