Unlike some other types of traffic infractions, you can’t just show up to court and hope the officer doesn’t. The case will proceed even if the officer can’t make it that day.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to beat a DWI in court, however. If you believe you were improperly charged with a DWI, an attorney may be able to assist you in employing one of these methods to get the charges dropped.
1) Challenging The Legitimacy Of A Field Sobriety Test
Field sobriety tests are inherently riddled with accuracy problems. In fact, it’s quite possible to fail one without actually being intoxicated!
Your sobriety test consists of two basic components: a test of your motor skills, and a blood alcohol level check (usually using a Breathalyzer). Officers will ask you to follow an object with your eyes as they move it from side to side, walk a line placing your heel in front of each toe as you take a step, and balance on one foot.
A whole range of both physical and mental disabilities can cause a person to fail these physical tests when they aren’t actually impaired, yet have nothing to do with their ability to drive safely. Likewise, anxiety at being in such a stressful situation can impact your ability to perform, especially if you have pre-existing anxiety issues or if the officer is being harsh or intimidating in their manner. Simply being out of shape or having a muscle strain or weakness could also prevent you from walking and balancing properly, as could ill-suited footwear or poor road conditions.
As far as the blood alcohol test goes, these can wind up being inaccurate as well. One major factor here is the metabolizing of alcohol. It is possible that you may have been under the BAC limit at the time you were driving, but went over it temporarily when you were tested. A common scenario where this can happen is if you have a drink, immediately leave in the vehicle, and then get pulled over shortly afterward but asked to sit on the spot a long time before the test is administered. This gives your blood alcohol concentration time to hit its peak, which is generally about an hour after drinking. This can mean the difference between one drink being under the BAC limit or just above it.
2) Conditions That Inflate BAC Readings
There are a wide range of medical conditions that can appear to make your blood alcohol concentration higher than it actually is. These include diabetes, hypoglycemia, heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD.
Even certain diets can artificially inflate your BAC count. For example, if you’re on a diet of extreme carb restriction in an attempt to lose weight. You likely have heard that the purpose of such a diet is to keep the body in a state called “ketosis”, in which it is turning to stored body fat for fuel rather than other sources. When you’re in ketosis, however, you actually produce isopropyl alcohol which is excreted through both your breath and urine.
3) No Probable Cause
It’s possible that a defense lawyer won’t even need to get into challenging the field tests. If the police officer stopped you without a valid suspicion of criminal activity, everything that happened afterward can legally be thrown out the window. It’s not unheard of for officers to profile people for nothing other than “looking like the type,” pulling them over without any real cause and hoping to find something to justify it afterward.
A dismissal is also possible if the arresting officer doesn’t follow proper procedure throughout the arrest. This includes administering the field tests the correct way, filling out their reports properly, and being completely honest in all of their actions.
These are just a few of the options available to you in challenging an improper DWI case in Minnesota. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling DWI defense cases and are highly skilled at analyzing police actions and circumstances for discrepancies. Contact us to learn more, and to set up a complimentary no-obligations consultation.