According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1.5 million drivers face arrest for drunk driving each year.
A drunk driving arrest brings serious consequences. These include a criminal record, fines, and jail time. A drunk driving conviction can also lead to higher insurance rates and a suspended license.
The only sure way to avoid these consequences is to avoid driving under the influence. If you’ve already been arrested for DWI, however, all hope is not lost.
In the aftermath of a DWI arrest, your best hope is a proven DWI defense. Consider these six DWI defenses as you and your DWI defense lawyer prepare your case.
Defending Against a DWI Charge
DWI defense strategies can take two main paths. You might choose to mount an affirmative defense. Alternatively, you can choose to challenge the circumstances of your arrest.
Affirmative DWI Defenses
Mounting an affirmative defense is the less common approach. An affirmative defense involves admitting that you were driving while intoxicated while offering a valid explanation to excuse the decision to drive under those circumstances.
Affirmative DWI defenses include:
- Mistake of fact
- Involuntary intoxication
Perhaps someone used a threat of physical violence to force you to drive drunk. You might, in this case, admit to driving under the influence and claim duress.
Perhaps you accepted what you thought was a non-alcoholic drink. If someone else altered that drink without your knowledge, you could claim involuntary intoxication.
Perhaps someone needed medical assistance and you were the only person available to drive. You might admit to driving while intoxicated and claim necessity.
Of course, these circumstances are not extremely common. They can also be difficult to prove in a court of law. Finally, they involve additional considerations.
As you and your DWI defense attorney prepare your case, you’ll need to consider the availability of emergency services and other arguments the prosecution can make against your “reasonable” affirmative defense.
Challenging the Circumstances of the Arrest: 6 Proven DWI Defenses
Most DWI defendants choose to contest the circumstances of the arrest.
This can involve challenging the officer’s observations. It can also involve challenging the procedures he or she followed before, during, and after the arrest. Finally, it can call into question the validity or integrity of the evidence.
An experienced DWI lawyer can help you choose the best DWI defense for your case. The six defenses below are among the most effective options.
1. Improper Stop
Your defense against a DWI charge can begin with the moments before the officer pulled you over.
To stop a driver, an officer must have a valid reason. Valid reasons can include speeding and erratic driving. They can also include vehicle malfunctions, such as an inoperable brake light.
If you can show that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion of a violation, you may be able to contest the resulting DWI arrest.
In fact, any evidence gathered during an improper stop is legally inadmissible in court. Thus, you may be able to get your DWI case dismissed by claiming that the officer had no valid reason to stop you.
2. Improper Field Sobriety Test Procedures
When you are pulled over and an officer suspects you were driving while intoxicated, he or she will conduct a field sobriety test (FST). The FST actually includes three tests:
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)
- The walk-and-turn
- The one-leg stand
The results of these tests are admissible as one piece of evidence in court. However, the arresting officer must follow proper procedure during these tests.
As you and your lawyer prepare your case, it’s important to recall as many details as possible from the traffic stop.
For example, think back to the kind of shoes you were wearing. Did they make walking or balancing difficult? If so, your lawyer may be able to contest the validity of the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand tests.
Your lawyer may also be able to challenge the validity of the HGN test.
During the HGN test, the officer moved a stimulus, like a pen, in front of your face and asked you to follow it. He or she then watched for the involuntary jerking of your eye that occurs when you glance sideways.
While this jerking is normal, it is exaggerated in intoxicated individuals. The prosecution can, thus, use it as evidence in DWI cases.
The NHTSA publishes specific guidelines officers must follow when administering this test. If the officer fails to follow these guidelines, the HGN test is legally inadmissible as evidence.
In a perfect world, police officers would know and follow these procedures in every case. However, the world is not perfect, and police officers are human. They make mistakes. They lack training or forget what they learned. As a result, they can administer the HGN test improperly.
One study found that officers administered more than 90% of HGN tests with improper procedures. It is, therefore, worth discussing this defense with your lawyer.
3. Inaccuracy of Breathalyzer Tests
FST tests rely significantly on the accuracy and impartiality of an officer’s judgment and reporting. Breathalyzer tests are thought to provide more objective and “scientific” evidence of intoxication. Still, breathalyzer tests likewise include the possibility of error.
Police officers – again, human beings capable of making mistakes – conduct breathalyzer tests. If a police officer fails to follow proper procedures when administering the test, the results can be invalid.
Accurate breathalyzer test results also require devices to function properly. This, in turn, requires adequate maintenance and calibration. If the prosecution cannot produce a record of the device’s calibration, your lawyer can contest the results.
Finally, certain circumstances can raise questions about the validity of the breathalyzer test. If you belched, vomited, ate, or smoked in the time before your test, those circumstances could affect the results. Even indigestion can affect a breathalyzer test.
Once again, it’s important to recall as many details of your arrest as possible and share them with your attorney.
4. Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions can interfere with both FSTs and breathalyzer tests.
When making a DWI arrest, an officer’s observations often focus on slurred speech, red or watery eyes, and the smell of alcohol. However, these indications of intoxication can also be symptoms of other physical conditions.
Perhaps your eyes were red or watery because you were tired or crying, or maybe you suffer from allergies. Maybe a neurological condition – or even excessive fatigue – caused your speech to slur.
Finally, even a smell of alcohol can result from other circumstances. When your body experiences ketosis, your breath can smell like you’ve been drinking.
Ketosis is a natural metabolic process. It happens when your body doesn’t have enough energy from carbohydrates. Lacking carbohydrates, your body draws energy by burning fat instead.
Ketosis can be a side effect of diabetes. However, as the keto diet gains popularity, ketosis is becoming more common in otherwise healthy individuals as well.
Keto dieters deliberately deprive their bodies of carbohydrates to induce fat burning. Achieving ketosis is, in fact, the goal for keto dieters.
If you encounter a police officer or are subject to a breathalyzer test when your body is in ketosis, however, your body’s natural process can work against you.
It’s important, therefore, to share physical and medical details with your lawyer. He or she may be able to use these details as part of your defense.
5. Improper Blood Test Procedures
In addition to FSTs and breathalyzer test results, evidence in DWI cases can include blood tests. As with other tests, blood-alcohol analyses must follow proper procedures.
Maybe officials waited an unreasonable amount of time to administer a blood-alcohol test after your arrest. Your lawyer may be able to use that excessive wait time to your benefit.
Your lawyer may also be able to question the training or licensing of the laboratory technician.
Circumstances after the test can also affect the validity of the evidence gathered. All evidence must be stored properly. Proper storage is especially important with evidence that relies on medical or scientific analysis.
Proper procedures protect the integrity of the sample from contamination or fermentation. They also protect you against mislabeled samples and other issues with the chain of custody.
6. Violation of Miranda Rights
The U.S. Constitution protects your rights even and especially when you are suspected of a crime. An arresting officer must clearly and officially inform you that you are under arrest. He or she must also read you your Miranda rights.
A statement of your Miranda rights includes your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can request that the court provide you with one.
Any statements you make after being advised of your Miranda rights can be used against you. If the arresting officer failed to advise you of your rights, however, any evidence subsequently gathered can be dismissed.
Is Defending Yourself Against a DWI Charge Possible? The Evidence Says That It Is!
Facing a DWI charge – and the consequences of a possible conviction – is stressful. With the right information and the support of an experienced attorney, though, you can navigate the proceedings.
As you prepare your case, consider these proven DWI defenses. Discuss them and the details of your case with your attorney. He or she can help you choose the defense that’s best for you.
Once your DWI arrest is in the rearview mirror, you can get back on the open road of life. Our blog has a host of information to help you navigate all the twists and turns of that road.
What to Expect From Your Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a car accident, there are several options to help you through the process. Here is what you should know about car accident lawyers.
Search for car accident lawyers near you by location. Look for a car accident lawyer by location and incident. Check out the yellow pages, telephone books and the Internet to find a car accident lawyer near you.
Car Accident Lawyers
Once you find car accident lawyers, talk with them about your case. They will first take a look at the accident and then talk to you about what happened. The goal of the initial meeting is to get as much information from you as possible, so they can better help you through the process. You can easily find good car accident attorney by using your phone browser with your area name. If you are living in Orange County, California. You can search Orange County car accident lawyers.
Cases on a Contingency Basis
Another thing you should do is to check with a car accident lawyer that you have contacted if they accept cases on a contingency basis. If you win your case, the lawyer will get a percentage of any settlement that you receive.
After talking with a car accident lawyer, contact their contact information. They will be happy to talk with you by phone to discuss your case further.
Filing a Claim
Car accident lawyers are just one part of the process of filing a claim against the other party involved in the accident. There is a medical exam you need to go through as well as the filing of a claim, and it can take months to reach a settlement.
Car Accident Lawyer Can Provide Good Advice
In order to help you with the process, a car accident lawyer can provide advice. They can explain the laws and make sure you understand them. They can also tell you about your rights during a claim and give you advice on how to avoid some pitfalls that might occur during the process.
Legal Advice and Guidance
While you may think that you don’t need car accident lawyers, you may need one down the road. When you start having trouble getting to work, when your kids aren’t going back to school because of stress and even when you’re trying to keep up with your creditors, you need to speak with a car accident lawyer for legal advice and guidance.
In addition to providing you with legal advice, car accident lawyers can also offer other things as well. A car accident lawyer can also provide you with information about your rights to file a lawsuit.
If your car is totaled, they can give you advice on filing a claim with your insurance company. They can help you determine if your car is really worth the amount you owe on it or if it’s simply an insurance mistake.
When looking for car accident lawyers, you can also find out about their rates, fees and insurance coverage. before you pay them anything.
There are some lawyers that do not charge much to meet with you but may charge you for their initial meeting and phone consultations. Others charge nothing until you make a case.
Keep in mind that the most expensive lawyers are going to have the best lawyers. For the most part, a good lawyer will have experience, which means they are less likely to make mistakes or misdiagnose your problem. But you should always check references for any lawyers you are considering.
It’s important to ask about the hours that a car accident lawyer is available for you. They may be available throughout the day, evening or night, but there may be times when they aren’t available at all.
Car accident lawyers should also give you information about how they respond to your case. How quickly they get a claim resolved is a good indicator of how fast they will settle your case.
Good lawyers can give you peace of mind knowing you’ll be compensated for your injuries, damages and loss. Even if you can’t afford a personal injury attorney, you should definitely consider hiring one.
3 Things You Need to Know About Drug Charges
One of the most remarkable developments of the past decade has been the sea change in attitudes toward recreational drug use. After decades of investing money and manpower in the infamous war on drugs, many governments at the regional and national levels have begun to explore alternatives to a zero-tolerance approach.
But even as states and countries move to legalize drugs like cannabis, possession of other substances like cocaine and heroin remains a serious criminal matter with far-reaching consequences. To that end, here are three things you need to know about drug charges.
1. Drug Charges Can Haunt You for Life
It’s an unfortunate truth that under our legal system a few poor decisions made in your teenage or young adult years can end up having tragic consequences. In jurisdictions that have mandatory minimums for drug crime, even simple possession charges can mean facing years in prison.
Even after you’re released, having drug offenses on your permanent record can make you ineligible for certain jobs, and make it harder to find work.
2.Aggravating Factors Can Lead to Stiffer Penalties
While most people understand that being caught with any amount of an illegal substance is a serious issue, what you may not know is that the circumstances in which you were caught can also play a major role in determining your sentencing — and if there are judged to be aggravating factors, can lead to stiffer penalties.
For example, in many places all of the following are considered to be aggravating factors that can automatically add years to a sentence:
- Offenses involving violence or the threat of violence
- Offenses involving an abuse of authority or position
- Offenses that take place in or near school grounds
- Offenses involving youth (particularly selling to youth)
If prosecutors can prove that any of these factors were in play, it can make fighting the charges even harder.
3. Drug Charges Can Be Fought in Court
The good news is that just because you’ve been charged with drug crimes doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted. No matter what circumstances the charges were laid under, you are under no obligation to plead guilty, and should always seek the advice of a lawyer before talking to the police.
In many cases, mitigating factors can shed new light on the case, which is why it is so important to know your criminal rights and make sure you are represented by experienced criminal lawyers who can fight for your acquittal, or get the charge reduced.
Given the seriousness with which the law treats most drug offenses, making sure you explore all avenues in your defence is essential if you want to avoid doing hard time.
While many states, provinces, and countries are opting to liberalize their drug laws, arrests for drug-related offenses remain remarkably high. Being charged with possession or trafficking can still have a devastating impact on your life, leading to a jail sentence and a permanent record.
Fortunately, just because you have been charged does not necessarily mean you will be found guilty. Hiring an experienced criminal lawyer who understands the drug laws of your province or state is the best way to ensure that you will get a fair hearing, and a youthful indiscretion does not end up defining your life.
How to Find the Best Product Liability Attorney to Win Your Case
Did you recently get injured while using a product that you believe to be defective? If so, you could very well have a strong product liability case on your hands.
To determine just how strong it is, you should look for a product liability attorney to take a look at the facts surrounding your case. A product liability lawyer should be able to tell you within just a few minutes whether or not you could potentially win your case in court. They can also break down the intricacies of product liability law for you.
Prior to filing a product liability lawsuit, though, you should make sure you have the right product liability attorney on your side. Here’s how to find one you know you can trust.
See Which Product Liability Lawyers Operate in Your Area
There are well over 1 million lawyers working throughout the country right now. Not all of them are capable of handling product liability cases, but you should be able to find a few that can in your area.
Google “product liability attorney near me” and check out all the different names that pop up. Look at their websites and see what they might bring to the table if you hire them.
It might be a good idea to create a long list of product liability lawyers and then work your way towards narrowing it down based on what you can find out about each one online. It’ll put you in a better position to hire a product liability attorney for your lawsuit.
Find Product Liability Lawyers With Extensive Experience
One of the main factors that you’re going to want to look for when you’re in the market for a product liability attorney is experience. You want someone who has a wealth of experience on your side.
You should be able to ascertain just how much experience a lawyer has by looking at a website like Bloomsburglaw.com. It should give you some indication of how long they’ve been in the business of handling product liability cases.
Speak With Different Product Liability Lawyers and Choose the Best One
You can learn a lot about product liability attorneys by poking around on their websites. But at the end of the day, the best way to determine which one is going to be the right one for you is by contacting a few of them for phone or in-person interviews.
During these interviews, you can spell out the specifics of your case and see what they think about it. You can also ask them any questions you might have about their services. It’ll help you decide which product liability attorney you want to hire.
Hire the Right Product Liability Attorney to Represent You Today
You shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking down at least a few product liability attorneys in your area. But you shouldn’t just hire the first one that you can find.
You should use the tips found here to locate the right product liability attorney for the job. By doing your homework, you should be able to land on someone that you know you can rely on for your product liability case.
Read through the rest of the legal articles on our blog for more tips on hiring an attorney.
Three Things to Look for When Choosing a Truvada Lawyer
If the medication Truvada has seriously impacted your health, you must consult with a lawyer. Every pharmaceutical company must sell medications that are safe and offer sufficient warning about potential side effects. However, the manufacturer of Truvada, which is an HIV medicine, failed in this aspect. Many lawsuits against the manufacturer alleged that the company did not warn doctors and patients of known serious risks.
A Truvada lawyer who handles drug cases can file an injury claim for you to seek compensation against the manufacturer Gilead Sciences, Inc. But, you must pick the right representation to ensure a positive outcome of your case. Here’s what you should look for when choosing a lawyer for your Truvada lawsuit:
Pharmaceutical companies are big corporations and often don’t admit fault when a harmful drug is responsible for serious side effects. These companies usually have big insurance companies on their defense. Such kinds of cases are often complex and involve huge amounts of claims thus, you must have an experienced and skilled attorney on your side to help you get a fair settlement.
You want to work with an attorney who has a solid track record when it comes to claims associated with dangerous drugs. A skilled lawyer will take your case on a contingency basis; thus, they will take all of the risks by getting paid only when they win your case. It will take some research to learn more about a lawyer’s reputation, but it will be worth it.
A reliable Truvada attorney has the proper resources to fully research and handle your Truvada injury case. Aside from determining financial stability, you must know how many class actions or individual lawsuits they are pursuing. You want to be sure they can handle your case efficiently and effectively as much as they do others.
What Kind of Experience do you Need in a Personal Injury Attorney
When you hire the services of a personal injury attorney, consider looking for the best options meeting your specific needs. It would be in your best interest to look for quality services for at affordable price. The cost of hiring the services of the attorney would be important for you. It would not be wrong to suggest that you should look for quality services rather than saving money on the fee of the attorney. The fee of the attorney would be a hamper for most people. However, that should not deter you from hiring the best attorney in the region. The Bayonne Personal Injury Attorney would ensure you get quality services on a contingency basis.
The cost of hiring the services of an injury attorney should not be a deterrent for you. It would be pertinent to mention here that a majority of people would not be aware of the contingency attorney willing to handle your claim on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. It implies that the attorney would not charge anything upfront. It would be a boon for you if the attorney were not charging anything upfront for his legal services. The attorney should not hamper your budget in any way. He or she should be aware of your financial condition. Their willingness to handle your claim on a contingency basis would be a boon for you.
The cost of hiring an attorney would not be a hassle if you were looking forward to hiring a contingency attorney. However, the contingency attorney should be competent and experienced in handling various kinds of injury claims in the best possible way. The attorney should be able to handle all kinds of claims not only through negotiations, but also through the court of law. The attorney should have adequate experience in dealing with the insurance company lawyers in the court of law.
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