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How might you challenge an OWI charge?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Firm News

A conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI) might not seem like that big a deal when compared to some other offenses courts convict people of. However, a criminal record is a criminal record, no matter what you get it for. It can still cause you to lose out on opportunities in employment, education and housing long after you have paid any penalties or served any sentence the court handed out.

So, it is always wise to look for ways to contest an OWI charge, and there are several.

Reasonable suspicion

The law requires the police to have reasonable suspicion to pull you over unless it is at an official checkpoint. If they did pull you over at an official checkpoint, the police would need to be able to show that their system was random and that they did not just stop you due to your appearance or something subjective.

Reasonable suspicion means the police need to have reason to think that you have committed an offense, be it drunk driving or something else. If you cannot dispute the original stop, you may still be able to dispute what happened next.

Probable cause

The reason the police test people is to give themselves probable cause to arrest them. It means they have a factual basis (the test results) to believe you committed the crime they then arrest you for – in this case, operating a vehicle while intoxicated. It’s a far higher level of proof than the reasonable suspicion needed for the initial stop.

Test results are not always accurate, so you may be able to challenge them. If they did not have you perform any tests, or if you did not fail the tests, the officers need some other way to justify their decision to arrest you.

Those are just some of the ways to challenge an OWI charge. Getting help to learn more can ensure you make the best decision for your future.