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DUI/DWI Defense: Protecting Your Driving Privileges And Freedom

A wine glass with a car in it

Data released by the reputable National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that, on average, 1.5 million people are arrested for a DUI annually. Unfortunately, the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be serious. 

Should you have been arrested for a DUI or DWI recently, you’re likely concerned about your future and are wondering how to resolve the situation and fight the charge. By speaking with a 


St Louis DUI or DWI attorney at Bruntrager & Billings, P.C., you could formulate a strong defense and persuade the prosecution to drop or reduce the charges against you. 

In our article, we’ve discussed how you can protect your driving privileges and freedom by detailing a few of the common DUI/DWI defenses. 


What Are The Two Types Of DUI/DWI Charges? 

Before you can learn more about the available defenses to DUI and DWI charges, you need to know more about the two types of DUI and DWI charges. 

These are ‘per se’ charges and charges based on impairment, and an individual could be charged with one or both for a single incident and be found guilty of one or both. Yet, how is each charge differentiated? Look below to learn more:

  • Per se: You can be convicted of a per se DUI or DWI if you had a .08 percent or more blood alcohol level. 
  • Impairment: To be convicted of an impairment DUI or DWI charge, it must be proven that you were actually under the influence or intoxicated by the substances presumed to be ingested. 

Since these charges can be tricky to understand, it’s usually best to consult a DUI or DWI attorney. 


What Are Four DUI/DWI Defenses That Can Help Protect Your Freedom And Driving Privileges? 

Although there are more than three DUI/DWI defenses you can use, we’ve listed three of the best that could help protect your freedom and driving privileges in St Louis, Missouri. 

A Police Officer Failed To Disclose Your Miranda Warnings


In some instances, Miranda warnings can play a role in DUI cases. For example, a police officer is legally required to give you Miranda warnings before they question you when you’re in police custody. 


Thus, if you were not given your Miranda warnings while in police custody for a DUI/DWI, any incriminating statements you made in response to questioning likely won’t be used in court against you. With the help of an attorney, you could use this defense to get your charges dropped or reduced depending on the circumstances of your case.

An Illegal Stop Was Performed


In the US, a driver cannot be stopped by a police officer unless there is a reasonable basis that a traffic law or other laws have been violated. This means that a police officer is not allowed to stop you and charge you with a DUI or DWI unless they have a reason to believe you were driving under the influence. 


For example, if you were driving strangely, swerving, crashing, or being negligent, they are not allowed to stop you. If they do, it construes an illegal stop, and you can use this as a defense to have your DUI or DWI charges dropped. 

The Breath Alcohol Testing Results Were Inaccurate


A breathalyzer determines your blood alcohol level by testing the particles in your lungs. Since this is an indirect method of testing blood alcohol levels, it can result in an inaccurate reading. A single test is usually insufficient to establish how much alcohol is in an individual’s system. 


Many people can fail a breathalyzer test and not have consumed enough alcohol to exceed the limit. This is because an individual’s partition ratio (what is used to determine alcohol levels in the blood and how they relate to levels in the breath and lungs) can be different from a breathalyzer. 


In addition, many other factors could lead to inaccurate breath alcohol testing results. For example, variances in body temperature when the test was administered could result in falsely high readings. Moreover, a breathalyzer alone isn’t infallible, as there is an inherent 10% margin of error. This margin of error also leads to inaccurate high-level readings. 


Thus you can use this defense if you work with an expert defense attorney who can consult a forensic toxicology expert to prove your innocence. 



Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Were Improperly Performed


Law enforcement is trained to test drivers using standardized tests to reveal clues of impairment. Three standard tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. You may have seen this performed using the tip of a finger and tracking it across the driver’s visual field. The second is the walk and turn test, where a driver is asked to walk on an imaginary line, turn, and walk back. Finally, there is the one legged stand. A driver must stand on one leg, with their arms out, for thirty seconds while counting. All of these tests are meant to be performed in specific ways and any deviation is supposed to be noted by the police officer. However, often they are not performed correctly. 


There are also other, non-standard tests, including reciting the alphabet, counting backwards and others.



Speak With A Missouri Criminal DUI/DWI Attorney Today To Discuss Your Case


Being charged with any crime can be an incredibly stressful and harrowing experience. Suppose you are facing DUI or DWI charges. In that case, speaking with an attorney at Bruntrager & Billings, P.C. is crucial. 


The competent and committed attorneys at our St Louis, Missouri firm can help you during this challenging time. If you contact us here, we can speak with you and evaluate the best defense for your case to increase your likelihood of having your DUI or DWI charges reduced or dropped.