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frisco DWI defense lawyerWhen a police officer believes you are driving while intoxicated, they will work through a process to build the strongest possible case against you. This process involves asking a series of questions about your whereabouts and recent alcohol consumption, they will request that you participate in a series of field sobriety tests, and finally, they will request that you submit to chemical testing. To say this a different way, building the strongest possible DWI case requires your compliance. You may wonder how you should respond to the officer’s requests.

Implied Consent

All 50 states have implied consent laws, which means that when you get your driver’s license, you inherently agree to submit to chemical tests if an officer believes you are under the influence of an intoxicant while driving a vehicle. The legal concept of implied consent does not apply to answering questions or field sobriety tests. Yet, it does apply to the breathalyzer, the device in which you blow into and then uses your breath to measure your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). 

What makes implied consent confusing is that you might only hear about it after you have been arrested for DWI. Even though you don’t technically have a choice, it is still presented as optional. So, you might be wondering why you would help the officer find incriminating evidence against you? 

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Posted on in DWI

TExas criminal defense lawyerIn local jurisdictions across the country, it is often considered a high priority for police to make arrests for driving under the influence. While laws may vary and terminology may change -- DUI instead of DWI, for instance -- most police officers follow the same procedures for identifying, investigating, and ultimately determining to arrest a driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, how do police investigate a DWI?

The NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created the standards and guidelines for DWI investigation and also provide training and instruction materials for police agencies nationwide. According to the DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Test Manual, a police officer should investigate a DWI in three phases 

Phase One - Vehicle in Motion

Phase one is often initiated when a driver makes an obvious traffic violation. In police training, the infraction might be presented as a driver swerving over the line or speeding. However, there are other noteworthy observations an officer can make like seeing a driver stop abruptly or too early at a stop sign, or driving well under the speed limit. If strange behavior is identified, the officer might follow the vehicle until an infraction is made, so he or she has probable cause to make the stop. 

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TX DWI lawyerDriving while intoxicated by alcohol or other substances is unlawful in all fifty U.S. states. However, knowing when a driver is too intoxicated to drive safely is not always easy. Portable breath alcohol tests like breathalyzers are designed to measure the amount of alcohol on someone’s breath and use that information to calculate the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). The results of these tests are not always accurate, however. As a result, many people wonder, “Will I go to jail for drunk driving if I fail a breathalyzer test?”

What Happens During a DWI Stop?

When a police officer suspects that a driver may be under the influence, he or she has a few options. Sometimes, the officer asks the driver to complete a field sobriety test. These tests assess a person’s coordination and body responses to determine if they are under the influence. However, illnesses, injuries, and a host of other issues can interfere with these tests. Breath tests are often used in addition to or in place of a field sobriety test.

There Are Two Types of Breath Tests in Texas

Police officers carry portable breath tests which are often referred to as breathalyzers. These tests can be inaccurate. Consequently, the results of this preliminary breath test are usually not admissible as evidence during legal proceedings. A preliminary breath test is used to determine if there is enough evidence of intoxication to make an arrest. You are under no legal obligation to take a preliminary breath test.

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TX defense lawyerWhen we think about driving while intoxicated (DWI), alcohol or illicit drugs typically come to mind. However, this is not the only substance that may lead to DWI charges in Texas. Many Texans are surprised to learn that driving after taking a prescription medication can sometimes lead to criminal charges – even if the driver was prescribed the medication by a doctor. The penalties for driving under the influence of a prescription drug are the same as those for drunk driving. If you or a loved one have been arrested for DWI because of driving while under the influence of prescription medication, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.

Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicating Medicine Can Lead to Criminal Consequences

Over two-thirds of US adults take at least one prescription medication. Understandably, there may be a time when someone who takes prescription medication needs to drive. However, Texas law states that driving while under the influence of any intoxicating substance can lead to DWI charges. Even if you are taking the drug legally for a legitimate medical purpose, you can still face criminal consequences.

Texas law defines “intoxicated” as:

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TX DWI lawyerIn Texas, a driver can be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) for having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. To determine whether a driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit, police officers may conduct a field sobriety test or a breath alcohol test such as a breathalyzer. Many Texas drivers have questions about their legal rights during a traffic stop. You may have wondered, “Do I have to take a breathalyzer test?” or “What happens if I refuse a chemical BAC test?”

Preliminary Roadside BAC Tests

The majority of DWI arrests begin with one of two scenarios. The first occurs when a police officer notices that a driver is drifting between lanes, turning with an unusually wide radius, weaving in and out of traffic, or otherwise shows signs of intoxicated driving. The second scenario occurs when an officer pulls a driver over for an offense like speeding or a broken taillight and then notices signs of intoxication such as the smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath.

In either of these scenarios, the officer may ask the driver to take a roadside breathalyzer test. Preliminary breath tests are designed more for portability than for accuracy. Consequently, the results of a roadside breath test are not usually admissible in court as evidence of drunk driving.

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