How Does A DWI Criminal Lawyer Make A Difference In Court?

When someone has been charged with DWI, a criminal lawyer may be the only person who can keep the accused from serving jail time. In Texas, even the first offense can lead to jail time, and if convicted a third time, the arrested person can spend years in prison. That’s in addition to the thousands in fees and loss of license, so these are serious penalties to consider. Some people can avoid spending time in jail with the help of an experienced legal representative on their side, and sometimes it’s possible to get the charges thrown out altogether. Police officers are just as capable of making mistakes in their testimony as anyone else, and some officers have been known to manufacture false testimony or violate procedures when arresting someone. An attorney will work to uncover these weak spots in the prosecution’s case.

What can an attorney do for someone charged with DWI?

A criminal lawyer is both a guide and an advocate for the accused, determining the best approach and communicating it to the court. Depending on the available evidence, an attorney may argue for their client’s innocence outright, or push for reduced or alternative sentencing, based on the case’s individual circumstances.

There are a handful of common defenses, and they typically focus on the officer’s testimony or handling of the accused. For example, if someone is impaired because they took sleeping medication before driving, they may appear to be under the influence of alcohol. The officer may even put the driver through a field sobriety test, which a person impaired by sleep medication could certainly fail. However, it is up to the officer to rule out other factors that could lead to impairment, such as a physical limitation. Unfortunately, many officers are too aggressive or inattentive to find the cause and arrest an innocent person in the process.

Officers must have probable cause when they pull someone over before they can arrest them for DWI. A criminal lawyer often challenges when police have this probable cause because a hunch is not enough. For instance, if an officer finds someone in a parked car who is inebriated, it may seem suspicious, but unless the driver is operating the vehicle and posing a danger, they cannot be charged with intoxicated driving. Police may pull someone over under false pretenses in an attempt to find anything, and may arrest the driver even if they do not pose a threat on the road. Witness testimony on the driver’s side can often create enough doubt to reduce sentencing, or get a case thrown out altogether.

A local attorney can provide some strategic advantages as well. With experience in local courts, an attorney will know which officers are prone to making improper arrests, as well as which officers are more likely to produce false testimony. They will also have knowledge of previous case law in the relevant court, which will help determine what kind of negotiation power the defense will have.

Hiring a defense attorney immediately following an arrest can give the defendant additional options for avoiding penalties and ensure they aren’t taken advantage of during the legal process.

This article was published on Monday 09 November, 2015.

Back to main topic: Criminal Law