A DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charge is typically considered a misdemeanor on the first offense in Texas; however, the consequences of a conviction can be far more serious than other misdemeanor charges. A DWI conviction could mean jail time, fines, administrative fees, and a possible suspended license.
To help you avoid these harsh penalties, this guide to contesting a DWI charge aims to help you prepare yourself should you be charged. It may not come as a surprise, but we strongly recommend seeking the consultation of an attorney who specializes in DWI defense cases to help improve your chances to successfully fight a DWI charge. However if you choose to proceed, here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:
- Record as many details of the incident as possible Write down anything you remember about getting pulled over for an alleged DWI, including what you and the officers said, what tests they asked you to perform and how they were conducted both on their part and yours, and any other specifics you recall.
- Learn about the validity of field sobriety tests Many of the procedures that police offers use during a field sobriety test to make a DWI charge are not always accurate and can sometimes be successfully challenged in court. If you were asked to perform any, research about the validity of each of them.
- Consider any extenuating circumstances that may influence sobriety tests People with injuries, certain medical conditions, are past a certain age, or more than 50 lbs. overweight can fail certain tests, such as the walk-and-turn, even if they havent consumed any alcohol.
- Field Sobriety tests improperly administered According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, improperly administered field tests are not valid as evidence of intoxication.
- Consider the validity of non–standardized field sobriety tests Some of the most common testsincluding saying the alphabet, counting backwards and touching your nose with your fingercan be considered invalid as evidence and can lead to a dismissal of charges.
- Breath tests are not always accurate Many alcohol breath tests can have widely inaccurate results and a margin of error large enough to help contest a DWI charge. The breath test may not have been properly administered as well, in which case the evidence would be deemed inadmissible.
- Lack of probable cause to arrest A police officer must have specific facts to support any arrest for DWI, or the suspension will be reversed and the evidence suppressed at trial.
This guide to contesting a DWI should serve as an initial overview for you to consider if you are charged. As mentioned before, having a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in DWI cases review the specifics of your arrest can help you sort through all of the possible reasons for contesting a charge.
To learn more about contesting a DWI charge, contact Scheiner Law Group today.