Getting convicted for DWI/DUI can have serious consequences for your life. At one end of the spectrum, you may receive the level 5 punishment, i.e. the most lenient level of punishment. Even with the level 5 punishment, you will lose your driver.s license for at least one year. You will have to either perform 24 hours of community service or serve a 24 hour jail sentence, on top of having to pay a court cost and fines. With the level 5 punishment, however, you are likely to be eligible for limited driving privileges, which allow you to drive to and from your place of employment.
At the other end of the spectrum, you may receive the level 1 punishment, i.e. the most severe level of punishment. This happens most commonly where the following two conditions are in place: the defendant had another DWI conviction within seven years of the current conviction, and (ii) at the time of the current DWI offense, the defendant.s license was revoked due to his/her previous DWI conviction. If you receive a level 5 punishment, you are required to serve at least 30 days in jail, and you will not be eligible for a limited driving privilege.
In a consultation with a client regarding a DWI charge, the first thing I determine is whether the case can be taken to trial for a successful outcome. There are several issues of high importance that an experienced lawyer can explore to help beat a DWI charge:
- Did the police have a reasonable suspicion to make the traffic stop, as required by law? (Supposed that the police stopped a motorist simply because she left a bar late in the evening. Without some more indicia of bad driving on the part of the motorist, this alone will not give the police a reasonable suspicion to make a legal traffic stop.)
- Can the State prove that you were operating a vehicle? (relevant fact pattern: Suppose that you decide to let your sober friend drive your vehicle because you.ve had a few drinks at a local bar. Your friend, nevertheless, loses control of the vehicle for some reason, and you and your friend are involved in a wreck. The police may charge YOU with a DWI charge because the vehicle is registered to you and they smell alcohol on your breath.)
- Can the State prove that you had alcohol in your system at the time when you were operating a vehicle? (relevant fact pattern: Suppose that you are involved in a wreck. You get home in one way or the other. You are upset and have a few drinks. The police knock on your door. They smell the odor of alcohol on your breath as you answer their questions about the wreck you were involved in. The police may arrest you for DWI under these circumstances, even though you consumed alcohol after you got home.)
- Can the State prove that you were appreciably impaired? (Suppose that your bodily alcohol concentration was 0.08 or lower. Suppose that you did well on the field sobriety tests. Under such circumstances, I will be able to argue to the court that the State is not in a position to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were appreciably impaired within the meaning of the law.)
- Does the State have sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt? (relevant fact pattern: Suppose that you have refused to submit to the intoxilyzer test for one reason or the other. In such a case, you will lose your driver.s license for one year regardless of whether you are guilty of DWI or not. On the other hand, I will be able to argue to the court that the State has no evidence to show what your bodily alcohol concentration was at the time.)
Most people are upset, confused, and even despondent when they are charged with DWI. Absolutely the worst thing you can do under such circumstances is try to handle it yourself. While not every DWI case can be won in trial, an experienced DWI attorney like myself can analyze your fact pattern and help locate those key issues that can turn your case from a loser to a winner. At the Castle Law Firm, consultations are free. Give us a call or Email Us for a free consultation!