Monday, October 24, 2011

DWI Refusal Cases Can be the Better Gamble

I just finished off three DWI refusal cases, as in got them reduced. Reductions BTW are a big deal, especially in criminal law. Many prosecutors do not like reducing charges from level to level. Getting a Felony reduced to a misdemeanor or a misdemeanor reduced to a violation is often the big win.

Now before you glorify me, G-d forbid, there are a great many cases that do not get reduced, there are many cases that I have lost. Nobody wins all their cases. Anyone who says they do is not telling you everything. I have had clients after trial who were found guilty as charged of two DWIs (the common law and the per se). It doesn't feel good, trust me.

But that said, I like the odds, the chances with the Refusal cases. Yeah, no breath, no blood, no measurement!! NO NUMBERS, NO BAC.

The unique opportunity with DWI refusal cases is the administrative refusal hearing. It allows for cross examination of the police officer concerning the legality of the stop and the arrest. It can be a great beginning to gathering the evidence (all the facts) necessary to defending the case against intoxicated driving.

The hearing is for four main areas legally:

DMV Refusal hearing:
VTL 1194 (2) (c) : the hearing is limited to the following issues:

1. did the police officer have reasonable grounds (PC) to believe that such person had been driving in violation of any subdivision of VTL 1192?
2. Did the police officer make a lawful arrest ?
3. was such person given sufficient warning, in clear and unequivocal language, prior to such refusal that such refusal to submit to such chemical test or any portion thereof, would result in the immediate suspension and subsequent revocation of such person’s license or operating privilege whether or not such person is found guilty of the charge for which the arrest was made.
4. did such person refuse to submit to such chemical test or any portion thereof?
Was the refusal persistent?

Imagine a DWI refusal case with a stop for an equipment violation, Now I'm getting really excited, Why you ask?  Now we have a DWI case with no number, no BAC, and with get this... NO DRUNK DRIVING!

Gotta love it, a Drunk case with no drunk driving and no forensic evidence to prove blood alcohol. There are other things to consider but all things being equal, I like the odds better with these cases.