Bad Driving Doesn’t Always Prove Minnesota DWI in Court

When it comes to DWI charges, they almost always start the same way. The driver swerved into another lane, their speed was erratic, or they were riding the line. In short, the first “clue” that police use to justify a DWI charge is bad driving. If the case goes to court, then the prosecution will latch onto said bad driving as a way to make their case stronger. After all, if the driver wasn’t under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then why was he or she driving like that?

This argument seems to make a lot of sense, until you stop and really look at the question. After all, is driving while intoxicated the only explanation for why someone had a patch of bad driving?

Just Because You Did One Thing, Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty of Something Else

You might look like a duck, sound like a duck, and drive like a duck, but none of that, legally, proves that you’re a duck. Put another way, saying that your driving behavior is similar to that of someone who is drunk doesn’t magically put alcohol in your bloodstream. And, while reckless driving is still an offense that you may have to deal with it you blew past stop signs, were speeding, or swerving through several lanes, if you weren’t drunk at the time, then there’s no case for a DWI. Period, end of story, case closed.

So how do you fight against a DWI charge? After all, you’re taking on the criminal justice machine, and trying not to get caught up in the cogs. That’s a scary prospect, but it gets a little less frightening when you have a checklist to go down. The items on your legal defense checklist are:

  • Probably Cause For The Stop: The first thing you need to establish is why you were stopped. Maybe you blew past a stop sign, or ran a red light, or you were speeding. Maybe you were driving under the speed limit. Whatever the reason, you need to make sure the stop was legitimate, otherwise your case might end right there, with the rest of what happened getting dismissed.
  • Question The Breathalyzer Test: While we tend to think of breathalyzer tests as ironclad, they’re anything but. They’re meant to capture alcohol residue from deep in your lungs, but they can often be confused by residual alcohol in your mouth, or if you’ve recently thrown up. Even if your body is cooperating, though, the test has to be properly administered, and the equipment in functioning order. Question those things, too.
  • Question “Field Sobriety Tests”: Field sobriety tests, like when someone has to stand on one foot, or walk a straight line, aren’t really indicative of how sober someone is. Someone who is clumsy, nervous, and who feels intimidated by the presence of a police officer might do just as poorly as someone who’s genuinely drunk. Much like your driving pattern, being unable to stand on one foot and touch your nose is not proof of intoxication.

All bad driving proves is that you were a bad driver, and if that’s what you’re being charged with then you will simply have to accept those consequences. If you’re a bad driver being charged with a crime you didn’t commit (driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs), then you should fight that every step of the way. If you need help proving your innocence, and guidance in the courtroom, then you should contact us today. Our experienced legal professionals will help you stand up for your rights.