According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 10,332 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in 2012. That’s 28 DWI fatalities each day. The figure for the state of Texas was 1,296 people, or 3.5 people a day, or 12 percent of the national total.
The fact that you may have been drinking before getting behind the wheel of a car and driving does not mean that you were driving while intoxicated. Any Galveston County DWI lawyer will tell you that drinking and driving in itself is not against the law. If your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit for driving, .08 percent, and your driving ability is not impaired, then you should not bear the serious lifelong consequences of a DWI conviction in the public’s well-intentioned zeal to clean up the streets.
On the flip side, if you are over the legal limit and/or you do not have the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to ingestion of alcohol or any other substance, then you may be prosecuted. Even so, you have the same rights as any other American being prosecuted for any other crime. The job of our top criminal defense attorney in Galveston County is to make sure you know what these rights are and that they are not violated. Whenever possible, your attorney should strive to keep a DWI conviction off of your record and keep your driving privileges intact.
DWI Accidents Involving Law Enforcement
While every DWI case is unique, some are more unusual than others. A case in point is if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with another motorist, which can range from a minor fender bender to serious injury or death. Your natural reaction might be seek a plea deal and accept a conviction, putting the incident behind you as quickly as possible. However, it is often a big mistake to assume that your DWI case cannot be won. At times like this, you really need a DWI attorney in Galveston County representing your interests and protecting your rights.
On February 23, 2014, a retired Houston policeman was killed and his wife critically injured while riding a motorcycle on Seawall Blvd in the early evening when an allegedly drunk 19-year-old woman drove out of a parking lot and hit their bike. She was taken to Galveston County Jail, charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault and held on $150,000 bond.
In these types of cases, emotions will be running high within the law enforcement community and the pressure to secure convictions in both cases will be intense. A criminal defense attorney in Galveston County should know that under these circumstances and in the face of this pressure, the officers involved can make mistakes. Galveston County attorneys often focus their defense efforts on events surrounding the arrest and initial processing of a DWI suspect.
Challenging Chemical Tests on Medical Grounds
This is where your Galveston County lawyer needs more than a thorough knowledge of DWI law. A DWI attorney in Galveston County needs to have a thorough understanding of human physiology and biochemistry. Chemical tests for blood alcohol levels are based on normal parameters for healthy, average people. Countless medical conditions may affect the accuracy of chemical tests. Galveston County attorneys often point to these conditions to invalidate the results of chemical and/or field sobriety tests. Some of the medical conditions that can compromise the validity of these tests include diabetes, inner ear conditions, faulty dental work, flu, heartburn, lung disease, air bag accidents and the female reproductive cycle. In blood draw cases, numerous errors can occur, beginning with the blood draw practitioner (usually a nurse or phlebotomist) and on through the chain of custody (failure to properly preserve or refrigerate the blood sample) and including the lab analysis of the specimen. Sometimes preservatives or blood test kits are expired or samples are simply mislabelled.
In November 2013, a judge in Galveston’s 10th District Court acquitted a woman arrested for felony DWI. Her Galveston County DWI lawyer pointed out that the officer testified to not smelling alcohol on her body. The judge ruled that there was reasonable doubt based on the defendant’s claim of low blood sugar levels. However, because trials before a judge are very unusual, it is imperative to find a DWI defense attorney with a lengthy and successful trial record in these types of cases.
Seeking a plea agreement with a prosecutor should almost never be your attorneys first resort. However, in the right type of case, Galveston County lawyers may seek to have a DWI charge reduced to a lesser offense. Beginning September 2014, Galveston County began placing first-time DWI defenders in pre-trial diversion programs, which can result in a charge being dismissed. Of course, a skilful attorney may also find other ways to have your DWI charge dismissed.
Drunk in Charge of a Golf Cart
Another type of DWI that Galveston County attorneys don’t see every day involves golf carts. In the State of Texas, where the weather is warm and people play golf all year round, golf carts may be driven off-course in planned communities and on the beach, whether public or private. A golf cart may also be driven across the street, provided the speed limit is below 35 miles per hour. While visits to the 19th hole are not uncommon, driving a golf cart while over the limit is a serious matter.
In August 2013, at around 11 pm, a man on Galveston Beach was sitting near the water on a beach chair. A 49-year-old man who was driving a golf cart down the beach without the lights on and ran over the man, who suffered serious injuries that included a broken back and neck. The driver was taken for a mandatory blood draw and charged with DWI.