Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense in Louisiana, and those charged with it face severe consequences if they get convicted. However, there are several potential defenses that individuals can explore to challenge these charges.
The effectiveness of these defenses can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
Improper traffic stop
One of the primary defenses against a DWI charge in Louisiana is challenging the legality of the traffic stop. If law enforcement officers did not have a valid reason to pull you over, any evidence obtained thereafter may be inadmissible in court. This defense underscores the importance of knowing your rights during a traffic stop and whether the officer had probable cause to stop you.
Field sobriety tests
Officers often use field sobriety tests to gauge a driver’s impairment level. These tests, however, can be subjective and influenced by various factors such as medical conditions or environmental conditions. A skilled defense may argue that these tests are not a reliable indicator of intoxication.
Breath test accuracy
DWI cases frequently rely on breath test results to determine blood alcohol concentration. These devices are not infallible and require proper calibration and operation. A defense strategy can involve questioning the accuracy of the breath test used, the qualifications of the operator and whether the machine was functioning correctly at the time of the test.
Rising BAC defense
A rising blood alcohol concentration defense suggests that your BAC was below the legal limit at the time you were driving but exceeded it by the time you took the breath test. This can happen when your bloodstream is still absorbing alcohol after you stopped drinking, potentially leading to a false high reading on the breath test.
Certain medical conditions and medications can mimic the symptoms of intoxication. If you have a medical condition or were taking medication that affected your ability to perform field sobriety tests or skewed the breath test results, this can be a valid defense.
Chain of evidence
The chain of evidence matters in any criminal case. If there are gaps or inconsistencies in how authorities collected, stored or handled evidence, a defense may argue tainted or unreliable evidence.
Violation of Miranda rights
In Louisiana, police arrest about 5,500 people per year for DWI. If officers fail to read your Miranda rights or conduct an interrogation improperly, any statements you made during the arrest may not be admissible in court.
This defense underscores the importance of understanding your right to remain silent. Facing a DWI charge is serious, but defendants have several possible defenses to explore.