Legal Law

Three Ways A Private Investigator Can Help In Your Drunk Driving Defense

A drunk driving case is a business that requires a lot of evidence, whether or not there is a blood or breath test. In a typical DWI case, you will have at least two reports of offenses, three if there was an accident involved. There will be documents with legal warnings. Most likely, there is a videotape of your client on the scene or at the station.

Add a breath test to the mix and now you have affidavits, breath test vouchers, and maintenance records.

As an attorney defending a DWI case, you will obtain information from your client, the scene of the stop, and any witnesses or potential witnesses. You must also serve subpoenas to the officers involved for a license suspension hearing.

The sheer volume of material can be overwhelming for any attorney. In my practice, I use a private investigator to do much of the groundwork. Here are three ways a private investigator can make your life easier when defending a drunk driving case.

Visiting the scene. Once I have reviewed the offense report and viewed the video on a new DWI case, I call my investigator and send him to the scene to take pictures of the road, sidewalk, parking lot, and surroundings. Take a 48-inch level and a measuring stick to check the elevations. You will visit the location near the stop time to check conditions as they were at the time of arrest and visit during the day to check elevations.

My investigator then becomes a witness to the events and can testify about the conditions at the scene. He can testify if field sobriety exercises were administered on a hard, level surface according to the NHTSA Manual.

Interview witnesses. During my initial interview, I obtain the names and phone numbers of the people my client was with on the day of his arrest. From the violation report (and the accident report, if applicable), I obtain the names and phone numbers of the eyewitnesses. I give this information to my investigator and he conducts interviews with all witnesses and potential witnesses and prepares a report based on their interviews. In accident cases, I have even asked you to speak to the other driver to find out how the accident happened.

By delegating these tasks to my investigator, I create a potential impeachment witness in the event that any of the interviewees change their story on the witness stand. If you were to conduct the interviews, you could only challenge the reviewed history by cross-examination.

Subpoenas service. In the administrative license revocation process, attorneys are responsible for serving their own subpoenas to the officers involved in the detention. An experienced investigator who is familiar with the rules and customs of area law enforcement agencies is a must in a DWI case. In many cases, I will issue subpoenas without going through court as a tactical decision. I ask my investigator to turn over these document requests as well. I prefer to do as much of my case preparation “under the radar” as I can.

The benefit of using an investigator is not limited to drunk driving cases; I have used my investigator in assault cases, as well as in narcotics cases involving vehicle stops. Having a second set of eyes gives me more time for case preparation and life outside of the office.

If you have been wrongly arrested for DWI, you need an experienced DWI attorney to defend your rights and restore your reputation. Contact your Houston DWI attorney Paul B. Kennedy for more information and a free consultation.

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