There are many different elements to a driving while impaired case that are important. One that is often overlooked to the detriment of the defendant is the use of witnesses.
Most states now have two types of drunk driving cases. One is statutory impaired driving when tests of the defendant reveal a blood alcohol level equal to or over .08. If you blow below .08, however, you can still be charged with a second offense known as a DWI or driving while impaired. This second charge arises when the arresting officer believes that you are too impaired to operate a vehicle notwithstanding your blood alcohol level.
Driving while impaired is a charge based on a subjective analysis by the police officer. He or she must take in your actions during the field sobriety tests and throughout the period of the arrest. The fact the officer might think you are impaired while you do not agree is commonplace in these situations. In court, this translates into a case where the jury or judge must figure out who they believe is more persuasive.
This should make you uncomfortable as a defendant. It leaves the outcome of your case to the ability of a person to testify. Since it is probably your first time in court, you are going to be nervous. That means you are less likely than the arresting officer to be a convincing witness. This is why finding witnesses to testify at the trial can make all the difference.
Witnesses are incredibly important when it comes to propping up a case. Witnesses can fill gaps in the testimony of both the officer and defendant. Witnesses can also independently lay out a timeline of the evening and your actions during it. Most importantly, a witness has no obvious bias whereas a jury knows the officer wants a conviction to verify his arrest and the defendant obviously wants the opposite. This makes witness testimony very valuable.
If you are charged with a DWI, don't just mope. Let your legal team know everything you can remember about who was at the arrest and who might have been watching. It could be the difference between winning the case and going to jail.
Thomas Ajava writes for DUILawyerLeeCounty.com - find a DUI lawyer in Lee County to represent you against aggressive prosecutors.
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