Common Defenses To DWI Charges

At the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center, we take drunk driving defense very seriously. Some lawyers favor plea deals or other quick fixes that may not be in their clients' best interests. But our attorneys explore every aspect of your case to assess all of your legal options. If your rights were violated or mistakes were made by police, we will uncover and expose the truth.

Pleading guilty is far from your only option in a DWI case. In fact, there are several common ways to contest DWI charges, including:

Challenging The Traffic Stop

In order for a police officer to pull you over, he needs to have reasonable suspicion that you have been or are currently engaging in criminal activity or violating traffic laws. You can be pulled over for a vehicle violation (like a burned-out headlight), a moving violation (like speeding) or erratic/dangerous driving (such as swerving).

Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard of proof than probable cause, but it still must be based on specific facts and observations. It cannot be based on a "hunch" or a "gut feeling."

If the officer cannot articulate why he pulled you over or the reason given seems dubious, we may be able to challenge the stop in court. If the stop was unjustified, everything happening afterward may not be admissible in court.

Citing Problems With Field Sobriety Tests

Walking a straight line heel to toe, following a moving object with your eyes and standing on one leg are standard tests used to gauge whether a driver might be intoxicated. They are a precursor to asking for a breath or blood test. But they are certainly not conclusive and can be misinterpreted.

Here are just some of the problems associated with field sobriety tests (FSTs):

  • Balance and coordination issues can be related to medical problems and not necessarily indicative of intoxication.
  • Officers do not always administer tests correctly, which can be challenged in court.
  • Interpreting FST results is subjective, and not all officers are trained correctly.
  • Testing often takes place on the side of a busy, dark highway with bright lights going by and potentially bad weather. These testing conditions are far from ideal, even for completely sober drivers.

If field sobriety tests were administered incorrectly or interpreted incorrectly, we may be able to challenge the results, potentially invalidating the ensuing breath/blood tests that followed.

Challenging The Testing Equipment

If you were charged with drunk driving based on the results of a breath-alcohol test (often called a Breathalyzer), it is sometimes possible to challenge the accuracy of the device itself. These machines must be regularly serviced and calibrated. We can subpoena the service records to determine if the machine had been maintained and calibrated correctly.

Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation

Located in Belton, the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center serves clients throughout the Kansas City metro area. To schedule your free initial consultation, send us an email or call 816-318-7943.