DEFENDING YOUR DWI
- Your Arrest Was Probably Inevitable
Being arrested for a DWI is one of the most stressful things that you will have to deal with in your life. The unfortunate reality is that once the police lights flash behind you, your imminent arrest is almost guaranteed. If your arresting officer smelled even the slightest odor of an alcoholic beverage upon speaking with you then chances are he/she already made his/her mind up that you were going to be arrested. The so-called filed sobriety tests (aka: FST’s, Balancing Acts, etc.) that the officer asked you to perform were not so much a way of “seeing if you are safe to drive,” as much as they were to establish measurable probable cause to arrest you and get you off of the road as soon as possible. A breath, or blood test, is only offered so that you will further incriminate yourself and help to seal your own fate in the form of a DWI conviction.
- If You Took Roadside Tests or a Breath/Blood Test, Your Case Has Challenges
If you took a breath or blood test that shows you were well-above the legal blood-alcohol limit (.02 for persons under 21 years old; .08 for persons older than age 21) then your case is already more challenging than for someone who elected to not take a breath or blood test.
Similarly, if you agreed to perform Field Sobriety Tests before or after your arrest, then you have also already given the police and the prosecution sufficient ammo to hurl at you during a trial or a DMV license suspension hearing. Even if you think you did “OK” on the roadside-balancing tests, if your night ended with you being placed in handcuffs, we promise you, your arresting police officer will say you failed these tests every chance he/she gets. Your arresting officer’s claims that you were a drunk driver when they arrested you will first be the first place where he/she claims you were drunk. The officer will repeat these claims, and his/her “interpretations” about your testing performance, at your DMV license suspension hearing, and at trial.
- With An Eye Towards Trial, Don’t Forget About the DMV!
Nothing is easy about fighting a DWI charge. If you have a New Hampshire Driver’s License, you will have thirty (30) days from the time of your arrest to drive. Once those thirty days are up, your license will automatically be suspended by the NH DMV. If this is your first arrest for a DWI, then your DMV driving suspension will be for six (6) months. If you have been arrested before within the last ten (10) years, then you can expect the NH DMV to suspend your license/privilege to drive in NH for two (2) years. These suspensions will happen even before you go to court for trial.
- D. If I Hire Osborne Law to Defend My DWI, What Can I Expect?
We need information. So, FIRST, we will request the police reports and see what the police officer had to say about you. We don’t necessarily believe what we read, but a police report gives us a chance to know what your arresting officer is going to say when he/she is called to testify against you. Knowing this information ahead of time allows us to prepare a strategy for questioning him/her at your upcoming DMV hearing and court trial.
SECOND, we will request a hearing for you at the DMV whereby we may question your arresting police officer about why he/she stopped you, encountered you, and arrested you. The request for a DMV license suspension hearing (also known as an Administrative License Suspension hearing (“ALS”)) must be made within thirty (30) days following your arrest. One day or one hour too late, and your right to have an ALS hearing is lost forever.
THIRD, we will go to the scene where you were arrested (as well as the route you drove prior to being stopped by police), regardless of whether the location is near or far from our office, located in Nashua, NH.
FOURTH, upon combining all of the facts that we have learned from the previous three steps, we will examine whether it is possible to ask the court to throw out any evidence that was improperly or unfairly acquired or observed by the police officer. Such a request is called a “motion to suppress”. Maybe the officer didn’t have sufficient grounds to lawfully stop you in the first place? Perhaps the officer had grounds to stop you, but didn’t really have enough evidence to arrest you for being impaired? Perhaps the officer didn’t explain the balancing tests correctly to you, or did – but what if your first language is not English? Every case is different, and that is why all strategies must be on the table until we find the right one for your case.
FIFTH, we will speak with the prosecutor. We will see if they are willing to drop your DWI down to a lesser charge such as a Reckless Driving or some other less-harmful violation. Again, our ability to negotiate a favorable final result depends upon how “good” or “bad” your case is. If you crashed into a tree, reeked of booze, and stumbled all over the road, and blew a .18 (more than 2x the legal limit) then your chances of getting a great result are much more difficult than for the person who pulled over and simply said, “No thank you,” to all of the officer’s requests for incriminating evidence.
LASTLY, people just want their lawyers to be honest. At Osborne Law, if your case is a disaster with little chance of winning in court, then we are going to tell you this upfront. Some cases are so bad that all a lawyer can recommend you do is plead guilty to the DWI and ask the prosecutor to withdraw your DMV/ALS Suspension.
At Osborne Law, we will tell you what we think your chances of success are at trial, based on Attorney Osborne’s nineteen (19) years of handling DWI’s as both a DWI prosecutor (2003 – 2007) and a DWI defense lawyer (2007 – present day).
We don’t take offense if you get a second opinion, but please know we will always give you our BEST opinion and our BEST EFFORTS based on the facts of your case. What you did with the police before you hired Attorney Osborne will have a major (if not determinative) impact on what he can do for you now.
Mark A. Osborne, Esq.
* This message is not intended to be legal advice. Rather, it is our best effort to tell you how we will assess and defend your DWI case with integrity, thoroughness, intellect, and compassion.