There are various reasons a police officer can suspect you of drunk driving. An officer can pull you over for speeding, swerving or running a traffic light. If they have reason to believe you were operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance, they can arrest you and charge you with an OWI. However, this does not necessarily mean the arrest will lead to a conviction. You have the right to challenge the OWI charges.
How can you challenge the charges?
An arresting officer must follow strict protocol before taking you to the police station. Remember, they are arresting you on suspicion of drunk driving; they have yet to obtain proof. Here are ways you can challenge the arrest:
- The police officer did not adhere to the specific rules and proper procedure when they pulled you over. Did they have probable cause to arrest you, or did they arrest you because of bias? Did they read you your Miranda rights before interrogating you? Stressing an officer’s errors can significantly help your defense.
- The field sobriety tests were unreliable. The surface where you did the tests may have been slippery or uneven. What were the weather conditions at the time you performed the tests? Strong wind and rain can affect a person’s balance and ability to focus.
- Chemical tests are not always accurate. If an officer asks you to complete a blood, breath or urine test and the specimen indicates a blood alcohol content of .08% or more, it is above the legal limit. However, it still does not signify an automatic conviction. The person who conducted the chemical tests may not have followed proper testing methods. They could have inappropriately supervised your samples. The machine used for chemical testing may have been faulty.
If there is reason to doubt the evidence the prosecutor has presented against you, this can be inadmissible in court. The prosecutor may have to drop the charges since no substantial evidence or proof exists.
Fight your first OWI charge
If it is the first time an officer has arrested and charged you with an OWI, you have even more reason to fight the charges. Your first OWI conviction will go on your permanent public record. In Iowa, the penalties worsen each time you repeat an OWI offense, so do not let this one count. Human error should not be the reason for your conviction.