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Posted on in DWI

TX DWI lawyerTexas police officers cannot pull over a vehicle unless they have what is called “reasonable suspicion” that the driver is breaking the law. Arguing that the officer who arrested you for DWI did not have reasonable suspicion for the initial stop is one way that a lawyer can challenge a DWI charge. If the traffic stop was illegal in the first place, any charges stemming from it are likely to be dismissed. This is a very important standard to understand in the context of DWI defense.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, you will need an experienced attorney to give you the best odds of beating the charge. Texas’s DWI laws can be harsh and have a negative impact on your life for a long time.

What Does “Reasonable Suspicion” Mean?

An officer has reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop if an objective person who has observed what the officer has observed would come to the conclusion that the driver is violating a law. The officer must be able to point to observable, objective facts that led him to believe you were doing something illegal. A traffic stop cannot be based on a mere “hunch” or “gut feeling.”

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texas DWI defense lawyerThere are about 28 people killed in drunk-driving accidents each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Consequently, jurisdictions across the country prioritize preventing driving while intoxicated, or driving under the influence. The NHTSA teaches police officers to collect a host of information regarding every stage of the DWI stop. 

By streamlining the process, the authorities are hoping to build the strongest case against you and as a result increase their conviction rate. There are certainly a lot of reasons to discourage drunk driving. The first being they want to make the roads safer and prevent you or anyone else from being hurt or killed unnecessarily because of a DWI crash. 

Statute of Limitations for DWI

In the state of Texas, a DWI is usually considered a misdemeanor offense, which means the authorities must indict you within two years of the offense. So, if you are arrested for DWI on July 26, 2021, they have until July 26, 2023 to formally accuse you of the crime. Ordinarily, you are charged with the crime shortly after being arrested, but authorities might wait to charge you as they await lab results. 

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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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