Since most DWI arrests result from a traffic stop, our defense team will first examine and challenge when possible the arresting officer’s reason for the motor vehicle stop; this is known as a “probable cause” defense. An officer must have a “reasonable belief” that a traffic offense or criminal act was committed. In the absence of this showing, the case against you could be dismissed.
Next, our defense team looks to possible defenses related to the legal question of whether or not a person was “operating” a motor vehicle, as so many times a person is found outside of the vehicle or sleeping in the vehicle. Issues can also arise in such scenarios where the “time of operation” of the motor vehicle can be challenged.
Another point of challenge in a DWI case is the question of whether or not an officer had a proper legal basis to request that you take certain Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in order to help establish impairment. Our defense team will examine whether or not the officer followed the proper police procedures in administering the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. In drug cases, the police officer may have made a critical error by failing to utilize a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) who is an officer specially trained to test for impairment base on consumption of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or prescription medication. Even if a DRE is used, a defense would exist if there was an error by the officer in is a following the strict police guideline governing the evaluation and testing of a suspect.
A successful defense also requires a candid discussion with our clients concerning any particular medical or physiological conditions they suffer from which could have negatively impacted on their ability to perform the field sobriety tests or which could may caused the officer to falsely and incorrectly conclude that they were “impaired”. This analysis could then lead to possible defenses related to whether or not the officer had the legal authority to place a person under arrest for suspicion of DWI and ask that person to submit to breath testing.
Mistakes in the breath testing procedure can also provide a basis for a winning defense. The proper administration of the breath testing requires that the officers involved adhere to strict guidelines. Our defense team is well-versed in these police guidelines and know how to spot deficiencies in police procedure that could be sufficient enough to invalidate the breath samples.
Another area that often yields effective defenses relates to the training and credentials of the involved police officers. Every officer involved in a DWI arrest, including the arresting officer(s), the officer who conducts the Standardized Field Sobriety tests, the officer who administers breath testing and the officer in charge of the calibration of the breath testing instrument must be properly trained and receive the necessary certifications and credentials. Additionally, in many instances, the officers must maintain their credentials through continued training and re-certification administered by the State Police.
The most fertile ground for the defense lies in the highly technical calibration process. Our defense team has extensive training in the process associated with the calibration of the breath testing machine and, as such, we have been effective at challenging the scientific reliability of the breath testing instrument. A successful forensic challenge can result in your breath readings being deemed “inadmissible” and thrown out of court.