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Someone is considered guilty of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) if they are intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle. There are many potential penalties of a DWI conviction, including driver’s license suspension, fines, and even jail time. If you are convicted, you will also face a mandatory DMV insurance surcharge of $3,000 or more. The severity of the penalty will depend upon whether it is your first DWI offense. If your license is suspended, you cannot obtain a hardship or work license.
If you are stopped while driving for suspicion of drunk driving, the police officer may require you to take a breathalyzer test or a field sobriety test. You are found to be intoxicated under law if you have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more.
Fighting a DWI
Unfortunately, many people charged with a DWI do not understand their rights or realize that they can fight their charge. The first step is hiring an experienced attorney with training in field sobriety and breathalyzer tests. There are many ways your case may be won, including the following strategies.
Was the stop reasonable?
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that for police to stop you, the police must have a reasonable suspicion that you have broken or are breaking the law. If you have not violated any laws and the police did not have legitimate cause to stop you, the charges should be dismissed. This will not be done automatically, as your attorney will need to file a Motion to Suppress Evidence.
What were the officer’s observations?
The officer’s observations during the investigation play a major role in your case, as it is these observations that will lead the officer to suspect you were under the influence. Challenging the officer’s suspicions and observations may help get your case dismissed. For example, slurred speech may indicate intoxication or simply a speech impediment. Bloodshot eyes or a flushed face are not reliable indicators that someone is intoxicated, as they may be caused by stress or hard work.
How was the field sobriety test conducted?
In virtually every case, someone suspected of drunk driving will be asked to perform a field sobriety test, such as a one-legged stand or an eye test. It is very important to understand that these tests must be done in a very specific manner and then graded using very precise criteria. Many police officers do not receive proper field sobriety training or they incorrectly perform and grade the tests they perform.
How reliable was the test?
Blood, urine, or breath tests should be challenged, as results are not always reliable. The machinery used must be shown to be in working order, as a machine that is not calibrated properly will lead to inaccurate results. If procedures in the handling of the sample were not followed properly, your results may be thrown out.
Contact Us Today
If you are facing a DWI charge, the Law Office of Mark A. Bernstein will work to preserve your rights and improve your chances of winning your case. DWI attorney Mark Bernstein has more than 17 years of experience handling DWI cases, many of which have been dismissed or reduced. Contact our law office today at (609) 299-1647 for a free consultation.
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