Being charged with driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated is never a laughing matter. It's a serious charge that could have far-reaching implications in many aspects of your life. However, not every DUI or DWI charge results in a conviction. Your DUI/DWI attorney may be able to have your case dismissed on the grounds discussed below.
The Traffic Stop Was Illegal or Without Probable Cause
When a law enforcement officer decides to perform a traffic stop, that officer must have a legitimate reason or probable cause to perform the stop. Equipment violations (such as a burned out taillight or expired inspection stickers), traffic law violations, or erratic driving behavior are all legitimate reasons for performing a traffic stop. Being stopped at a DUI checkpoint also counts as a legitimate traffic stop.
A random traffic stop with no reasoning or rationale behind it does not count as a legal stop. Likewise, traffic stops based on racial profiling are also illegal. If you were subject to a breath or blood alcohol test under these conditions, then it's likely your case will be dismissed due to a lack of probable cause for the stop.
There Was No Probable Cause for the Breath or Blood Test
Law enforcement officers must also have probable cause to perform a breath or blood test on a DUI/DWI suspect. To establish this probable cause, the officer may conduct a field sobriety test to determine your basic level of impairment. In theory, a person who is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances will have a difficult time performing the movements and other simple tasks outlined in the test.
In reality, it's not out of the ordinary for a completely sober person to have some difficulty undergoing and passing a field sobriety test. Those with certain types of physical or mental disabilities may also find it difficult to undergo such testing. It's not unusual for officers to mistake missteps and other errant actions committed by sober individuals during the test to be a clear sign of intoxication.
You also have the option to refuse the field sobriety test and all other tests to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC), although this may result in an immediate revocation of your driving privileges until you are able to fight for reinstatement in court.
If any of the above applies to you, you may be able to have your DUI/DWI case dismissed due to a lack of probable cause.
Invalid Breath or Blood Test Results
The most common methods for testing blood alcohol levels for the purposes of a DUI or DWI stop -- breath test machines and blood tests -- are generally considered reliable. However, no testing method is perfect and there's always room for error. It's the reason why these tests are normally performed according to stringent standards and in stable testing environments.
For instance, there's always the possibility that the breath testing device could be improperly calibrated. This could cause your blood alcohol level to appear higher than it actually is. The same goes for a blood sample that is improperly handled or allowed to deteriorate before being tested.
Differences in blood test samples can also lead to inaccurate results. For example, serum blood samples often contain higher concentrations of blood alcohol than a comparable whole blood sample. The results of a blood test using serum blood must first be converted into a whole blood equivalent before it can be admitted as evidence. Otherwise, such errors could be grounds for dismissal of your DUI/DWI case.
It's always a good idea to consult with a DUI/DWI attorney from a firm like Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC. and investigate whether your current charges can be dismissed due to the grounds mentioned above.