DWI ISSUES TO CONSIDER
We at the Foster Law Firm do not promote people driving while intoxicated. The law in Texas does allow someone to drink and then drive if they are not intoxicated. Intoxicated in Texas means having lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol or if you have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. It is up to individuals to make the decision if they have had too much to drink and it has affected their abilities. Even if you think it hasn’t, it is still possible and you could suffer the consequences of being arrested for DWI. These consequences can be very sever depending on the charge. We will discuss some of these consequences and things to consider if you do decide to drive after you have been drinking. The best option to avoid these penalties is to not drink and drive at all.
When someone is stopped for a legal reason and suspected of having consumed alcohol that is when the DWI investigation begins. The reason for the stop can vary from speeding to your license plate light not working and all things in between. You should always check your car to confirm all lights are working including, tail lights, brake lights, head lights, and the light on your license plate. Be sure your inspection is up to date. The reason to believe you might be intoxicated could be the way you were driving along with an odor of alcohol or even just the odor of alcohol when the officer comes to the vehicle. Everything from this point on can be critical to your future and the charges that can be filed.
If you are pulled over after you have been drinking, the first thing to know is, you do not have to answer any questions. Always be polite and cooperative with law enforcement, they are just doing their job. However, this does not mean that you have to answer questions about consuming alcohol, where you are coming from, etc. You may tell the officer you are exercising your right to remain silent. You can refuse to do the balance tests, also known as a field sobriety test. They will most likely ask you to follow a pen. If you have been drinking your best choice is to be polite and refuse any test including, following of the pen or other object, the walking test, and one leg stand. If you do these tests, they will be used against you at a later trial. If you are stoped and they smell alcohol, you are most likely going to jail no matter how well you do on the test. If you refuse, they will proceed to arrest you by placing you in handcuffs and put you in their car. Please just be polite and cooperative and you will have the ability to dispute your case later. If you get angry or belligerent that will also be used against you. Be aware there is most likely a camera in the car recording video and audio of you. The best advise is to no talk, make faces or fall asleep.
Once arrested they may read you the statutory warning and ask you to take a blood or breath test. You again have the right refuse the test. If you refuse, your license may be suspended. I say may because as long as you request a hearing within 15 days of your arrest you can challenge the suspension. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU HIRE AN ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY to preserve this valuable right. Your license will most likely get suspended but there are times when it does not for various reasons. If you take the test and fail it you will also most likely be suspended. If you have been drinking it is best not to take the test. They then have the ability to get a warrant and take a blood test if they choose. Again, let them do that because sometimes, they make mistakes in the process. If you agree to take the test you have waived many important rights.
There are also other consequences of taking the test. If you take the test consensually or by warrant, and it is .15 or higher your first time DWI is moved from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor. This adjusts the range of punishment. Many counties are also now offering pretrial diversions programs for first time offenders however if the test amount is .15 or higher you may be disqualified. This is a very good reason not to take the test and risk disqualifying your self from this very important program. The PT diversion program is a great program that allows your case to eventually be dismissed if you complete the program.
If you have been arrested and taken to the jail it is important to continue to assert your rights not to answer questions other than your name. You have the right to not incriminate yourself and to not do any tests you are asked to take. You also should not discuss your matter with anyone in the jail including other inmates and guards. If you make a phone call to someone, remember that calls are recorded, so again do not say anything that could hurt your case. They do listen to these recordings and they do you use them against you.
Just remember, it is best to not drive if you are intoxicated or maybe drinking at all. If you are pulled over, be polite and cooperative with the officer but remember to not give up your rights and contact an attorney immediately after your arrest.