If you are facing OWI charges in Michigan, a conviction could result in jail time, steep fines, loss of your driver’s license, and other severe consequences. Even first-time offenders face potential incarceration of up to 93 days, which could affect both your professional life and personal relationships.
Fortunately, just because police have accused you of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated does not mean a conviction and subsequent jail sentence is imminent. Even if you are certain the prosecutor has substantial evidence against you, there may be strategic ways to fight the charges. If you have been accused of OWI and you’re not sure how to proceed, contact Gordon & Hess, PLC. Our knowledgeable attorneys have 30 years of combined experience representing clients throughout West Michigan, and we will fight relentlessly on your behalf for lesser charges and reduced sentencing. Call 616-272-3331 to schedule a case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer in Grand Rapids. Read on to learn about some of the most common defenses against OWI charges:
- Unreliable Breath Test Results
The results of a breath test may seem like the one irrefutable piece of evidence in an OWI case, but the truth is even breathalyzers can malfunction. For example, a breath test device can give an inaccurate reading if it was not calibrated properly or if the suspect has a physiological condition like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Conditions like GERD can skew the results of a breath test because the amount of alcohol on an affected individual’s breath does not necessarily correspond to the amount of alcohol in his or her system at any given moment. If you are facing OWI charges after failing a breath test but you think the results were inaccurate, a criminal defense lawyer can help you determine the most effective way to prove as much.
- Improper Field Sobriety Testing Procedures
Although the results of breath tests can sometimes be accurate, the results of field sobriety tests (FSTs) are always subjective. For this reason, police must follow strict protocol when administering such tests. Of course, even if an officer administers FSTs exactly as mandated, the results are still open to interpretation. That means if the officer already suspects you of driving while impaired, he or she will likely use the tests to confirm that assumption and thus take a biased approach to interpreting their results.
- Police Misconduct
When police fail to follow established protocol during a traffic stop or any subsequent criminal proceeding, it may be willful misconduct as opposed to merely an oversight. Your attorney can review the details surrounding your arrest to determine if there was any police misconduct around which to frame a defense. This might include inaccurate reports and false testimony. If you are facing charges for OWI and you’re not sure what kind of defense might apply to your case, contact Gordon & Hess, PLC. A Grand Rapids criminal attorney will evaluate your case in order to help you determine the most strategic way to proceed. Call 616-272-3331 to schedule a consultation.