Interviewer: Is there any typical type of person that gets arrested for DWI?
Kevin Roach: I refer to it as an equal opportunity offense. Most people drink at some point in their life so a DWI arrest can happen to anyone. It’s a crime that a lot of people don’t realize they’re committing. They don’t always realize that if they have a couple of drinks and they get behind the wheel that they’re breaking the law. It’s a crime that can definitely happen to anybody.
Interviewer: Okay. The news seems to portray people as drunk and all over the road. Are most of your clients truly drunk driving, or have they just had a little bit too much to drink?
Kevin Roach: I’d say the overwhelming majority of my clients are not highly intoxicated, and I would consider someone that’s highly intoxicated to have an elevated BAC, which in Missouri is 0.17 or higher. I typically see people anywhere from 0.08 to 0.15. That’s the majority of the cases that I see. I would say fifteen or twenty percent of the time I see clients that are .17 or higher. The highest that I’ve seen I think was 0.28. Definitely, though, most of the people are not highly intoxicated when they’re pulled over.
Interviewer: Do you see more first-time offenders or a lot of repeat offenders?
Kevin Roach: Yeah. I would say about fifty percent of the cases that I see are first-time offenses.
Interviewer: Is there any typical backstory that people give you when they see you? Like, “Oh, I only had two beers,” or “I was coming home from a friend’s house” – that kind of thing?
Kevin Roach: Yeah, you do hear the same thing over and over again. People come into my office; I do a thorough interview with them. I go through the field sobriety test with them. I ask them what happened when they were pulled over and whether the officer asked them if they’d been drinking, because typically the officer does ask them if they’ve been drinking. Almost everybody says, “I had a couple.” That’s just a typical response. Very rarely do I get somebody that said, “I had one glass of wine” or “one beer” or “I drank a six-pack or a 12-pack.” Almost everybody says, “I had a couple,” or they just don’t answer the question.
Interviewer: Okay. What are the top complaints people have when they’ve been arrested for DUI? Do they say, “They didn’t read me my rights” or, “The cops lied; this didn’t happen”?
Kevin Roach: Yeah. I see a lot of people that get pulled over who don’t think that they were speeding or weaving. In the St. Louis area, they’ve really heightened DWI enforcement between midnight and 3:00 in the morning. I see a lot of people that are on their way home after the bars close. A typical case is 1:30 in the morning and now they get pulled over and they don’t think that they were doing anything wrong, and it’s your word against the officer’s as to whether or not you were weaving. It’s very subjective.
Yeah, I hear that over and over again, and it leads me to believe that they are targeting drivers that are on the road late at night and they kind of use speeding or alleged weaving or lane usage violation as a reason to pull them over and investigate whether or not they’ve been drinking or not.
Interviewer: Based on the reasons on the police reports that you see, do you think that police are looking for anything to pull people over, or is it usually right and they instinctively can see that a person is impaired?
Kevin Roach: Yes, when they pull you over, they can usually tell if you’re impaired or usually smell it. It’s pretty easy for someone that’s not drinking to sense alcohol on someone else’s breath. While it's usually not obvious to people that are all drinking together, because they don’t smell it, it’s something that’s pretty obvious to the officer when they pull you over. It only takes a couple of drinks to reach 0.08, so in Missouri it doesn’t take much. Whether you’re intoxicated or not, I guess that’s for the police officer to say.
Interviewer: Do you have people that feel like they’re doomed because, for instance, they failed the sobriety tests, or they say, “I really was drinking; they got me and there’s nothing I can do”?
Kevin Roach: Yeah, people do. They typically come in my office like a day or so after they get arrested, and they’re pretty down in the dumps and they think its all doom and gloom. I try to explain to them that they have rights. Pretty much everybody that’s been pulled over for DWI fails the field sobriety tests. I very rarely see anybody that passes any of the tests. They almost always fail all or most of the tests. I see people that think that they’re going to go to jail. After they talk to me, they feel better and they realize that if it’s a first offense, for instance, they’re not going to go to jail, and we’re going to try to keep it off their record and we’re going to try to fight and save their driver’s license.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis DWI defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!