The Biggest Misconception in DWI
The biggest misconception in a DWI is to correlate a single bad driving behavior with guilt in a DWI. For example, a jerk, accident, or stopping too long at a stop light. These may very well be evidence of driver inattention unrelated to intoxication. I have analyzed thousands of DWI cases and have tried over 300. What I find are prosecutors who argue that the inattentive driving behavior is clear evidence of intoxication. This is not fact. The facts are that every day drivers commit these violations due to distraction, inattention, fatigue or a host of factors. Accidents are so common that the law mandates a driver maintain liability insurance to operate a motor vehicle.
The fact that a driver commits these with alcohol or a substance in his system is not evidence of causation. Driving even a short distance requires full and undivided attention. The fact that we all commit such blunders, as a driving population, does not mean we are all intoxicated. Recent studies have proved that lowering the alcohol level to .05 does not decrease the amount of accidents. What is important to consider in a DWI case is that driving behaviors so often associated with DWI may not in fact be the root cause of such.
We need to clear up DWI Misconceptions
It is important for the judges and jurors (fact finders) to differentiate driving mishaps from life altering DWI convictions. It is more important for the prosecutor, charged with making a recommendation, to not analyze the driving behavior in isolation. Some factors to take into account are time of travel, distance traveled, and factual distractions. These factors help render a proper assessment of whether the infraction is evidence of possible intoxication or something else.
So many DWI cases are assessed under the microscope of a single driving infraction. This is short changing the citizen accused of the real question- intoxication. It is all too easy to label a DWI based on a single driving error. To do so is to avoid a full analysis of the real question at hand. There are many people who commit driving errors all the time. The key is to keep an open mind about the totality of the circumstances. This is a phrase most every police officer uses when testifying on a DWI case. It is imperative that no one jumps to conclusions when assessing the guilt of a citizen accused in a DWI.