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Is there any real defense against a Louisiana DWI charge?

The question is asked in a negative way to reflect how many Baton Rouge defendants feel after being charged with an alcohol-related crime. Maybe you were pulled over, several hours after having a glass of wine with dinner, and felt slightly uncertain about your blood alcohol content level. Maybe a police officer interpreted a brief stumble in a field sobriety test or a nervous response as impairment.

Remember, officers are looking for drunk drivers but in this quest, they can make mistakes in judgment. In Louisiana, as in all other states, a driver is considered intoxicated with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or greater. Prosecutors are reliant upon results of toxicology tests, which can be influenced by device defects and human error.

Few DWI criminal defense lawyers use an affirmative defense for a client, which is akin to saying: "Yes, I was driving under the influence of alcohol, but I had a good reason." It is usually more effective to find proof flaws were evident during an arrest, the administration of a test or within a field sobriety or toxicology test.

For instance, a defense lawyer frequently argues a police officer failed to have probable cause to pull over a defendant. The way a field sobriety test was handled could be called into question. There are numerous factors with no connection to alcohol that may affect the outcome of a field sobriety test – some people are incapable of performing the tasks required to pass the test under any circumstances.

Significantly dissimilar results on breath tests acquired from different devices, like portable vs. police station tests, may indicate an officer erred in giving a test. Skewed BAC readings also signal the testing device might not be calibrated properly.

These examples show there are defenses that work against DWI and DUI charges. A Louisiana defendant should ask for an attorney's assistance to take advantage of them.

Source: Steve LeBlanc LTD (APLC), "Drunk Driving" Sep. 09, 2014

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