How Is DWI Defined Under Texas State Law?
Under Texas State Law, DW is defined as driving while intoxicated. You can be charged with a DWI through the introduction of alcohol and drugs into the body.
What Typically Happens When Someone Has Been Pulled Over By Law Enforcement And A DWI Investigation Begins? What Is The Process?
Typically, if an officer has a suspicion that a person is under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, they will pull them over and ask questions regarding their alcohol or drug intake. Those questions help them make an accurate assessment to determine whether or not that person is drunk. The questions officers ask include, among other things: “How much did you have to drink?” “What was your last drink?” “Have you had anything to eat?” “What did you eat?” “How much did you eat?” All of these questions help the officer with their investigation. These questions also help the DA make a conviction. If the officer feels like the questions aren’t answered to his satisfaction when the DWI investigation is going on, they’ll usually ask you to do Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. There are three main Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, which include the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test also known as the HGN. The HGN is the test in which the officer uses a stylus, typically a pen, to observe the driver’s eyes by moving the stylus back and forth while the driver follows it with his or her eyes. These tests help an officer’s investigation to determine whether somebody was driving while under the influence. The issue is, that many times these tests aren’t administered properly which can create false positives for an arrest. What’s more, even if these tests are all administered properly studies have shown that they are only accurate approximately 75% of the time.
What Are The Roadside Breath Tests And Standardized Field Sobriety Tests? Are You Required To Do Those In Texas?
The roadside breath test is a test that is administered by the officers during a DWI investigation. The test is designed to measure the amount of alcohol that you have in your system quickly. To administer the breath test, an officer asks a person to breathe into the breath device to determine whether they have alcohol in their system. The breath device will also indicate how much alcohol is in the driver’s system. Those are the things that officers help decide whether or not they have enough information to take somebody into custody for a DWI. However, you are not legally required to take those tests. A lot of people think that they’ll go to jail if they say no to those tests. But, an officer can take you to jail with or without those tests. Those tests just give the DA more information against you if they decide to arrest you.
Now, if you have a Texas driver’s license, you basically agree to take those tests if you get pulled over and an officer asks you to take them. If you don’t take the tests, you are subject to getting your license suspended. A refusal to take a breath device test can get your license suspended up to 180 days in Texas, but it’s not a guarantee that it will get suspended. It is important to speak to a lawyer about your rights if this happens to you.
What Is The Evidential Breath Or Blood Test? Am I Required To Provide One In Texas?
In Texas, there is no criminal law against refusing to give evidential breath or blood. However, if an officer obtains a warrant for evidential blood or breath then you are legally required to do one. If you get arrested for a DWI, and you decide that you do not want to take the breath test, you have 15 days to sign up for an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. If you don’t sign up for an ALR hearing, your license will be automatically suspended on the 31st day after your arrest. If you do sign up for the ALR hearing, you’ll be given a hearing in person or via telephone. You can fight your case, and they can make a determination as to whether or not you can keep your license. Again, you do not have to subject yourself to the test. It’s not going to cause you to get arrested, but you do have to fight for your license should you refuse to take the test. Speak to a qualified lawyer to protect your license and your rights.
What Happens To My Driver’s License If I Was Charged With A DWI In Texas If I Took A Breathalyzer Or Blood Test? Also, What Happens If I Refused?
If you take a breathalyzer in Texas and you “Fail”, which occurs if you blow above the state limit, your license will be subject to suspension for 90 days, unless you apply for an ALR hearing. If you refuse it, it’ll be subject to suspension for 180 days in Texas.
What Are The Typical Sentencing Guidelines For First Time And Multiple DWI Convictions In Texas?
A first DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor with the punishment range of zero to six months in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. A second DWI is a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Once you get past two DWIs, your next DWI becomes a felony. This means, among other things, you are no longer dealing with the county jail as a potential punishment. You’re dealing with actual prison if you get convicted of a third or subsequent DWI.
What Factors Could Enhance Or Aggravate A DWI Charge In Texas?
In Texas, if your breath or blood sample is at or above 0.15%, the state can charge you with a Class A misdemeanor as opposed to a Class B misdemeanor. This can happen even if it is your first DWI. So, instead of having to deal with the consequences of a Class B range of punishment, you will be automatically jumped into the Class A range of punishment. Additionally, no matter what you blow, if they determine that you are in fact intoxicated and there’s a child in the car, that arrest becomes a felony. Those two factors can quickly escalate your simple misdemeanor. Speak to a lawyer about other consequences associated with a DWI.
In Your Experience, Why Is It So Important That Someone Who’s Been Charged With DWI In Texas Work With Or Hire An Experienced DWI Attorney To Fight The Charges Versus Pleading Guilty Because Nobody Wins These Cases Anyway?
The first thing people should understand is that it is not illegal to drink and then drive. The nature of the charge makes people feel like they are automatically guilty if they’ve had a few drinks and then drive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The state has to prove that you were, in fact, intoxicated while driving, and not that you actually drank and then drove. As such, they have to prove factors that aren’t necessarily easy to prove. Therefore, it’s important to have a lawyer that has the knowledge to fight back when the state is trying to prove these mandatory factors against you.
DWI is like science mixed with the law. There are a lot of things that a body does when you drink that you don’t know about, unless you have a lawyer that has dealt with DWI cases. The body absorbs alcohol at different rates, It eliminates alcohol at different rates, and all of those things go into play when trying to determine whether somebody was in fact intoxicated while driving. It’s important that you have somebody at your side that can explain these concepts because the reality is that you might not have been driving while intoxicated. You might have had drinks and felt guilty, but you’re not. It’s the state’s burden to prove that you were indeed intoxicated. It’s not your job just to give up and do their job for them by pleading guilty.
What Is The Difference Between Hiring An Experienced DWI Attorney, Such As Yourself, Versus Having A Public Defender Or Doing It Alone?
There are a lot of public defenders out there that do very good work and have a lot of knowledge of DWIs. The major difference is time available to put into your case. It’s important to hire somebody that has the time coupled with the experience and knowledge to deal with DWIs appropriately. Every DWI case is different. Because of this, it’s important to be able to have somebody who can apply the science, and cross-reference that with your particular case to get you the best possible result. It’s important to have somebody who is up-to-date on the literature, and it’s important to have somebody who is up-to-date on the breathing tests and devices that the officer’s use. It’s essential to have somebody that gets positive results and who is not afraid to do what it takes to get a favorable result in your case.
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