What is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Texas?
A person commits the offense of DWI in Texas if they operate a vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. When defining intoxicated, the Texas Penal Code gives two separate definitions. Either (1) not having the “normal” use of your mental or physical faculties because of the introduction of alcohol or drugs, or (2) having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
Who Gets Arrested For DWI In Central Texas?
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrests in the Austin, TX area largely fall into two categories. First, and in my opinion, most frequently, you have police arresting innocent citizens who may have had a few drinks but have not lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties. Second, you have people who are legitimately intoxicated and have made the unfortunate mistake of getting behind the wheel. In either case, all counties in Texas take DWI cases extremely seriously. You need to be prepared to mount an aggressive defense to protect your criminal record and your freedom. Which is why having an aggressive DWI lawyer behind you is important.
I Have Been Charged DWI. What Am I Looking At?
When you are charged with DWI in Texas you technically have two cases pending against you. One case is criminal and the other is civil. The criminal case is prosecuted by the County Attorney’s Office if it is a misdemeanor (a first or second DWI offense) and the District Attorney’s Office if it is a felony (DWI third and up or DWI with a child passenger). The civil case, is called an Administrative License Revocation Hearing (or ALR hearing). This hearing pertains to your driver’s license and is prosecuted by the Texas Department of Public Safety. You have 15 days after your arrest to request an ALR Hearing or it is waived. Be sure to request this hearing or retain a DWI lawyer in Austin to do it for you within the 15 day time period or you will forfeit your right to contest your pending driver’s license suspension! Also, when interviewing an attorney make sure they will handle this hearing for you as well as the underlying DWI charge.
I Submitted to a Breath Test. Do I Still Have Defenses?
Absolutely. The breath test machine used by virtually all counties in the state is the intoxilyzer 5000. It is a machine designed in the early 1980s utilizing technology designed in the 1970s. There are often errors with individual breath test machines that you, the suspect, are unaware of at the time of the test. As a practice I have discovery ordered on the particular breath test machine my client was tested on in order to search for possible errors. Further, you have 4th amendment defenses that may be employed to suppress evidence such as your breath test and the traffic stop that led to your arrest. When interviewing an Austin DWI lawyer you need to make sure they will thoroughly evaluate all the evidence leading up to the breath test as well as the breath test machine itself.
The Police Took My Blood. Why Were They Able To Do That?
If you were arrested for a misdemeanor and did not consent to a blood draw, the police likely obtained a warrant for your blood. Just like a search warrant can be obtained and executed on a house where police are looking for drugs, police can obtain and execute a search warrant on your body looking for alcohol. This is becoming common in Austin on “No Refusal Weekends.” On a No Refusal Weekend, the Austin Police Department keeps a magistrate judge on duty 24 hours. They also set up a station with a phlebotomist (a person trained to draw blood). Warrants are issued and blood is drawn in a very streamlined process. If it is a felony arrest (DWI third and up or DWI with a child passenger), the law now allows police to draw your blood without a warrant. As your DWI lawyer I will make sure that the blood draw was properly executed, the blood was properly stored and properly tested. There are MANY moving parts in a blood draw case where the police and laboratories can make mistakes. It’s those mistakes that I leverage to get blood evidence thrown out of court.
What Should I Look For In An Attorney to Handle My DWI?
The most important thing is your confidence and comfort in the choice of a DWI attorney. This confidence and comfort will come from someone who has a good reputation with the prosecutors handling your case as well as with the judge who will hear it. It will come from someone who frequently takes DWI cases to trial in Austin. It will not come from someone who is pressuring you for your business and to sign a contract on the first meeting. It will not come from someone who is only willing to take part of your case (only willing to handle your DWI charge and not other charges arising out of the same incident). I encourage you to take a look at my previous DWI case results and set up a consultation with me as well as other lawyers before making your decision to hire someone. I’ve found that people will frequently hire me after shopping around and meeting with many attorneys. I invite you to do the same and give me a chance to be your DWI attorney.