In a DUI / DWI court case, a drunk driving defense attorney may introduce a number of motions before the case goes to trial. All of these motions, if successful, will aid the defendant and the defense lawyer by suppressing evidence and/or statements that may harm the defendant’s case, providing more information about the prosecution’s case, making it possible for an independent expert to analyze chemical test results, or allowing the attorney to learn more about any complaints made against an arresting officer.
These pretrial motions may include motions to suppress evidence, gain supplemental evidence through discovery, split blood or urine samples for independent testing, strike prior drinking and driving convictions, suppress statements made by the defendant, and/or gain access to an arresting officer’s personnel file through what is known as a Pitchess motion.
An experienced defense attorney will begin considering pretrial challenges immediately upon reviewing a driver’s case. In most cases, a defense attorney will request any pretrial motion hearings during the defendant’s arraignment. The judge will then set the hearing for a future date. In felony cases, a motion to suppress may be made at the preliminary hearing only if defense counsel has personally served the prosecution with a written motion at least five court days before the hearing.
Typically, the issues an experienced DUI / DWI defense lawyer will consider when preparing pretrial motions are whether or not the arrest was lawful, whether the driver’s chemical test results were accurate, whether the driver was given a proper Miranda warning before making statements to police, whether the arresting officer has received prior complaints, and whether any previous drunk driving convictions within the past 10 years can be stricken, which will reduce any potential punishment.
When used judiciously, pretrial motions can be powerful ammunition in a defense attorney’s arsenal. By consulting with an attorney who specializes in DUI / DWI defense, a motorist accused of drunk driving can learn the best defense strategies and effectively fight the case.