I was initially stopped for my head lights being out. I was traveling in a well lit area, with inside lights that are always on, I could see well enough, so I forgot about the headlights. (bad habit of mine) My BAC tests were .16. I have had a prior DWI conviction at the age of 19. Since then I have had a child, have a good job, and am attending full time RN classes. I dont know if my case is anything more than cut and dry, and if it worth my time to hire an attorney. I would just like to stay out of jail on account of my child.
Before making any decisions you should consult with an experienced DWI attorney. There are many good ones here on AVVO. Give one a call. Keep in mind that your time frame for contesting a license revocation and plate impoundment is 30 days from receiving those notices. Good luck.
Everyone arrested for DWI should at least fight the DWI criminal charge and the administrative revocation of drivers license. A second alcohol-related incident (either of those) within ten years of a prior, triggers a minimum 30 day jail term. (You were 19, but didn't say whether that was ten years ago or more.) With a DWI defense lawyers help, you may be able to minimize or avoid jail time, minimize or prevent loss of drivers license, prevent a new alcohol-related incident from going on your drivers license record, prevent another criminal conviction, among other things. Worth it? Yes, if you retain a good DWI defender.
Yes. An experienced DWI defense attorney will help you take some proactive steps to make sure you're getting the possible deal both in the criminal court and as it relates to your driver's license. Your attorney will also carefully review your case to find mistakes that law enforcement might have made that may be to your benefit. Keep in mind that there are strict time limits for challenging certain aspects of your case. Call a lawyer.
A first offense DWI i still a serious offense. As a result, it is ALWAYS wise to have counsel. At a minimum, it is a fourth degree offense. A fourth degree offense is a misdemeanor which carries with it maximum possible penalties of 90 days in jail and a $1 ,000 fine. As a result, it is important to present an aggressive defense. It is also important to know and understand the Judge's and their proclivities in your county.
A DWI is not only a criminal case, it has a civil element as well. There is a license revocation related to a DWI that is a case entirely separate from the criminal matter. Nothing in the criminal matter will change the license revocation which occurs automatically unless you seek a judicial review of that revocation. This MUST occur within 30 days after you were ticketed. Any failure to seek a judicial review results in the license revocation and a record that indicates a new alcohol related offense that can be used to make any subsequent DWI a greater crime. In that judicial review, the challenges are the same as those made in the criminal case. The revocation periods and procedures for reinstatement have become much more difficult in the last decade. A first offense within 10 years and a blood alcohol concentration below .16 has a revocation period of 30 to 90 days . WIth a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or higher, you face having an alcohol interlock device in your vehicle for one year.
There are many challenges to a DWI. The defenses depend on the particular set of facts in each case. That means a detailed review of all evidence, including police reports, police videos, audio recordings and testing records related to blood alcohol levels is imperative. Often, hidden defenses are found through a thorough review of all evidence.
Additionally, as part of any DWI arrest, the Officers must follow very specific steps as part of the arrest. If any one step is missing, the case may be dismissed.
Other points of a defense analysis include:
· Reasonable Suspicion. The officer must have reasonable suspicion to believe a specific crime has been committed in order to stop a person. If that reasonable suspicion is lacking the stop and the ticket may be invalid;
· Probable Cause to arrest and charge. The officer must make sufficient observations to form a basis for probable cause to believe that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Oftentimes, officers perform field sobriety tests incorrectly making the arrest invalid;
· Procedures at the Station. The officer must follow very specific procedures at the station including reading and recording an Implied Consent Advisory that informs you that you have a right to a lawyer. If any of the steps are omitted, the charges may be dismissed;
· Test Procedures. Testing methods to determine blood alcohol concentrations are imperfect at best. Like any scientific method, any test result has a margin of error. If the machinery is not properly maintained and even if it is properly maintained, the test results may vary from true Blood Alcohol Concentration. A sufficient variation may result in a reduce charge or no charge.
Only you can answer whether it would be worth your time; however, with that being said, your chances of a more favorable resolution will certainly increase with an attorney. This doesn't mean an attorney can waive a magic wand and make the case go away. What it does mean is an attorney can thoroughly review your case to see if there are an defenses, or if there is a chance to get some evidence excluded. The law governing DWI cases is always evolving, thus even cases that may seem "cut and dry" could possibly be defended vigorously.
Also, if a plea is in your best interest, than an attorney can negotiate the best possible resolution. The fact that you have a prior may be something the prosecutor takes into account when giving an offer. An attorney can help by providing mitigating evidence to the prosecutor to lower his/her initial offer. Also, an attorney is aware of the many "jail alternatives" that may be available (if the prosecutor doesn't come off jail).
I hope you find this information helpful, and I wish you the best of luck.
No DWI case is ever cut and dry. You should talk to a lawyer so that you can better understand your options. DWIs have a lot of collateral consequences an effect your driver’s license, your ability to go to Canada, and may affect your application for a nursing license. It never hurts to talk to a lawyer and make sure you understand all your options.
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