“Common Law” DWI has everything to do with police officer observation and testimony. Many of our clients are surprised that they were charged with DWI, even if they refused to blow into a breathalyzer at the police station. Even without any evidence of the Blood Alcohol Content (B.A.C.), a police officer can still charge someone with “Common Law” DWI based on their observations of intoxication.
For example, an officer might observe bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or an odor of an alcoholic beverage while conducting a traffic stop. These observations open the door to charge someone with a “Common Law” DWI.
Police officers often make individuals conduct Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) to add further evidence of intoxication prior to charging someone with a “Common Law” DWI. An officer might conduct a walk and turn test, a one leg stand test, or have someone recite the alphabet.
For example, even if someone blows under the legal limit of (.08) B.A.C., a police officer can still charge someone with a “Common Law” DWI based on their observations. An individual might blow a (.07) B.A.C., be under the legal limit, but still be charged with a “Common Law” DWI if the police officer thinks the person in question was drunk based on their observations.
During a trial, the credibility of police officer testimony is crucial to the outcome of a “Common Law” DWI case. For example, the police officers training, administrative procedures, handling of the (SFSTs) must be cross examined and flushed out to make sure there are no discrepancies.
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The job of a good attorney is to uncover any inconsistencies in officer testimony and make sure the proper procedures were followed during the (SFSTs). Tom Anelli and Associates have handled thousands of cases. We understand how to poke holes in officer testimony and uncover when police officers are not being as honest as they should be.