Are there any defenses to a DWI charge?

People often think that if the police arrest them for DWI, there is no point to fighting the charges, especially if their blood alcohol test came back above the legal limit. This is simply not true. A DWI arrest does not automatically mean a conviction. If you face DWI charges, you can and should fight them. A DWI charge can affect many aspects of your life, from your job to housing. That is on top of the penalties you face, such as fines, a suspended license and possible jail time.

You do have options available

You know why you should fight the charges, but what defenses do you have? Possible legal challenges exist at every step of the process, from your traffic stop to your breath test. Examples of legal defenses include:

  • Improper traffic stop – An officer must have reasonable suspicion that you have violated the law in order to pull you over. They must base the reason on specific facts.
  • Standardized field sobriety testing – If the officer did not properly conduct the field sobriety test, we can challenge the results. Outside factors can also affect the results of a field sobriety test.
  • Breathalyzer test – New Jersey commonly uses the “Alcotest” machine to conduct its breath test. The machine’s operator must keep it properly maintained and calibrated in order to work correctly. You can challenge the machine’s accuracy as well as the operator’s credentials to administer the test. Likewise, if they give you a blood test, you can also challenge those results
  • Probable cause for arrest – In order to arrest you, the officer must reasonably believe you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We can argue that they did not have probable cause, or that it was based on improper evidence.

Your timing is critical

You can fight the charges, but the sooner you start mounting your defense, the better. Early intervention by your attorney will increase the chances of reducing your charges or even having them dismissed completely.

FindLaw Network