When a Nassau County man was arrested on November 27 for the second time on DWI charges, his attorney contended that the police may have made an improper stop. The arrest occurred after a hearing on the defendant's previous aggravated DWI charge, which came in August. When the hearing was over, the DA asked a Nassau police officer to tail the defendant out of the courthouse on suspicion that he was intoxicated. Once the defendant had driven a few feet down the road, the officer arrested him on a second DWI charge.
Since the defendant's blood-alcohol level has not yet been released, the only known evidence that a second DWI had occurred is that some court staffers allegedly thought the driver smelled of alcohol and was moving unsteadily during his hearing. A common drunk driving defense is to contend that the police did not have probable cause to make the stop, which would invalidate the arrest. Without evidence of erratic driving, which may be hard to show when a driver was only allowed to move a few feet before being stopped, probable cause may not exist for that driver to be charged with a crime.
Other defenses against a DWI charge usually center on challenging breathalyzer, blood, and field sobriety tests. If any of these tests were calibrated or administered incorrectly or by a poorly-trained officer, or if the results could have been tampered with at some point in the chain of custody, the evidence of those tests might not be strong enough for a conviction.
Successfully challenging a prosecutor's evidence is the key to reducing DWI penalties or avoiding them altogether. In the Nassau County case, the driver's attorney further contends that his client was not even driving the car involved in the original August arrest.
Source: New York Post, "Dope's 2nd DWI arrest at hearing," Selim Algar, Nov. 28, 2012