What is DUI/DWI?
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs – DUI/DWI – is one of the more commonly charged crimes in the US. Three items define the offense:
- One must be operating a vehicle on a public road or a way open to the state.
- The prosecution needs to prove the driver had both consumed alcohol and/or drugs.
- The prosecution needs to prove the driver was in control of the vehicle at the time.
Depending on the jurisdiction, the specific criminal offense may be called different things: driving under intense influence, driving while intoxicated, operating while intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, driving under the combined influence of alcohol and/or other drugs, driving under the influence per se, or drunk in charge. Most state laws prohibit operating a motor vehicle with a specific blood alcohol level (BAC). One can be prosecuted under the per se laws, whether they are actually “impaired” or “under the influence of alcohol” or not–merely by having a BAC in excess of .08.
Increasingly common convictions
DUI Penalties resulting in jail time, loss of driving privileges, cancellation of insurance, and lengthy prison sentences are often handed down where the driver has several convictions, or there is an injury in the accident. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is an organization founded to lobby on behalf of stricter penalties for driving under the influence. Sobriety check points are legal in some states. One may be subjected to a portable breathalyzer test on the road and/or a breath test at the police station on the Intoxilyzer 8000. This office suggests taking a blood or breath test if requested. Refusing to do so can be held against the defendant at trial, resulting in a mandatory driver’s license suspension for a significant period of time and/or imprisonment. Currently a driving under the influence conviction in most instances keeps one from entering Canada for a period of five years, or more.
In a DUI investigation, one can be subjected to so-called field sobriety maneuvers (FSTs) approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The tests can include a walk and turn, saying the alphabet, touching your finger to your nose, or standing for an extended period of time on one foot. The performance of those tests is often videotaped, and test performance can significantly affect case defensibility.
DUI is not a charge to be taken lightly
Anything less than the best effort is simply not acceptable when an entire future hangs in the balance. Navigating the process on one’s own can be daunting, overwhelming and seemingly impossible, especially in such an emotional, trying time. When faced with such a high stakes situation, one needs the best possible advantage to bolster chances for success.
Building the strongest case for defense
While DUI cases are time consuming and difficult and it is generally not possible to expunge a DUI conviction, this office has a successful track record in DUI.
Moreover, we are certified in the same Field Sobriety Test course officers must take, before they are sent into the field. So, we know exactly what to look for to prepare our client’s defense.
Accordingly, we look at every angle to build the strongest possible DUI defense and obtain the fairest possible trial. Breath, blood and field sobriety tests may appear concrete, but are often rife with false results. Poorly trained officers administering the tests and improperly calibrated equipment are not uncommon, and provide no reason for a defendant to pay the consequences. Anyone defending themselves against a DUI charge deserves a competent lawyer who can reveal evidence of a faulty breath test, unlawful DUI stop or similar situation to weaken the prosecution.
Montana, medical marijuana and experienced DUI defense
Due to the fact that Montana is now a medical marijuana state, residents have been increasingly subjected to charges of driving under the influence of marijuana, regardless of the amount in their system. Marijuana is quickly becoming the most prevalent illegal drug detected in impaired driving performance, despite that studies show insignificant effects of marijuana on actual driving performance. The lack of scientific correlation studies on impairment related to motor vehicle operation allows in-the-know attorneys like me to present a host of defense options for marijuana DUI cases. Our experience and knowledge in defending persons charged with marijuana DUI and its legal aspects are a distinct asset.