DWI (Driving While Intoxicated/Impaired)

Each state has its own laws and penalties associated with drunk driving charges, and DWI (which stands for "driving while intoxicated" or "driving while impaired") is the name of this criminal offense in certain states, such as Texas, Missouri and New York.

A driver may face DWI charges if he or she is pulled over for unsafe driving or a traffic violation and the police officer suspects that the driver has been drinking or has drugs in his or her system. The officer will conduct field sobriety tests and may observe the driver and ask him or her questions in order to establish probable cause to make an arrest for DWI. From there, the officer will take the driver into custody. After the driver is arrested, he or she will be asked to submit to a breath or blood test to determine whether he or she has an unlawful blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Depending on the officer's observations, the outcome of field sobriety tests and the results of a breath or blood test, a driver may face DWI charges for having a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater and/or abilities that are impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Challenging DWI Charges

There are a number of factors that may influence the particular severity and type of DWI charges that a driver may face. The age of the driver may be a factor, as drivers under the age of 21 face different laws and penalties when they operate a motor vehicle with virtually any amount of alcohol in their systems. Though the specific circumstances surrounding a DWI case may vary, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Was the driver pulled over for a valid reason?
  • Were field sobriety tests administered properly?
  • Was the breath test device used properly calibrated and maintained?
  • Was there an external factor that may have influenced the driver's performance on field sobriety tests?
  • Was the driver lawfully arrested?
  • Is the arresting officer's testimony reliable?

Was the person who administered the breath/blood test qualified to do so?

These are just a few of the issues that a DWI attorney may look at when determining how to challenge a driver's charges. If you would like to learn more about DWI and your legal rights, as well as how a lawyer can help you, we welcome you to review the information on this site or to use our directory to find a local attorney to handle your case.

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