If you have been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), it's easy to think you don't have any options. The police officer took a breathalyzer test soon after they stopped you. Or maybe they took a blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
But just because you were stopped and charged with DWI doesn't mean you will automatically be convicted of driving under the influence. There are many circumstances in which DWI cases get thrown out of court. That's why it's important to fully understand your legal options.
DWI criminal defense attorney Amanda Webb and her legal team at The Webb Firm, P.C. in Conroe, Texas are familiar with the reasons why DWI cases are thrown out of court. Below, you can learn more about some of the reasons why. We also strongly encourage you to contact our firm since each case often has its own, unique circumstances. No two DWI cases are exactly alike.
What are some of the reasons why DWI cases are thrown out of court?
There are many reasons why DWI charges are thrown out of court and charges are dismissed. Some of the most common reasons include:
- The traffic stop was not valid – Police officers need to have a reason to stop someone on the road. Specifically, they need to have a “reasonable suspicion” that you are under the influence of alcohol or appear to be violating the rules of the road. If the police cannot properly demonstrate why they stopped you, any evidence obtained during your traffic stop may be inadmissible in court, including any breathalyzer or field sobriety test results.
- The field sobriety test was not valid – Some police departments ask people stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated to take a field sobriety test (FST). Such roadside tests include a one-leg stand (OLS), the walk and turn test (WAT) and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). However, such test results are often thrown out of court for many different reasons, including:
- The lighting conditions were too dark and caused the driver to make mistakes.
- The pavement surface was uneven and the driver reasonably lost their balance.
- The driver was not wearing the proper footwear, including sandals.
- The police officer did not properly explain the test before administering it.
- Chemical tests were not done properly – Police officers need to follow very strict rules and guidelines when administering chemical tests to determine if someone is legally intoxicated. Such tests often include breathalyzer tests, urine tests and blood tests. When mistakes are made, the test results may not be accurate and should be thrown out of court.
- Test samples were not stored properly – Test samples from BAC blood tests, urine tests and breathalyzer tests need to be stored properly in a temperature-controlled environment. Otherwise, the samples can become contaminated and may affect test results based on improperly stored samples.
- Questions about who was driving – This situation happens more often than many people might realize. If a police officer arrives at the scene of a solo car accident and it's not clear who was driving, the officer cannot simply assume who was driving the car. Just because you own the car, for example, doesn't mean you were the driver. And unless police can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you were driving the car, your DWI case may be dismissed in court.
If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas, don't simply assume that you will be convicted of DWI. Learn more about your legal options and schedule a free consultation with one of our Montgomery County DWI defense attorneys at our law firm. Contact us to schedule an appointment.