For a person facing charges for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated in Missouri, it may seem as though there’s no way to avoid criminal penalties. Loss of a driver’s license, a criminal record, jail time and damage to your livelihood are all potential consequences of DUI/DWI charges.
Due to the severity and potential life-changing impact of these charges, it’s worth considering your criminal defense options to fight the case. There are a few ways to fight a DUI or DWI charge in Missouri, so consider your options before the court settles a case.
Challenge the traffic stop
The first aspect to consider in fighting DUI/DWI charges is to challenge the validity of the traffic stop. In general, a police officer must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing to conduct a traffic stop on suspicion of intoxicated driving.
As an example, an officer cannot watch a person drive away from a bar and pull them over without observing evidence of criminal behavior or erratic driving. If the traffic stop itself was unfounded it becomes invalid in court. A defense attorney can argue that all evidence from the stop is invalid as well.
Challenge the breathalyzer test
Breathalyzers are notoriously temperamental tools and may provide inaccurate readings. If officers fail to maintain and properly use the machine, a false reading could lead to inaccurate criminal charges.
In Missouri, each maintenance for any blood-alcohol readings to hold up in court. Improper maintenance can lead to misleading results, so it’s worth ensuring the technology met state standards at the time of your arrest.
The timing of a breathalyzer can also show differing results depending on when a person last consumer alcohol. A skilled DUI/DWI defense attorney knows how to challenge the validity of these tests to ensure any person charged received a valid reading.
Challenge field sobriety tests
Law enforcement officers must administer field sobriety tests in the same fashion for every suspect. Because of this level of regulation, some drivers may fail tests due to circumstances unrelated to intoxication.
For example, certain disabilities may hinder a person’s performance in a field sobriety test. Balance and focus are the main considerations in a test, but many people struggle with these things completely sober. If a person can prove their performance faltered due to extenuating circumstances unrelated to intoxication, this can help invalidate a field sobriety test result.
Don’t let the possibility of DUI or DWI charges intimidate you from considering your legal options. You are entitled to a fair and accurate legal process, so give yourself the best chance for fighting a case no matter how difficult it may seem right now.