If you’re arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI), there are often ways of contesting the charge and avoiding the harsh penalties of a conviction.
One of the first things to examine is if the police did anything wrong. Here are some areas to consider.
Did they breach your rights during the stop and arrest?
Have you ever wondered why the police don’t just sit outside bars to catch people drinking and driving? It’s because they’re generally not allowed to. They can’t just assume that anyone leaving a bar might be over the limit, just as they can’t assume that anyone going into a jewelry shop is looking to steal something.
The U.S. Constitution protects people’s right to go about their daily life without getting stopped by the police all the time. If the officers did not meet the necessary criteria to justify stopping or testing you, a court should throw out the case.
Did they perform sobriety tests incorrectly?
It’s difficult (but not impossible) to administer a breath test incorrectly. However, failures to maintain the equipment and ensure that it is calibrated correctly and on schedule could cause the machine to read too high.
Field sobriety tests carry much more room for error. You need to look at whether the police used standard tests or their own variations and whether they issued clear instructions and made accurate assessments of our performance.
Did they or others mix up evidence?
If you took a blood test, it’s always possible that a positive sample is not yours. Clear labeling and storage are crucial to avoid mix-ups.
Getting legal help will be crucial to helping ensure that these things are looked at and that you’re aware of your defense options if you are facing OWI charges.