FOR LAWYERS

Defending Yourself Against a DUI/DWI Charge

By
Daisy Rogozinsky
/
May 28, 2023
Last reviewed by
Joanna Smykowski, Esq.
/
June 4, 2023

Facing a DUI/DWI charge can be a serious and overwhelming experience. A conviction can result in severe consequences, including fines, jail time, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education classes. To avoid these consequences, it’s crucial to understand the legal defenses available, hire an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney, and prepare for trial. 

This legal guide will explore various defense strategies, the importance of hiring an attorney, and how to prepare for trial. By taking these steps, individuals can protect their legal rights, minimize the potential consequences of a conviction, and keep themselves and others safe on the road.

Understanding DUI/DWI Charges

A DUI/DWI charge is a serious offense that involves driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Each state has its own legal definition of DUI/DWI, but in general, it involves driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. When it comes to drugs, you can get charged for driving while impaired in all states. State laws differ on what threshold qualifies as impaired.

To establish a DUI/DWI charge, prosecutors must prove several elements, including that the defendant was driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and that the defendant's BAC was above the legal limit at the time of the offense. Additionally, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was impaired to the extent that they could not operate their vehicle safely.

The penalties for a DUI/DWI conviction can be severe and may include fines, jail time, license suspension, and mandatory alcohol education classes. The severity of the penalties can depend on a variety of factors, such as the defendant's BAC level, whether they caused an accident or injury, and whether they have prior DUI/DWI convictions.

DUI/DWI Defense Strategies

A DUI/DWI charge is not an automatic conviction. Several possible defense strategies can be used to fight a DUI/DWI charge. These include:

  • Lack of probable cause - This defense challenges the lack of probable cause for the traffic stop that led to the DUI/DWI arrest.
  • Field sobriety test errors - This defense challenges the results of field sobriety tests, which are subjective and can be affected by various factors.
  • Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) testing errors - This defense challenges the accuracy of BAC testing results due to errors in administration, calibration, or maintenance of the testing equipment.
  • Necessity defense - This defense argues that the defendant had no choice but to commit the crime due to the circumstances they were in.
  • Duress defense - This defense argues that the defendant was forced or coerced into committing the crime by another person or circumstance so as to avoid death or injury to themselves.Entrapment defense - This defense argues that the defendant was induced by law enforcement to commit a crime that they would not have committed otherwise. In a DUI/DWI case, it would mean the officer encouraged the driver to operate a vehicle while intoxicated.
  • Mistake of fact defense - This defense argues that the defendant made an honest mistake about the facts that led to the DUI/DWI charge, by believing that they were no longer intoxicated. An example of this is if the driver is impaired by a prescription medication that they thought had worn off.
  • Involuntary intoxication defense - This defense argues that the defendant ingested drugs or alcohol unknowingly or without their consent.

The best defense strategy for your case depends on the facts surrounding your charge and the state laws where you are located.

Hiring an Attorney

Defending a DUI/DWI charge can be complex and overwhelming, especially for those who have never been through the legal system before. Hiring an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney is crucial for building a strong defense and navigating the legal process.

A DUI/DWI defense attorney can help defendants understand their legal rights and options, advise them on the best course of action, and represent them in court. They can also investigate the circumstances surrounding the DUI/DWI arrest and identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution's case.

When looking for a DUI/DWI defense attorney, it’s important to choose someone with a strong track record of success in defending DUI/DWI cases. The attorney should have experience handling cases similar to the defendant's, be knowledgeable about the local court system and laws, and be willing to fight for the defendant's rights. Don't shy away from asking these questions when consulting with your attorney.

Working with a DUI/DWI defense attorney can help defendants achieve the best possible outcome for their case, whether that is a reduced charge, a dismissed case, or a favorable plea bargain.

Preparing for Trial

Defendants should work closely with their DUI/DWI defense attorney to prepare for trial and understand what to expect.

During a DUI/DWI trial, the prosecution will present evidence and witnesses to argue that the defendant is guilty of driving under the influence. The defense will have the opportunity to present their own evidence and witnesses to challenge the prosecution's case.

To prepare for trial, defendants should gather all relevant evidence, including police reports, witness statements, and any other documentation related to the case. They should also prepare a list of potential witnesses who can testify on their behalf and work with their attorney to develop a defense strategy.

Defendants should also be prepared to testify in court, if necessary, and should work with their attorney to prepare for cross-examination by the prosecution.

In addition to preparing for trial, defendants should also be aware of possible plea bargain options. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the prosecution may be willing to offer a reduced charge or sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Defendants should discuss all plea bargain options with their attorney and consider the potential risks and benefits before making a decision.

Conclusion

Defending a DUI/DWI charge can be a daunting and complex process. However, by understanding the legal defenses available and hiring an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney, individuals can protect their legal rights and minimize the potential consequences of a conviction.

If you or someone you know is facing a DUI/DWI charge, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney, you can build a strong defense, navigate the legal system, and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Ask a Lawyer

Ask your own question and get advice from expert attorneys
Ask Question

Featured DUI Law Lawyers

The Thompson Law Firm, LLC

41 years in practice
Adoption, Birth Injury, Child Custody, Child Support, Criminal Defense
View Profile

Schultz Law Firm, LLC

17 years in practice
Criminal Defense, Domestic Violence, DUI Law
View Profile

Strom Law Firm, LLC

27 years in practice
Criminal Defense, Domestic Violence, DUI Law
View Profile

Richardson Law Firm P.C.

12 years in practice
Hair Relaxers Lawsuit, Mass Tort, Personal Injury, Rideshare Lawsuits, Tepezza Lawsuit
View Profile

Adam Rieth - Injury Attorney

10 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Brain Injury, Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury, Truck Accidents
View Profile

Vanguard Attorneys

12 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury, Truck Accidents, Wrongful Death
View Profile

Contact AttorneyAtLaw.com

Are you looking for an attorney? Do you have questions about a legal case you are facing? Contact us now and we will put you in touch with a lawyer for free.
Attorney At Law is changing how clients connect with lawyers. By providing an innovative platform to lawyers who want to expand their practice’s reach, AAL is bringing law practices into the future.
6142 Innovation Way
Carlsbad, California 92009
Some of the content of this website may be considered attorney advertising under the rules of certain jurisdictions. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
crossmenuchevron-upchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram