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Missouri DWI / DUI Lawyers

Driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence

Many people believe a DWI is a “traffic matter” simply because it involves a vehicle. The truth is that DWIs are serious criminal offenses that can carry significant penalties and collateral consequences, including jail time. Should a person be charged with a third DWI in their lifetime, they will be facing a felony charge. The laws, scientific and psuedo-scientific evidence used in the prosecution of DWIs, are ever-changing. An attorney needs to have specialized knowledge and experience to properly defend someone accused of driving while intoxicated.

An attorney must be prepared to meet the numerous scientific and quasi-scientific tests the government uses against those accused of DWI. Such tests include the “standard field sobriety tests” officers give drivers on the side of the road as well as Breathalyzer and blood tests. Many of these tests are of questionable reliability even if conducted properly by officers. Frequently, however, officers will improperly administer these tests rendering their conclusions meaningless. To defend someone accused of DWI, a lawyer must not only have a thorough knowledge of each of these tests, their inherent inaccuracies, and the common errors made in administering those tests, but also must be able to communicate these concepts clearly to a jury unfamiliar with these test and their flaws.

These “tests” have been developed in an attempt to distinguish the person who has had “one to many” from the person who may have just had a drink or two with dinner but is not impaired. The difficulties in distinguishing the two often result in officers merely arresting anyone who is driving and admits (or whom he even suspects) has consumed any alcohol at all, regardless of their level of sobriety or intoxication. With the recent emphasis on DWI arrest and convictions in Missouri, sometimes there even develops a competition among officers to see who can charge the most people with a DWI by the end of the year. The officer who makes the most arrest and generates the most in “recoupment fees” (substantial fees anyone convicted of DWI must pay to the police department who made the arrest) is naturally looked on favorably by his superiors. Further, it is not uncommon for police forces to be funded in part or even have specific officer’s entire salaries paid for by federal grant money, which is dependant on arrest and conviction statistics. Obviously, such police officers have a strong motive to exaggerate the facts. Such an officer is likely to see even a legitimate question posed by the driver as being “uncooperative,” and the least movement from a perfect standing position as “swaying.” Many times it is the same officer that arrested the person that insists that the person take a “breath test” on the machine that the officer is going to set up and operate himself. If the officer finds the result to be too low, he is apt to say that the driver “refused” the test by not blowing into the machine the way he was instructed.

It takes an attorney with extensive experience in handling and trying DWI cases to both understand these biases and flaws and to demonstrate them to the jury. Any lawyer can say that he handles DWI cases, but there are few who really have the knowledge, experience, and the trial ability to effectively challenge the evidence presented by these kinds of officers. The lawyer has to have a thorough knowledge of the literature about DWI detection and arrest by which the police officer received his training at the police academy and the ability to effectively use that material to put the officer’s testimony to the test. James Law Group has tried many DWI cases to a successful conclusion. If you have been falsely accused of driving while intoxicated, call us today to discuss your situation.

James Law Group, LLC
14 Richmond Center Court
St. Peters, MO 63376
Boone County Office
303 N. Stadium, Suite 200
Columbia, MO 65203
Phone: 636.397.2411
Boone County Phone: 573.818.2083
Toll Free: 800.229.7112
Fax: 636.397.2799
Representing clients throughout Missouri and the greater midwest. We
have experience handling personal injury, criminal defense and worker’s
compensation cases.

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