Interviewer: How defensible are the cases? Are you pretty often able to get significant improvement in it or is it pretty hard to get anywhere with that?
Tom Chaves: Here’s what I do. I review the discovery, which means the police report, the breathalyzer test data and documents and the mobile video recording meaning the surveillance from the police car’s camera of the field sobriety test that the person performs. And if I see based on those different things that there is a viable defense, then I will definitely urge the client to try the case.
If There are No Viable Defenses Available, the Best Resolution is to Look for a Favorable Plea Bargain
On the other hand, if there are no viable defenses, I’ll say to the person look, I’ll cut the best deal possible for you which usually involves an agreement from the prosecutor to impose minimal fines and penalties and dismissal of any other ticket.
Passing the Field Sobriety Test is the Most Viable Defense in a DWI Case
Interviewer: Where are you finding the right best area for defense really?
Tom Chaves: Number 1 is that the person did well and passed the field sobriety test and as a result of that, there is no probable cause to arrest the person and as a result of that, the whole case gets dismissed. I generally file motions to suppress in most of the cases with that in mind.
Challenging the Traffic Stop that Led to a DWI is also a Viable Defense Strategy
Another viable defense is that there is no basis to stop the motor vehicle on the first place.
The Police Need to Prove that a Motor Vehicle Infraction of Some Kind led to the Traffic Stop
Interviewer: The validity of the stop you’re saying that is one of the primary area is where the defense is?
Tom Chaves: Right. In other words, the police need a reasonable and articulable suspicion that there has been a motor vehicle infraction of some kind or a crime has been committed. With respect to the motor vehicle infraction, it can be failure to maintain lanes, it means running at stop sign, it means running a red light, it means speeding, it means swerving.
At Night The Police May Fabricate a Pretext to Validate a Traffic Stop
Unfortunately, a lot of times, especially when it’s late at night when there aren’t that many vehicles on the road, they will find a pretext to stop people.