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If you have been charged with a DUI, DWI or OWI in Washington DC, you are in an uphill battle. Dealing with DUI, DWI or OWI charge can be frightening, stressful and very complicated. You may want to give in without a fight. You might want to deal it with it yourself, without a lawyer. Do not do that. With the help of the right, experienced DC DUI lawyer you can fight the charge and may even beat it. Retaining an experienced DUI lawyer will also reduce the anxiety, stress and the the infinite number of questions in your mind when facing a DUI charge. Choose and Retain your lawyer wisely!
I speak daily with clients and potential clients who are unsure if it is worth hiring an experienced DC defense attorney to help them with their DUI charge because it seems like it is an “open and shut case.” There is no such thing as an open and shut case.! I say this because of the 4th Amendment which guards against illegal searches and seizures and all people, regardless of their actions, is entitled to their 4th Amendment rights. So one of the key questions to ask when charged with a DUI, DWI or OWI is if the stop of your vehicle was valid? The next question it must be asked, was there enough probable cause to arrest you? The only way to determine the correct answers to these questions and get proper advice on these issues is by speaking to an experienced DC DUI Lawyer.
All traffic stops must be performed with reasonable suspicion that the driver has either violated the motor vehicle code or with reasonable suspicion that the driver is engaged in some type of criminal activity. In almost all every case , if there was no actual violation of the traffic code by the defendant, the officer who made the stop will claim that there was some sort of traffic movement which is legal but “based on his experience as an officer” something in the action led him to believe that the driver was impaired and/or under the influence.
In defending against the officers claim, the defense, however, does not have to show or prove that there your vehicle did not make this type of movement. Rather, the defense only has to show that there was no warrant issued for the seizure of you and your vehicle on the date that you were stopped. A warrantless stop is legal and valid only IF the officer had “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that a crime was committed or was being committed. Therefore, the stop is legal only if the officer is able to point to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant the officer’s stop of your vehicle.
In the District of Columbia, it is always the prosecution’s burden to show that there is a valid exception to the warrant requirement of the 4th Amendment to arrest you for suspicion of DUI. A warrantless arrest is only valid if it is based upon probable cause. Of specific importance, courts have ruled that the mere odor of alcohol on a person’s breath without more evidence is insufficient to establish either intoxication or lack of control of one’s vehicle. This means that an officer’s simple observation that you may have the odor of alcohol on your breath is not sufficient evidence by itself to validate an arrest. Furthermore, erratic behavior of the defendant alone is also not sufficient to establish probable cause for arrest. Police officers must establish a connection between the “erratic” behavior and the consumption of alcohol before the evidence can rise to the level of probable cause for a lawful arrest.
Hopefully this assists you to be thinking more thoroughly about your own DUI case. It is highly recommended, by anyone who has faced and successfully challenged a DUI charge in the past, that you speak to an experienced DC DUI lawyer. For more information, please visit DC DUI DWI, OWI Lawyer or call Nabeel Kibria at 202-689-4439.
Nabeel Kibria is a principal attorney of Ervin Kibria PLLC, representing clients in criminal and immigration matters throughout DC.