Being charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas is a daunting experience. There are serious, life-altering consequences to a conviction. You face hefty fines and jail time. Your car insurance premiums will likely increase and you may lose your license to drive. You may be ordered to attend an alcohol educational program. An ignition interlock device may be installed on your car so that if you have a positive blood alcohol content (BAC), your car will not start.
The penalties increase with each subsequent charge. Likewise,the penalties increase as your BAC increases. You may think the situation is hopeless, but an experienced DWI defense attorney will review your case and determine if there are challenges that can be made. Your constitutional rights may have been violated if there was no probable cause to stop your vehicle or you were not told about your right to remain silent after your arrest. There are other challenges that can be made to the evidence.
Challenges to the improper administration of field sobriety tests
Law enforcement may have asked you to do a number of field sobriety tests. You have a right to refuse to participate, but officers almost never inform detained drivers of this. No matter how many things you were asked you to do, only three field sobriety tests are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- The one leg stand.
- Walk and turn test.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.
The results of these tests are totally subjective according to the opinion of the administering officer. Each requires detailed instructions to be given in order for them to be valid and there are conditions that will invalidate the results such as:
- Medical conditions that may affect the tests such as back, feet or knee injuries.
- Vertigo or balance problems in general.
- Being overweight.
- Being over the age of 65.
- Type of shoes you were wearing.
- Terrain of location where tests were administered.
- Weather conditions.
- Light conditions.
Challenges to the improper administration of the Breathalyzer test
Your BAC is the main determining factor of whether or not you will be convicted of DWI. If you are over the age of 21 with a BAC of 0.08 you may be convicted of DWI. The BAC is usually determined by a Breathalyzer test. Challenges that can be made to the accuracy of the test results include:
- The Breathalyzer was not properly calibrated or maintained. Law enforcement must provide logs to defense attorneys upon their request.
- The officer who conducted the test was not properly certified.
- The test was not properly administered. If you chewed gum, burped, threw up, used mouthwash, used hand-sanitizer, had a breath mint, used breath spray or anything similar within 20 minutes of the administering of the test, the tests results can be invalid.
In addition, there are several medical conditions that can result in false positive Breathalyzer BAC results, for example:
- Hypoglycemia, a common condition of diabetics. In addition to resulting in a false positive, the behavior of a person with hypoglycemia may mimic that of someone under the influence of alcohol, such as slurred speech.
- High protein, low carbohydrate diets.
- Liver or kidney diseases.
- Using breath spray or hand sanitizer containing alcohol shortly before the administration of the test.
There are other defenses that may be available to you. Contact an experienced DWI attorney who will help you decide how to proceed.