If you are looking for lawyer to defend you on a driving while intoxicated charge you have probably discovered that thousands of lawyers claim to be experts in this area. Many of those lawyers are competent and qualified to handle DWI cases, but unfortunately many are not. DWI is a lot like personal injury in that there are a lot of lawyers advertising for these cases. There are probably many reasons for that, the biggest one probably being the number of DWI arrests. There are simply a lot of people who get arrested for driving while intoxicated, and most of those people have never been in any type of trouble before.

If you or your loved one have been arrested, you should get an experienced defense attorney on your side as soon as possible. The problem is deciding who that will be. At a minimum you should hire someone who specializes in criminal defense, and has substantial experience defending DWI cases.

Far too many lawyers believe DWI or DUI cases are relatively simple cases, and easy to resolve. In other words – easy money. The truth is that DWI cases can be extremely complex. There may constitutional issues regarding the traffic stop itself, or the way in which evidence was obtained. There are also issues regarding the accuracy and valid of the various tests used to establish intoxication. Officers are trained to conduct tests in the field and the lawyer must be familiar with how those tests are supposed to be administered as well as the scientific basis (or not) underlying the tests. Many DWI cases also involve breath tests or blood tests and the lawyer must know about those, and know their limitations. Without such an understanding the lawyer cannot effectively challenge the State’s case.

You should not underestimate the seriousness of the charges and neither should your lawyer. A DWI case should be treated just as seriously as a murder charge. Before you make a decision that will have lasting consequences you must make sure no stone has been left unturned.

While I also handle other types of cases, I believe I have the knowledge and experience necessary to effectively defend these cases. I regularly attend continuing legal education programs that are devoted exclusively to defending DWI cases. Because of my extensive experience in handling appellate cases, I also am thoroughly familiar with the constitutional issues involved, and able to present them to the court in the same manner they would be presented to a Court of Appeals. I am also one of the few lawyers who is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Their publications and programs frequently center on issues concerning breath testing and blood testing; papers in their journal are often the first time that material has been disseminated, and is something that is not generally available to lawyers.

Despite what many people think – including many lawyers – there are defenses to DWI cases. No one should ever plead guilty without first exploring those defenses; that cannot be done without both a thorough investigation and evaluation of the case, and someone who knows what to look for.

If you have not already done so, please request a copy of our DWI survival guide. If you want to discuss this further, please call and schedule an appointment.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 35 years.