Drivers who face DWI charges in Missouri have better chances of having their charges dropped or minimizing the consequences of their actions if they work with a St. Louis DWI attorney. Besides knowing the applicable DWI laws like the back of their hand and taking over the paperwork and bureaucracy associated with a DWI trial, attorneys have their own defense tactics that can help them get a client off the hook even when the latter is guilty.
Unfortunately, knowing what these tactics are is not enough for drivers to employ them, as the secret to obtaining the desired results is identifying the best tactics according to the specifics of the case. However, reviewing the most commonly used tactics may help drivers understand how helpful the services of an experienced attorney can be.
10 St. Louis DWI Defense Strategies a Seasoned DWI Attorney Can Employ
1. Proving That the Law Enforcement Officers Stopped the Car Illegally
Police officers cannot stop cars without clear reasons to believe that the driver violated the law or without noticing anything unusual regarding the vehicle’s operation. If officers stop the car because they see the driver getting behind the wheel after walking out of a bar, they know the driver drinks, or someone who chooses to remain anonymous tips them about the driver’s state of intoxication, they violate the driver’s rights.
2. Proving the Unreliability or Inaccuracy of the Field Sobriety Test
Contrary to what most people imagine, field sobriety tests are not fully accurate. They can be unreliable for healthy and fit individuals, even more so for persons with injuries and/or precarious health, who are considerably overweight, or who exceed 65 years of age. Drivers can have vertigo, coordination or balance issues without consuming alcohol.
3. Disputing the Accuracy and Relevancy of the Breath Test
If the breath testing does not take place on the spot, its results are not considered relevant. This is because someone’s blood alcohol level can change throughout time, depending on how much time has passed from the consumption of alcohol. The food, drinks, or medicine someone consumes before taking a breath test can influence the results, as well. The law enforcement officers have to prove the intoxication of the driver while operating the vehicle, not later.
4. Using the Police’s Recordings to Prove That the Field Sobriety Test was Biased
Sometimes, the driver charged with DWI has speech or balance deficiencies that a police officer may interpret as signs of intoxication. The St. Louis DWI attorney can use the recordings to show that the drivers’ speech and balance did not show signs of impairment and did not differ from other occasions when the defendant was not intoxicated. The recordings may also prove that the police officer had a bias towards the driver. The police’s failure to provide the requested recordings can lead to the dismissal of all recordings.
5. Raising Suspicion Regarding the Accuracy of the Blood Test
It is quite common for the medical personnel taking the blood samples to fail to follow the proper protocol, and for the blood tests to provide inaccurate results. If an attorney manages to prove their inaccuracy or at least raise doubts regarding it, the court will exclude the blood test results from the evidence.
6. Showing That the Officer Who Operated the Breath-Testing Device Was Unlicensed
The law requests that the person operating a breath-testing device to determine if someone has committed DWI in Missouri hold a valid license. Sometimes, operators fail to submit the required documentation in due time in order to renew their license, so it should not come as a surprise if the breath-testing device’s operator has one’s license expired. This can lead to a case dismissal or secure a favorable verdict for the driver.
7. Bringing Independent Witnesses
A skilled Missouri DWI attorney may be able to find witnesses to testify in favor of the driver. They could be a bartender recollecting that the driver did not consume alcohol, a friend or work colleague testifying that the driver was taking medicine and would not have consumed alcohol intentionally, someone present at the scene who can confirm that the driver showed no signs of intoxication, hospital personnel, or other drivers.
8. Proving Failure to Give the Miranda or Implied Consent Warning
If the law enforcement officers failed to read the Miranda rights to the driver upon taking one in custody or they failed to read the implied consent law before asking one to submit to the breath test, the St. Louis DWI attorney can prevent the prosecutor to use the defendant’s statements.
9. Invoking Medical and Health Problems
As mentioned above, some health issues or the corresponding treatments can affect a driver’s performance on the field sobriety test and even the results of the breath test. A skilled attorney can prove that the driver in question suffers from such health problems or was under such treatment, and, thus, challenge the results of the tests.
10. Proving That the Law Enforcement Officers Did Not Conduct the Observation Period
Missouri DWI laws require law enforcement officers to observe the driver continuously for at least 20 minutes before subjecting them to a breath test. Law enforcement officers often leave the driver alone or with another officer to perform other activities. If the attorney can prove that this happened, the breath test results become inadmissible, and the driver will win the case.
Consult with an Experienced St. Louis DWI Attorney Today
The list of tactics a St. Louis, MO DWI attorney can employ to help their clients is much longer and depends on the particularities of each case and the attorney’s experience. Thus, the more experienced an attorney is, the more strategies they can use to defend their client. That is why drivers charged with DWI in Missouri should choose their attorneys based on experience and case records, and not based on fees or other criteria.
If you need an experienced attorney to help you fight DWI charges, contact Hollingshead & Dudley Trial Lawyers now! With relevant court experience and numerous cases won, they can help you win any St. Louis DWI case. The first consultation is FREE, so schedule it now!