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Do You Feel Like Your DWI Case Is Hopeless? Look at Two Ways Your Attorney Can Fight the Charges

by Layla Bryant

Do you feel like your DWI case is hopeless? It may seem that way, especially if the prosecutor is stressing the evidence against you and hoping to intimidate you into taking a plea agreement. However, there are a number of ways that DWI defense attorneys can tackle a case that can make even a "hopeless" one winnable. Here are some examples of tactics used by defense attorneys that may help you see your case in a better light.

Challenging Everything the Prosecution Introduces as a Presumption

As a criminal defendant, you enjoy the "presumption of innocence," meaning that unless you eventually plead guilty or get convicted, the jury is supposed to assume that you are actually innocent of the charges. You don't have to prove your innocence—the prosecution has to prove that you're guilty. The burden is entirely on the state.

That means that your defense attorney needs to challenge every other possible "presumption" that the state wants to introduce as evidence—and there are probably a lot of them.

For example, your attorney may challenge the presumption that the officer had a reasonable suspicion that you were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the first place. What exactly made the officer suspect that your wide turn or forgotten turn signal was a symptom of drug or alcohol use instead of just a simple driving mistake? If the officer lacked reasonable suspicion (also known as "probable cause") for the traffic stop and subsequent DWI investigation, any evidence collected during that investigation could be disallowed in court.

Another presumption your attorney may challenge includes the idea that you couldn't perform field sobriety tests correctly drunk or sober, especially if you're middle-aged or older. Sobriety field tests rely on coordination and balance skills, which can decline as people age and be affected by everything from low blood sugar levels to simple fatigue. 

Nothing the prosecution tries to introduce as evidence should be allowed to pass without carefully looking at the presumptions made, whether that is the capability of the officer to detect the odor of marijuana or alcohol on your person or the way that the lab tests were handled.

Challenging the Reliability of Factual Evidence

Another way that your attorney may help sway the jury is through challenging the factual evidence of your case. There have been some incredible failures in the nation's crime labs as of late. There have been wide-spread problems with forensic examiners who "dry-lab" their results, writing down test results that match the prosecution's claims or the roadside evidence without actually doing any follow-up testing.

Huge problems with crime labs involving thefts, tampering, false testimony and just plain bad forensics have been exposed in Oregon, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Florida. At least 20 states have had similar problems in the last decade. Your attorney may challenge all of the evidence in your case by introducing the problems with the lab used. He or she can also explore the possibility of an error occurring due to things like contamination in the blood draw room, the use of faulty tests with a high-error rating, expired testing materials, uncalibrated machines, improper blood draw techniques, delays in testing, mishandled evidence, breaks in the chain of evidence, and improper reading of test results.

Don't assume your case is hopeless based on what the prosecution or police tell you. Discuss the issue with a DWI defense attorney like David A. Mansfield first.