Everyone who is arrested and then charged with a crime has the right to an assumption of innocence. People in the United States are presumably innocent until they plead guilty or get convicted of a criminal offense in a court of law. Despite that presumption of innocence, many people accused of criminal acts feel as though they have no means of defending against the charges they’re facing.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Texas result in a very high rate of defendants pleading guilty. It is common for people to assume that if the state has field sobriety tests or chemical breath test records there will be no way for them to mount a successful defense. Even those who insist that their tests were wrong will often plead guilty in the hopes of reducing the penalties they’ll face post-conviction. What many DWI defendants don’t realize is that there are several strategies that people can and do use to successfully fight back against DWI charges in Texas.
Raising questions about the accuracy of the evidence
There is a growing body of scientific literature raising questions about chemical breath testing. There are multiple factors that can lead to inaccurate test results. Someone’s diet and medications or even undiagnosed health issues might lead to them failing a breath test and not understanding why. When the only compelling evidence that the state has is a failed breath test, then a driver may be in a good position to defend against their charges by questioning the accuracy of the test results.
Pushing back against the traffic stop
Texas has multiple laws and important court rulings that limit the authority of law enforcement officers. For example, Texas is one of a minority of states that does not allow sobriety checkpoints or DWI roadblocks. However, officers can sometimes without much justification, and may end up arresting them. When drivers have reason to question the legality of a traffic stop, they could raise questions about the officer’s justification for stopping and detaining them. If the courts agree that the officer violated the law or someone’s rights, that could lead to the state being unable to use any of the evidence collected during the traffic stop at trial.
Although pleading guilty may be the fastest solution to DWI charges, it leaves someone at the mercy of the judge who is sentencing their case and will also lead to a lasting criminal record. Learning more about how other people fight back against DWI charges might help someone who has been recently arrested to more thoroughly consider their options before entering a plea.