Being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be frustrating,
but it is by no means an insurmountable obstacle. If you know your rights
ahead of your arrest, you can improve your chances of beating your DWI
charge in court. It is important to note, however, that every DWI is different
and the advice in this blog is not meant to replace the experienced counsel
of a dedicated
criminal defense attorney. If you should ever find yourself pulled over for a DWI in Missouri,
it is imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
What Should I Say to the Police?
The short answer: say almost nothing. Most traffic stops are now recorded
by dash cams, providing a video and audio record of exactly what happened
when you were pulled over. Anything that you say can be used against you
in court, and officers know this. Outside of providing your name, address,
and basic information, don’t say anything that can incriminate you.
Police officers may try to steer the conversation in a direction that
will cause you to say something you will later regret. Be polite, but
respond to almost any question with “I am exercising my Fifth Amendment
rights and would like to speak to my lawyer.”
Should I Consent to a Chemical Test?
If you are arrested for a DWI in Missouri, the rules of “implied
consent” require you to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test
to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). This test can be refused,
though it will come with an immediate one-year suspension of your license
and mandatory completion of a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP).
As a general rule, it is usually not a good idea to refuse a test. A DWI
lawyer can challenge the results of a chemical test by raising several
questions surrounding the reliability of test results. Breathalyzer machines
can sometimes be faulty or used improperly, generating false readings.
Examining the calibration history and the circumstances surrounding the
administration of the test can sometimes expose an opportunity for a strategic defense.
What Defenses Can Be Used?
There are several defenses that can be employed to combat a DWI charge.
The circumstances surrounding your traffic stop can be examined. If you
were pulled over without the officer having “probable cause,”
or a reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence, the
evidence against you can be deemed inadmissible in court.
The officer’s impression that you were intoxicated can also be disputed.
Usually, officers will cite telltale signs such as bloodshot eyes, odor
of alcohol, and slurred speech, though these can be disproved if you are
able to provide evidence that they were the result of some other reason,
such as allergies or the use of mouthwash.
Who Should I Call?
If you have been pulled over or arrested for a DWI in Missouri, you should
call a Springfield DWI lawyer from Worsham Law Firm immediately at
(417) 658-4172. With more than 20 years of experience, our dedicated legal professionals
can defend you against your charges and improve your chances of reaching
a desirable outcome. Request a
free case evaluation today!