Police officers who suspect you of committing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense will pull you over to investigate. If an officer is suspicious after a crash, they may order chemical testing even when the other driver is clearly to blame for the wreck.
Whether you encountered police officers because of a collision or as the result of targeted enforcement efforts, a DWI charge could lead to jail time and the loss of your driver’s license. Those facing DWI charges frequently view a failed breath test as an insurmountable obstacle that prevents them from proving their innocence.
However, many DWI defense strategies focus on preventing the prosecutor from including the chemical test results in the evidence they present to the court. What are some of the more common reasons that people exclude breath test results from DWI cases?
Questioning if the stop was appropriate
A police officer needs to have probable cause if they want to stop you. They cannot just pull you over and then try to justify that decision with what they find during the traffic stop.
If you believe that a police officer pulled you over without probable cause, that could be an important part of your defense strategy, as you may be able to exclude the evidence gathered during the traffic stop from court proceedings.
Raising concerns about the specific testing unit
For a chemical breath test to produce accurate results, it needs to have up-to-date software and frequent calibration. A police department’s internal records may show that there are issues with the device maintenance or even the police officer’s training that may have compromised the accuracy of the results.
Challenging the science of chemical breath testing
If there aren’t specific issues with how the police conducted a traffic stop or maintained the testing unit, you may be able to create a reasonable doubt by questioning the science of chemical breath testing. The history of false positives associated with even properly maintained devices is a reason for concern, especially given how many people feel like they must plead guilty to hunting DWI charges because of the possible penalties.
Keeping the prosecutor from using chemical test results could play an important role in your defense against recent DWI charges.