DWI Lawyer in Austin, Texas
If you see red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror then do not panic, start planning ahead. If the officer who pulls you over finds enough reason to warrant an arrest you could end up at the station. From there you could find yourself stuck in jail all night, and eventually facing court changes. An Austin, Texas DWI Lawyer will represent your side of the story in court, and fight to stop any charges from marking your records.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) cases in Texas are common. They are probably the most litigated cases in our county courts. If you have ever had anything to drink and then driven a car, you have put yourself at risk of going to jail for DWI. I would estimate that 75% of all misdemeanor cases I take to trial are DWIs. Due to their prevalence in our society, a defense lawyer must be fluent in the science, terminology, and techniques related to DWI case.
DWI Laws in Texas
The laws in Texas that cover DWI cases are straightforward and follow some standard guidelines. A police officer will pull you over due to spotting any suspicious behavior. The officer will then be able to check for any evidence of alcohol. If they deem that there is evidence enough then you will be tested for inebriation before being arrested.
The police are able to issue chemical tests for alcohol after an arrest to check if your blood alcohol level, or BAC, is above the legal limit of 0.08%. You are free to refuse the tests and encouraged to contact a legal representative as soon as possible. If arrested then the incident goes on file at the station, which will follow you for life unless you take legal action.
Austin DWI Penalties
DWI conviction brings multiple, layering punishments that you will want to defend against. Your first DWI conviction will net you possible fines, jail time, and license revocation. DWI convictions stack up, and the more you have on file the worse penalties you will face. By the third offense you will not only lose your driver’s license, but also face heavily increased incarceration time and fees. Every DWI case counts and lacking defense for any single one will make matters much more difficult for you down the line.
Effects of an Austin DWI Conviction
Reports over the years show that there is an average of 1 injury every twenty minutes in Texas due to a DWI driver. Since the rate of injury is so high in Texas the penalties for DWI drivers work to ensure second thoughts before the crime. You will have a mark on your record, increasing the penalties you will face for any subsequent convictions. Transportation penalties after a DWI conviction include license changes, car modifications or impoundment.
Your Austin DWI Defense
You may think that there is no way to counter DWI charges, but you would be wrong. A court should know the full facts of the matter and why you do not deserve conviction. Were you pulled over for no reason, improperly tested, or under duress? Being arrested does not mean automatic conviction and defending yourself in court is your legal right.
NHTSA has a training program every peace officer takes in their academy. I have taken it 3 times. It splits DWI investigations into 3 different portions 1) Vehicle in Motion; 2) Personal Contact; and 3) Pre-Arrest Screening. You are being evaluated for different “signs” of DWI in each one.
Vehicle in Motion
In the first stage, the police are looking for 20 some odd driving cues that they believe are consistent with drunk driving. Things like swerving, weaving, taking a wide right turn, are all listed as cues. Speeding is not listed as a driving cue.
This phase is where the officer is trained to use his senses to detect any signs of intoxication. His sight for open alcohol containers, blood shot and glassy eyes, soiled clothing, etc. His hearing for slurred speech, how many drinks you had. His smell for odor of alcohol. The officer will use the first two phases to determine if phase 3 is necessary. It is a very minimum threshold. For example, if he doesn’t see anything in phase 1 but smells alcohol, get ready to do field sobriety testing in phase 3.
This phase is the one most think about during a DWI investigation. It involves an interview of the person, and then field sobriety tests. There are 3 “standardized” field sobriety tests (FSTs) that are part of the NHTSA training, and a handful of other tests they recommend in the event the FSTs aren’t appropriate for whatever reason, but those tests have no real standardization or reliability (I would also argue the same about the standardized FSTs). The first FST is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) aka the “pen” test. Officers will take about 90 seconds waving their magic wand in front of your eyes and claim to see something that shows you’re intoxicated. Further, the officer will claim he can approximate your blood alcohol content from this test (my eyes are rolling and its not from nystagmus). The next test is the Walk and Turn, you know it as the walk the line. There are complex instructions, and 8 clues involved here. You don’t get to know what they are. If you show 2 of them, then you have “failed. Finally, the One Leg Stand is the final FST. This is where you have to stand on one leg for 30 seconds without putting your foot down, raising your arms from your side, swaying, or hopping. If you do 2 of those 4, then you’re out of here.
After the 3 phases the officer makes an arrest decision. If he believes he has probable cause (another low threshold for a decision), then you go to jail. Once you are placed under arrest, only then do you get a chance to provide a specimen of breath or blood. You should do neither. However, if you do, and you’re under the legal limit of .08, guess what? You still will spend the night in jail, be charged with DWI, and have to bond out and get a lawyer. If you find yourself or a family member in this situation, please give my office a call. I have the essential tools to fight your case and the advanced training to counter the officers involved. Save your license, save your job, and save your freedom.
The DWI Lawyers of Will Mitchell Law work with Clients in Austin, Texas and Surrounding Areas
Being brought in on DWI charges means that you will need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The law office of Will Mitchell focuses on DWI law and delivering you the legal you will need in Austin, Texas court. Work with us to bring your case together and build up your legal defense. Call now for free consultation on your DWI case today.