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Grant M. Scheiner - Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer

Tag Archives: Houston DWI attorney

The Houston DWI attorneys at Scheiner Law Group, P.C. are dedicated to providing you with the latest research and news regarding DWI information in Houston, TX and Greater Harris county. Learn about DWI checkpoints and what to do if you’ve been charged with driving while intoxicated.

Be Safe and Know Your Rights This Labor Day Weekend

Several media outlets have reported that DPS has stepped up its DWI enforcement in anticipation of Labor Day Weekend, traditionally one of the biggest for alcohol related arrests (read stories here, here and here). “What we’re doing is putting every available trooper out on the roadways,” a DPS official told a San Antonio Radio Station. “Even those individuals who are usually behind a desk in the office will be on patrol.” Additionally, many counties, like Galveston County, will be running “No Refusal” programs, joining counties like Harris County where this policy is in effect at all times (read the story here).

There is no doubt that keeping our roadways safe is a very high priority. But as we have noted in the past, “No Refusal” Weekends have the effect of eroding the rights of those accused of crimes, and appear to be a part of a deliberate misinformation campaign on behalf of state agencies. As must have been obvious to the program’s founders, the name “no refusal” is often being interpreted to literally mean that a person suspected of DWI cannot legally refuse a chemical test. But this is not the case: A DWI suspect has every right to refuse a chemical test at all times, but during “No Refusal” weekends law enforcement will usually apply for a search warrant, something they are legally entitled to do anyway on any weekend.

Additionally, “No Refusal” weekends encourage police officers to illegally warn suspects that they “better just blow” or else blood will be taken anyway.  Any DWI defense attorney knows that these types of warnings are illegal because they are coercive (in other words, someone is being told “blow into this machine or get poked by this sharp needle – your choice”) and not contained in the warnings police are supposed to read to DWI suspects.

Although keeping our roadways safe is a high priority, so is preserving the integrity of our justice system. But far too often, DWI suspects are treated differently. This Labor Day Weekend, stay safe, but know your rights!

What are my odds of beating my Texas DUI or DWI case?

Many people charged with DWI or DUI in Texas are understandably very anxious about their pending case. It is not surprising that a person charged with a Texas DUI or DWI will want to ask his or her lawyer how likely it is that the case will be dismissed, or resolved favorably.

Unfortunately, at least at an initial consultation, a criminal defense attorney can usually not answer that. This is because the lawyer will not have all of the evidence needed to evaluate the DWI or DWI case. Before offering an opinion as to what the likely result of a case is, a criminal defense lawyer will want to inspect the police report, view any videos related to the case, and obtain the results of any chemical test. Additionally, if there is a chemical test, an experienced DWI or DUI criminal defense attorney will also want to make sure the chemical test is reliable by examining the underlying data. In Harris County and most Texas counties, it can take several weeks before all of this is accomplished.

We commonly tell our clients that a DWI or DUI case can be handled quickly, or it can be handled right. Conducting a thorough investigation takes time and patience, but the effort pays dividends. If a Texas DWI or DUI case is handled properly, that can ensure the best possible outcome.  If you or someone you know is charged with DUI, DWI or any criminal offense in Houston, Texas or anywhere in the State, the attorneys at Scheiner Law Group are an excellent choice.

What to Expect From a DWI in Texas – A Brief Overview

Many people charged with DWI have no experience with the criminal justice system, and are unsure of what to expect after being cited for DWI in Texas. Here are a few tips on what you can expect from your DWI case, and what your attorney will do to fight to keep the charges off of your record

In Texas, first time DWI is a Class “B” misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $2000 fine, or both. You may also be put on probation, or assessed other conditions, like an ignition interlock.

As soon as possible, your attorney should begin gathering the evidence necessary to defend your case. In a DWI case, this will include, at a minimum, obtaining a copy of the video showing the traffic stop and your performance on field sobriety tests, the police report, and the results of any breath or blood tests. Your DWI attorney will also want to look at other information, such as the background of the officers who arrested you, and information relating to the performance of the machines used in your chemical test.

Once your attorney learns about your case, he will begin fighting on your behalf. DWI cases usually end in one of three ways: dismissal, trial, or plea agreement.

A dismissal is possible under many circumstances. For example, if your attorney proves in court that the police did not have probable cause to stop or arrest you, that could lead to the dismissal of your case. Also, often your attorney can convince prosecutors that they will not be able to convict you at trial, and they may chose to dismiss your case.

If your case is not dismissed, your DWI case may go to trial where a jury will decide if your are guilty, or not guilty, based on evidence presented in court. In all criminal trials it is the prosecution’s burden to prove that someone is guilty of committing an offense. In a DWI case, it is often difficult for the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, because the science that DWIs are based on, including the field sobriety tests and the chemical tests, are unreliable. A good DWI attorney will know how to exploit weaknesses in the State’s case, with the goal of obtaining a “not guilty” verdict.

What to Expect From a Texas DWI – An Overview of DWI in Texas

Many people charged with DWI have no experience with the criminal justice system, and are unsure of what to expect after being cited for DWI in Texas. Here are a few tips on what you can expect from your DWI case, and what your attorney will do to fight to keep the charges off of your record

In Texas, first time DWI is a Class “B” misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a $2000 fine, or both. You may also be put on probation, or assessed other conditions, like an ignition interlock.

As soon as possible, your attorney should begin gathering the evidence necessary to defend your case. In a DWI case, this will include, at a minimum, obtaining a copy of the video showing the traffic stop and your performance on field sobriety tests, the police report, and the results of any breath or blood tests. Your DWI attorney will also want to look at other information, such as the background of the officers who arrested you, and information relating to the performance of the machines used in your chemical test.

Once your attorney learns about your case, he will begin fighting on your behalf. DWI cases usually end in one of three ways: dismissal, trial, or plea agreement.

A dismissal is possible in some circumstances. For example, if your attorney proves in court that the police did not have probable cause to stop or arrest you, that could lead to the dismissal of your case. Also, often your attorney can convince prosecutors that they will not be able to convict you at trial, and they may chose to dismiss your case.

If your case is not dismissed, your DWI case may go to trial where a jury will decide if your are guilty, or not guilty, based on evidence presented in court. In all criminal trials it is the prosecution’s burden to prove that someone is guilty of committing an offense. In a DWI case, it is often difficult for the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, because the science that DWIs are based on, including the field sobriety tests and the chemical tests, are unreliable. A good DWI attorney will know how to exploit weaknesses in the State’s case, with the goal of obtaining a “not guilty” verdict.

What to Expect if You Are Charged With DWI in Texas

Many people charged with DWI have no experience with the criminal justice system, and are unsure of what to expect after being cited for DWI in Texas. The following is meant as a brief overview of what first-time DWI offenders can expect in Houston and Texas.

The penalties for DWI can range from nothing (if your case is dismissed or if you are acquitted at trial) to 180 days in jail, a $2000 fine, or both, if you are convicted. You may also be put on probation for as much as two years.

DWI cases can take up to several months to defend properly. Your DWI lawyer will need to evaluate your case by obtaining the offense report, watching any videos related to the case, and obtaining the results of chemical tests, which can include breath test results or blood test results (currently in Harris County, blood samples take several months to be analyzed). DWI cases typically end in one of three ways: dismissal, trial, or by plea agreement. Once your DWI attorney has all the evidence needed to defend your case, he or she will have a good idea what is the best possible outcome in your case.

In addition to the DWI case, you will also have to defend your driver’s license in what is known as an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) case. Your ALR case generally has no effect on the criminal case, and vice versa. If you consented to a breath or blood test, the Department of Public Safety will try to suspend your license for 90 days, or 180 if you refused. After you are arrested, you have 15 days to request a hearing; otherwise your license will be suspended automatically for the applicable time period. If you request a hearing (which is strongly advisable) the department will have to prove that there was probable cause to stop your vehicle, and to arrest you.

By hiring an experienced team of DWI lawyers, you can maximize your chances of obtaining the best result in your Texas DWI and ALR case. It is important to note that DWI law tends to be specialized, and it may be wise to hire Houston lawyers who focus on DWI cases.

Houston Lab Under Scrutiny After Last Week’s Hearing

The Houston Crime Lab faced increased scrutiny last week after a former lab supervisor testified that she quit because she could no longer trust the accuracy of breath test results from some HPD breath testing equipment in DWI cases. (Read the Houston Chronicle story here).

“We could no longer choose between a paycheck and our integrity,” said Amanda Culbertson at the hearing. Culbertson, who along with a another supervisor, Jorge Wong, abruptly left the HPD crime lab recently, said breath testing equipment in the department’s vans was prone to overheat and provide inaccurate readings.

What is truly frightening about this is that it took the departure of two analysts from the Houston Crime Lab before these allegations came to light. It is now up to the District Attorney’s Office to conduct a thorough investigation to determine how many Houston and Harris County DWI cases have been affected by faulty breath testing equipment. There is absolutely no excuse for flawed evidence to be used in court against anyone.

DPS Fourth of July DWI “Crackdown” Nets Over 1400 Arrests

According to the Department of Public Safety, over the Fourth of July Weekend, 1,406 people were arrested for DWI (read the Houston press article on the story here). This number – large enough on its own – does not include DWI arrests made by local law enforcement agencies across the state.

There are several problems with designated DWI-crackdown weekends, but the one most relevant here is that their stated purpose is to make as many DWI arrests as possible. In other words, the more arrests, the more successful the weekend in the eyes of law enforcement and organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The problem, of course, is that when the goal is quantity over quality, many innocent people end up being arrested for DWI. This is simply unacceptable.

Why You Should Challenge a DUI or DWI based on a Breath Test

People understand that all machines are prone to error. Very few people, if any, would agree that some machines work perfectly all of the time. And yet in Texas DWI or DUI cases, most people believe that if there was a breath test, the case will result in a conviction if it ends up in trial. This is a common misconception. An experienced Houston, TX, DWI and DUI criminal defense attorney can successfully challenge the science behind a breath test.

In Houston, Texas DWI or DUI breath test cases, the machine used will almost definitely have been the Intoxilyzer. A top Houston DWI or DUI attorney will be familiar with the functioning of this machine and know how to best challenge its results. There are several common ways a DUI or DWI lawyer will challenge the results of an Intoxilyzer in a Houston DWI or DWI case. This includes questioning:

-Whether a reading was affected by residual alcohol from a person’s burp that may have interfered with the reading.

-Whether the machine was properly calibrated and functioning normally

-Whether the machine was operated properly by someone trained and certified to use it

-Whether the machine gave similar readings in other tests, suggesting a systemic error

-Whether the breath test slip and other data shows errors or misreadings

The Intoxilyzer is by its nature a highly unreliable piece of equipment and any result should be challenged by an experienced DWI or DUI criminal defense attorney. A Houston DWI and DUI lawyer will want to examine the accompanying date produced at the time of the test, along with other tests given on that particular machine.

If you are arrested for DWI, DUI or any criminal offense, the lawyers of the Houston, TX office of Scheiner Law Group are an excellent choice and can help successfully challenge the results of any chemical test, including a breath test. Call the criminal defense attorneys at the Houston, Texas office of Scheiner Law Group today to schedule a free consultation.

Voluntary encounters, temporary detentions, and arrests

Contacts between citizens and law enforcement generally fall into one of three categories: 1) voluntary encounters, 2) temporary detentions; and, 3) arrests. Whether you have been approached on suspicion of DWI, DUI, a drug charge, or some other criminal offense, your criminal defense attorney will want to investigate the nature of your encounter with the police to see if the police acted appropriately.

As the name implies, a voluntary encounter is simply a voluntary meeting with the police where a suspect is free to leave. The police do not need any sort of proof to conduct a voluntary encounter. However, in many cases, a voluntary encounter will turn into something else by a police officer’s show of authority that could make a suspect believe he is not free to leave. For example, if the Houston police are investigating a drug transaction, and approach an individual on the street for a friendly chat about what he may have seen, that will usually constitute a voluntary encounter. However, when the suspect attempts to leave and the police officer orders him to leave, then it ceases to become voluntary.

When a voluntary encounter becomes non-consensual, it can turn into a temporary detention.  To justify a temporary detention, a police officer needs reasonable suspicion to believe that an offense has been committed and that the person detained was involved. Reasonable suspicion can exist when an officer sees evidence that someone – like a driver in a DUI, DWI or drug case – is committing an offense but needs to observe the suspect more closely to verify his suspicion. The law allows the officer an opportunity to briefly detain a suspect for this purpose as long as he has reasonable suspicion. Far to often, when investigating DWI, DUI, drug crimes or other criminal offenses, police act on no more than a hunch.

If an officer chooses to arrest someone, he needs to meet the standard of probable cause. Although the definition of probable cause varies, it is essentially constitutes enough evidence to convince a reasonable person that a crime has been committed. The information has to be trustworthy. Far too often, police in DWI, DUI, drug cases, sexual assault cases, or other kinds of criminal offenses act with less than probable cause, and that can cause evidence to be excluded from court. This can often lead to a dismissal of a case.

Search and seizure law can be very complicated and an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney can help determine if your rights were violated by law enforcement. Far too often, law enforcement officers exceed the scope of what they are Constitutionally permitted to do, and an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer can use that to your advantage in a DUI, DWI, drug case, or any criminal offense. If you are arrested for DUI, DWI, a drug offense, a sexual offense or any criminal offense, the lawyers of the Houston, Texas office of Scheiner Law Group are highly experienced with search and seizure law and can help protect your rights.

Testifying at a DUI or DWI trial

Deciding whether or not to testify at your DWI or DUI trial is an important decision that you should make only after consulting with your Houston DWI or DUI lawyer about the pros and cons of testifying. Many people who have been arrested for drunk driving want to take the stand. Sometimes this is a good idea, but if a defendant testifies poorly, it could be damaging.

If you are going to testify at your trial, it is important that you go in knowing what to expect. A good Houston DWI or DUI attorney won’t coach you about what to say, but will give you advance notice of the questions you are likely to be asked by him and by the prosecutor.

Your Houston DWI or DUI attorney will ask you about many other subjects, including where you were, how much you had been drinking, how and why you were pulled over, what field sobriety tests were conducted, etc. You can discuss these subjects with your lawyer.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving and are not already represented by a Houston DWI or DUI lawyer, contact the Houston, Texas office of Scheiner Law Group, P.C. at (713) 783-8998(713) 783-8998 for a free case consultation.