man taking breathalyzer test - DWI defenses

Common Defenses Against a DWI Charge

Every day thousands of people are pulled over for suspected driving while under the influence (DWI) scenarios. Unfortunately, many of the accused believe officers have them “dead to rights” because they submitted to a breathalyzer test or they “confessed” to drinking and driving.

However, that’s simply not true.

In this blog post, Smith & Vinson will share with you some of the most common defense against DWI charges.

Probable Cause

Probable cause is a rule officer must follow when performing traffic stops. Probable cause is defined as “objective suspicion” that proves the necessity of the stop. If cops do not establish probable cause to pull over a driver, then the legality of the traffic stop is called into question.

Examples of probable cause in DWI scenarios include:

  • Driver swerving;
  • Driver speeding;
  • Driver fails to use headlights;
  • Driver fails to use turn signals.

The Texas criminal justice system takes probable cause seriously, but just how seriously? Well, DUI checkpoints were banned in Texas because police can randomly pull over drivers at checkpoints rather than using objective suspicion that falls in line with probable cause. Therefore, you could say that Texas sees probable cause as crucial for the health of its citizens.

Now that we’ve covered probable cause let’s look at another aspect of DWI cases: an officer’s testimony.

Questioning Police Testimony

We all make mistakes, but for some reason people seem to think police are never wrong. Fortunately, all it takes is a quick Google search to prove that that’s not the case.

Despite the fallibility of officers, many DUI cases weigh heavily on their testimonies. Some traffic stops occur late at night when no one else is around, which means some DWI scenarios become a “he-said-she-said” situation.

Unfortunately, officers don’t always get the facts straight, which can cause innocent people to be accused of crimes they didn’t commit.

As experienced DWI attorneys, we test the authority of an officer’s testimony given the facts. We don’t assume the officer’s story is how it happened; we make sure that his or her story is put under the microscope for inconsistencies; after all, no one deserves to be put in jail because a cop thought they smelled like alcohol.

Moving on from human errors, let’s now talk about testing errors.

The accuracy of Test Results

If you submitted to a breathalyzer test, you might think the evidence against you is conclusive; but that’s not true. There are many reasons why a breathalyzer test would read inaccurately, but we will home in on just a couple of them.

Close Calls

When someone tests with a blood alcohol content (BAC) close to the 0.08% mark, it makes the accuracy of the test findings that much more important. However, there are a variety of factors that can “tip the scales” of a positive breathalyzer test, and some of them have nothing to do with BAC!

Some factors that can impact breathalyzers include:

  • Electrical interference;
  • Blood composition;
  • Body temperature;
  • Presence of other simple chemical compounds;
  • Acid reflux;
  • Fluids in the mouth;
  • Mouthwash.

Anyone of these presenting factors could arguably be the cause of someone going from the legal limit to over the legal limit.

Need Representation for Your Case?

We hope this blog post helps you see that DWI cases aren’t as straightforward as you may have thought previously. If you or a loved one is charged with a DUI, our firm can help! We offer free consultations, which means there is no reason to plead guilty before talking to us!

Call (512) 359-3743 now for a free consultation for your case!