If you’ve been charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI), your freedom isn’t the only thing that’s at stake. Even if your record is otherwise clean, a conviction could result in up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, and a license suspension of up to two years.
Fortunately, just because you’re facing OWI charges doesn’t mean a conviction is inevitable. There are many potential defense strategies that may apply to these cases. Below is a brief overview of three such defenses:
Unless you were arrested at a sobriety checkpoint, the police must have had reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop your vehicle. If the arresting officer did not have cause but stopped your vehicle regardless, any evidence he or she gathered after the stop might be thrown out.
Such evidence may include the results of chemical tests, which are often necessary for the prosecutor to secure a conviction.
Breathalyzer devices can and do malfunction. If the breathalyzer test that led to the arrest may have been inaccurate, the results might not be admissible as evidence in court.
Your attorney can review the officer’s procedure for administering the test step by step, starting with the device’s calibration. Your lawyer may also consider factors that could have led to an incorrect reading, such as certain health conditions.
If you consented to field sobriety tests, it may be possible to challenge these results as well. FSTs are highly subjective, and if the officer deviated from the standard administration procedure even minorly, the results might not be reliable.
Even if the breath test is thrown out due to a procedural error, the prosecutor may still be able to secure a conviction based on other evidence such as the content of the police report. This report should discuss any observations the officer made that indicate you were intoxicated, but it may be possible for your attorney to challenge the legitimacy of those observations. For example, if the officer noted that you had bloodshot eyes but you have allergies, your medical records might serve as evidence to dispute the police report.
At Ball Eggleston, we know what’s at stake for people who are facing OWI charges. The outcome of your case could have a major impact on your future. Depending on the facts surrounding your case, there may be a defense that leads to reduced charges, lesser penalties, or the outright dismissal of your case. Call (765) 742-9046 or use our online contact form to set up a free case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer in Lafayette.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
Ball Eggleston—a Lafayette, Indiana law firm—is located at 201 Main Street, Suite 810 P.O. Box 1535 Lafayette, IN 47902. Contact Ball Eggleston by phone at (765) 742-9046, by fax at (765) 742-1966, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information, find Ball Eggleston online at www.ball-law.com.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.