It's a huge part of Texas culture: football season has officially kicked off. Game day often includes beer or other alcoholic beverages. It isn't much of a surprise that law enforcement officers chose these days for stepped up DWI enforcement.
Texas has strict drunk driving laws. Because penalties can include up to $17,000 in fines, jail time and the loss of your license, you need to take a DWI charge seriously. If accused of drunk driving, you need to contact an aggressive defense attorney right away.
What reasons are legitimate to justify a stop?
The flashing lights are often triggered because of speed, failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or a cracked tail light. Then it generally becomes a matter of what the law enforcement officer smells while asking for your license and registration.
In Texas, although the legal limit is 0.08, you can be arrested if an officer believes you are impaired. This is a broad standard that means many stops end in an arrest. And for drivers under the age of 21 any amount of alcohol will justify a charge.
Unfortunately, most people cannot determine whether the reason for the stop was in fact legitimate. A skilled attorney, however, can identify when no reasonable suspicion existed to support the initial stop. In these cases, the court may bar the prosecution from using certain evidence. Often this results in dismissed or reduced charges.
Subjective nature of field sobriety tests
The three main field sobriety tests are the Walk and Turn, One-Leg Stand and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. Numerous factors can interfere with these tests. High heels or a knee injury could be characterized a fail. Some of these tests may be difficult for certain people to complete while sober.
You need to know that you do not need to submit to these tests. The opinion of the officer makes analysis of your performance subjective. You can be respectful to the office and still refuse to complete these tests.
Designated drivers avoid the issue in the first place
A TxDOT reminder is that a designated driver should not be the person considered "the least drunk." It is difficult to measure one's blood alcohol concentration, which means that the sober driver should avoid all alcohol.
DWI convictions carry fines up to $10,000 without considering driver renewal fees and increases to insurance premiums. Even a first offense will often carry three days in jail. Multiple offenses can extend the time you spend behind bars. Automatic driver's license suspension can make it near impossible to get to work or school.
At Harris Cook LLC, our criminal defense attorney can often utilize tools to minimize the consequences. Pretrial and diversionary programs may even be available that can keep a conviction off your record and help you move on with your life.