Technicalities MatterPeople often wonder if a criminal defense attorney is really worth the cost. Here is an example of exactly why one would want an attorney on one’s side.

Recently, I represented a young lady charged with Operating While Intoxicated–Super Drunk. She faced a 1-year license suspension and thousands of dollars in fines. An officer had pulled her over because she was swerving all over the road.  She performed poorly on the sobriety tests. The legal limit for drinking and driving is .08. She blew a .19 (twice). But there’s always the possibility of a loophole.

Reading the police report, I recognized that my client had initially refused the Breathalyzer in jail. The officer who was supposed to observe her for 15 minutes had a dialogue with her, during which he suggested she should cooperate and take the test. My client continued to refuse the test, and eventually the observing officer gave up.  He sent her down the hall to a holding cell.

On the way down the hall, my client changed her mind, and decided to take the Breathalyzer. An officer escorted her back to the observation room, and an officer immediately administered the test. She blew .19 and .19. (.08 is the legal limit for Operating While Intoxicated.)

When I read the report, I recognized that the observing officer failed to restart the 15-minute observation period when my client reentered the room. Therefore, the test was invalid!

In a case with facts as bad as my client’s, you want a deal. A jury would not like my client, who had allegedly been drunk driving. In my client’s case, we wanted an Operating While Impaired.

After a rough initial conversation with the City Attorney, the Assistant City Attorney contacted me and offered the Impaired. My client was elated. She accepted, and saved herself about $3,000 in fines, not to mention points on her license, insurance rates, etc.

Technicalities matter. The observation period is supposed to ensure the accuracy of the breath test. If something enters a subject’s mouth or they vomit, the test results are inaccurate. Therefore, it is critical the rules governing observation are followed. In my client’s case, we do not how much alcohol was in her system based on the breath test, because the breath test was inaccurate.

A quality criminal defense attorney knows the law with all of its intricacies. They fight for a solution that is in their client’s best interest using all of the tools at their disposal, including legal technicalities of which the average person would be unaware.