Criminal Justice Attorney Keeping You Out Of Jail And Help You Win Your DUI Case
Johnson Law Firm, PC represents DUI clients with expert-level trial techniques.
DUI DWI Attorney for Gainesville, Virginia
As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), it’s imperative that you have a skilled and experienced attorney on your side to argue your case. We can keep any penalties at a minimum.
Even though it might seem like all the evidence is against you, we urge you not to throw in the towel just yet. Contact the Johnson Law Firm to discuss the details of your situation. We can determine together if you have a valid defense that could potentially result in a case dismissal or reduced charges.
The following are several defense strategies we typically explore. This list is not comprehensive, but it gives an overview of what some of your options are.
Improper Arrest Protocols
The police must follow strict and standardized protocols when making a DUI arrest. This process protects the freedom and rights of our country’s citizens. If there is even one misstep, the court could dismiss the entire case, and the arrest would be invalid.
One of the reasons that Mr. Johnson is such a powerful advocate is that he has undergone advanced training and received certifications in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests from the NHTSA. This certification is the same training that police officers get during their time at the police academy.
Further, Mr. Johnson is also an accredited instructor qualified to teach other officers how to conduct Field Sobriety Tests. This experience means he knows where officers are bound to trip up, and it could spell the winning advantage for your case.
At one glance of the police report, Mr. Johnson will be able to find any potential mistakes. For example, the procedure to administer a breathalyzer test involves waiting 20 minutes under officer supervision. During this time, the suspect cannot put anything in his or her mouth, or even burp. As you can imagine, unless the officer notes this in a report, the evidence is subject to doubt.
For example, if you burped or regurgitated moments before the breathalyzer test, the results may be artificially inflated and could be a reflection of the alcohol in your mouth, not on your breath.
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion for a Traffic Stop
Courts take civil rights violations seriously, and if you’re pulled over without reasonable suspicion, the prosecution’s case could be in jeopardy. Keep in mind that you could get pulled over for a variety of reasons, not just erratic driving, speeding, or swerving. If you have a broken taillight, a burned-out headlight or expired registration, a police officer has a valid reason for making the traffic stop.
However, if an attorney can prove that there was no reasonable suspicion that warranted the stop, then the police would have violated your 4th amendment rights. We can file a motion to suppress the evidence against you.
Faulty Administration of the Field Sobriety Test
Any mistake in how the Field Sobriety Test is administered produces unreliable results. It’s difficult to convict someone without reliable evidence. The number of things that can go wrong with this test is beyond the scope of this brief discussion. But you’d be surprised by the mistakes even the most skilled police offers might make.
The Timing of the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Test & Rising Blood Alcohol
The maximum allowable BAC in all 50 states if 0.08. Anything at that amount or higher automatically qualifies as a DUI. Drivers can still get a DUI for a BAC that’s lower than 0.08 if their driving was impaired.
The law requires that the BAC test be administered within 3 hours of an arrest. There are a couple of reasons for this. One of them has to do with the concept of “rising blood alcohol.” This biological phenomenon is when the blood-alcohol level continues to rise, even after someone stops drinking. This can affect the results of a BAC test. The person might have been below the legal limit when they got pulled over, but if the test is delayed, the results could show as higher.
If the driver’s BAC is close to the legal limit, it is easier to get this case thrown out than it is if the BAC was egregiously high. Still, it’s a tactic worth evaluating.
The equipment used to test your breath, blood, and urine must be calibrated, or at least checked, regularly to ensure accuracy. One possible defense is to prove that the machines weren’t serviced or looked after on a timely schedule. If that’s the case, then their data may not be admissible in court.
Further, officers must turn in the results of a Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test, also known as PAS, regularly to prove that their machines are working and are accurate.
Reduce Charges to Wet Reckless
A wet reckless charge is a lesser charge than a DUI, and it carries less stigma. The consequences are also less severe. Typically, a wet reckless charge allows the driver to keep his or her license, avoid jail, and prevent job loss. It also saves you from having to install the Interlock Ignition Device (IID) on your car.
Some states, including Virginia, have a charge called “wet reckless,” which is categorized as reckless driving that involves alcohol or drugs.
Often, our firm can reduce a charge from DUI to wet reckless if the BAC is near the legal limit of .08. The prosecution might not have enough proof to convict the driver of a DUI confidently.
If there was an accident or injury associated with this charge, however, the wet reckless option is typically not available.
While we can’t guarantee that a DUI charge will be dropped, we can aggressively negotiate on your behalf in the case of a first offense.
Given the increased media attention centered around drunk driving and the strict Virginia laws, this feat is challenging, but not impossible. By working with an experienced legal expert, you have the best chances of this outcome.
Inconsistent Officer Testimony
In addition to any BAC tests, the only other reliable evidence is going to be the testimony of the police officer.
– The time you were driving
– The time of the test
– Details and answers you provide to the officer
If there are any inconsistencies, then it could put the entire testimony into question.
Failure to Maintain Chain of Custody
It sounds like it’s from a television show. But a chain of custody and failure to maintain it can spell defeat for a prosecutor’s case if you’ve had your blood drawn. When evidence is submitted, there needs to be clear documentation proving that it’s from your case and wasn’t tampered with at any moment.
For the chain of custody to be admissible in court, the officer must maintain custody of the blood vial and then book it into evidence under state law. If we can prove that the chain of custody was not maintained, then the amount of evidence left may not be substantial enough for a conviction.
Typos or “Copy & Paste” Mistakes
To save time, an officer might copy the contents of one arrest report and paste it into another to change only pertinent details like gender pronouns and BAC numbers. These timesaving exercises can backfire if the police officer forgets to fill in the details of your specific case.
Attorneys across the country have seen male clients referred to as “she” and BACs that are nowhere close to what was accurate. Once the accuracy of an arrest report is questioned, the entire case lacks legitimacy.
A DWI charge is both serious and expensive. Not only do you temporarily lose your license (or have it restricted), but you also face fines and potential jail time. A DWI conviction can hurt your career, be humiliating, and damage your relationships.
Representation from an experienced DWI lawyer will secure the most favorable outcome for your case. Contact the Johnson Law Firm today for help.