The most challenging DWI cases to defend are those in which the client was obviously intoxicated; but even then, certain circumstances can cause the case against your client to fall apart. For example, if an officer makes an invalid traffic stop, all evidence gathered as a result of that stop can and should be suppressed.
In cases like this, I always ask the jurors how they would feel if an officer entered their home without a warrant and went through their medicine cabinet to see what prescriptions they are taking. In most cases, jurors will agree that they would draw the line here. Because if the police can stop a drunk driver in an unlawful manner, they can stop you unlawfully, too.
The police should not be able to search your house without a warrant, nor should they be able to search your car after an invalid traffic stop. Under the Fourth Amendment, you and I are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Constitution was created to protect the rights of all American citizens, not just the innocent.
Every attorney should be able to counsel their clients about their legal rights. If you, as an attorney, don’t know the law concerning whether or not a cop made an invalid traffic stop, you are never going to get the stop suppressed.
I suggest reading Bullcoming v. New Mexico and Missouri v. McNeely; taking a phlebotomy course; joining the National College for DUI Defense, the DUI Defense Lawyers Association, and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association; and attending advanced DWI courses and seminars to help you achieve valuable experience and trial techniques. Never pass on the opportunity to attend an Administrative License Review (ALR) hearing or cross-examine an officer when you get the chance to do so.
Looking ahead, I believe that there is going to be a drastic increase in DWI cases involving prescription medications, rather than illegal drugs or alcohol, and such cases will increasingly involve a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).
However, I am usually able to refute the testimony of a DRE, because I start asking very technical toxicology questions, and they rarely know the answers. Mega-million dollar grants have been given out to develop DRE programs; in the future, we are likely to see officers arresting housewives, students, and maybe some of your neighbors for taking prescription medications and driving.
If you hire a lawyer who does not know what he is doing and is not DRE-certified, he may advise you to plead guilty because you had drugs and alcohol in your system and he lacks the knowledge needed to properly defend you.
Never give up the fight without knowing your case inside and out.