Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

A Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge is a serious charge that carries severe consequences when there is a conviction. Therefore, it is not a good idea to automatically plead guilty and take the conviction because the conviction will be on your permanent record and often has a negative effect on employment decisions as well as many other negative effects. You may also face time in jail and run the risk of losing your job even as a first-time offender.  Additionally, if you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, you will most likely lose your driver’s license unless you can prove that there wasn’t a legitimate stop or probable cause at the time of the stop.

 

The Austin police department has a group of officers who are specially trained and assigned to DWI enforcement.  The DWI task force works the hours and areas where the most DWI arrests have historically been made. The DWI task force exclusively conducts stops associated with driving while intoxicated arrests.  A Texas arrest is typically based on three phases of DWI detection, as well as chemical testing of your breath, blood, or urine.

Texas License Suspensions and

Administrative License Revocation Hearings

The first thing you need to do after you have been released from jail following a DWI arrest is to protect your driver’s license.  Whether you refused a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine, or you took the test and tested over .08 BAC, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended or revoked usually within a period of forty days.  You only have a limited time to appeal the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license through the Department of Public Safety.  If you fail to timely request a hearing with the Department of Public Safety regarding the driver’s license suspension, you will lose the right to protect your driving privileges as well as the rights to contest the legitimacy of the stop and the search associated with your case. In addition, when a hearing is requested on your license suspension or revocation, the hearing date will extend the normal forty day grace period up until the time that the administrative license revocation hearing is heard before the court which is often very helpful to most clients.

DWI DETECTION

Field sobriety testing is administered to almost all driving while intoxicated suspects.  There are three Field Sobriety Tests that are typically administered to determine whether there is probable cause to arrest the suspect due to intoxication. These tests include the following:

Texas Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Texas Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Portable Breath Testing

It is also important to note that random “No Refusal Weekends” take place throughout the year in which you cannot legally refuse the breath test. The “No Refusal Weekend” policy does not apply to any of the field sobriety tests that are used for DWI detection.

The field sobriety tests were designed to give trained police officers a more accurate idea of whether a DWI suspect will test above .10 BAC.  Without conducting further scientific testing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now claims that such tests will give well trained officers who properly administer such tests a reasonable idea whether a suspect will test over .08 BAC. However, this claim has not been validated by any scientific evidence. In fact, the accuracy of these tests have been proven to be very low. Additionally, these tests are extremely subjective and vary contingent upon many other factors that should be taken into consideration, and if the test is not properly administered in any way, the validity of the test will be compromised and should not be considered. The rules and instructions on proper administration are governed by NHTSA, and every officer who administers standardized field sobriety tests must be certified in field sobriety testing through NHTSA. There are numerous challenges to the Standardized and Non-Standardized Field Sobriety tests that officers administer on the roadside to a suspect. Because of the subjectivity and inaccuracy of the tests used to detect intoxication, these cases are frequently tried before a jury. I have tried both felony (multiple DWIs) and misdemeanor DWIs before a jury and have negotiated many DWI cases.  I am also certified in field sobriety testing through NHTSA, and I have been through the same training that police officers go through and use that knowledge to maximize the outcomes of my clients’ results.