Driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired by drugs have become very poltically-charged legal topics. For that reason, law enforcement officers are quick to pull over drivers for suspicion of DWI or DWAI. Oftentimes, officers can be a little too eager to arrest someone for intoxicated or impaired driving and you can be falsely accused due to a rush to judgment by an officer. If you’ve been arrested on charges of DWI or DWAI, it is vital to your case that you find an attorney who will protect your rights and inform you of all the possible defenses.
Some defenses that are available to your case are:
UNLAWFUL POLICE STOPS
Before an officer can make a DWI/ DWAI arrest, he or she must have a lawful, valid reason for stopping a suspect. This lawful reason cannot be a hunch that the driver is intoxicated or under the influence --- nor can the stop be a "pretextual" stop to investigate a DWI/DWAI offense.
Lawful stops can include: failure to maintain lane, excessive speed, ignoring traffic signs and signals, driving without headlights, or any other unusual driving behavior. However, if you were pulled over by an officer unlawfully, an experienced DWI attorney can build a strong case in your defense.
POLICE MISCONDUCT IN DWI INVESTIGATIONS
You could also have grounds for defense if your arresting officer made a mistake during the investigation. Standard field sobriety tests (SFSTs) are often used by officers to test your motor skills and divided attention abilities. Tests such as the walk and turn, following the officer’s finger with your eyes, or standing on one leg while counting out loud can help an officer determine whether or not you are intoxicated or impaired. These tests must be instructed properly and administered by the police officer with precision or the results are not reliable. In addition, these tests can be affected by fatigue, nerves, and preexisting medical conditions. An officer must take great care to conduct these tests correctly in order to make an accurate and reliable judgment of your level of intoxication or impairment. At Astairta & Associates we specifically understand the nuances of whether proper or improper police methods were used. If the test was administered improperly or unlawfully, we will use our experience to challenge them in a courtroom and best protect your rights.
In addition, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests can also be mishandled by the police. Breathalyzer machines are delicate and must be properly calibrated before each and every use. If the police have failed to calibrate the machine, failed to give you proper directions, or failed to administer the breath test correctly, the BAC test could be rendered unreliable. A blood test can even result in a false positive if it is mishandled or contaminated in the lab. At Astarita & Associates, we will thoroughly investigate all these factors to best protect your rights and work towards achieving the best possible outcome of your case.