Building a Defense Against DUI/DWI

Let’s try to be hypothetical here. Say you’re a driver who found yourself charged of a DWI or a DUI case. The best way to learn about your rights and privileges is of course also reading on how to build a defense to fight these charges.

It is important to consider that, as in other cases, the prosecution must prove two things. First is that the offender actually drove the vehicle in question, and second, said offender is “under the influence” (the UI in DUI). This means the person’s ability to drive or operate a vehicle safely was impaired due to some influence.

In law nomenclature, a defense is something that tries to prove one of these requirements wrong. This bolsters your “defense” against the prosecution, and does not let it build up its case against you.

When it comes to the actual act of “driving,” there are some things you can look for. This is much more difficult to prove if the offender has actually been pulled over by an officer. However, if the police officer did not observe the offender, then the first part of their case can be subjected to scrutiny.

For instance, you can argue that there is no probable cause. This means the police officer did not have any reason to stop the vehicle and detain the offender in question. If a defendant believes he was asked to pull over because of race or ethnicity, and not because the driver was actually under the influence, then the arrest can be challenged.

If the arresting police officer did not enumerate the Miranda warnings once a driver was arrested, this is also a good defense. These are warnings such as, “You have the right to remain silent.” Drivers have to take note if these rights were announced correctly, which means it’s recommended they read these as well.

Drivers and their lawyers can even challenge the officer’s testimony. Much of DUI and DWI cases involve officers “observing” the behavior of the driver in question, which in turn can “prove” that they were really under the influence.

Officers have to testify about certain things, such as the “way” drivers were operating: are they swerving, or did they go through a green light? Did the driver in question do the tests correctly?

However, some drivers can offer valid explanations for their behavior. Maybe an impairment prevented them from doing the sobriety tests properly, or allergies may make eyes appear bloodshot. The instructions for the tests may be confusing as well.  Others can even introduce witnesses to say they saw things happen differently, as in for them, the driver in question was not drunk and he or she appeared to be sober.

Drivers and lawyers will also need to disprove the “under the influence” requirement of the equation. However, it’s hard to disprove chemical tests – but it does not mean it is impossible.

More often than not, states require officers to follow strict rules in the administration of these tests. If officers are proven to performed misconduct in these tests, it can be a good defense. This is especially if the results appear to be something that can be challenged, and if arresting officers did not explain the nature of the test themselves.

Curious drivers should read their specific state’s laws in order to get an idea how DUI/DWI charges work. They are also advised to seek legal help if they find themselves in similar situations, or if they want to learn about vehicular laws in general.