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Drunk Driving Defenses in D.C.

In Washington D.C., the most common defenses to DUI/DWI/OWI are in regards to all tests administered prior to arrest. Typically a good defense to DUI/DWI/OWI will find a flaw in the way a test was administered so as to have any evidence of the test inadmissible at trial. In regards to the breath test, there are many steps that the administering officer must comply with in order for the results to be admissible. Also, if the machine was functioning improperly or gave incorrect results, a defense can be made based on those facts. Finally, in certain cases an expert witness can be used to show that the driver’s BAC was below the legal limit at the time of driving and only rose above the legal limit after arrest.

It is also possible to mount a defense against any evidence of the driver’s behavior or driving ability at the time of the arrest. The arresting officer will testify that the driver performed poorly on a field sobriety test or was driving in an inappropriate manner. In this situation, an appropriate defense would be to discredit the police officer’s testimony by showing that the driver performed well on a field sobriety test, that the police officer made inaccurate perceptions of how the driver performed, or that the driver’s driving behavior was inappropriate not because he/she was intoxicated, but for some other reason.


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