Whether it is your first time or your fourth time, getting charged with a DWI in Texas can be a frightening and stressful experience. Fortunately, a charge does not mean you are automatically guilty of the crime. You still have a chance to avoid serving severe penalties by hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can build a strong and personalized defense strategy to either reduce your charges or get your case dismissed entirely.
The following are the most common defenses to DWI charges:
- Improper stop by law enforcement – According to the U.S. Constitution, the police is prohibited from stopping or pulling over a private citizen without establishing “reasonable suspicion.” This means that law enforcement requires more than just a “gut feeling” that a person is committing or has committed a crime. So if you were obeying all traffic laws and driving at the proper speed limit, your lawyer can argue that the police did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you, making any evidence related to the case inadmissible.
- Symptoms of intoxication do not equal intoxicated driving – Reddened eyes, slurred speech, and an unsteady gait are all objective symptoms of intoxication for law enforcement. However, an experienced attorney understands that there are “innocent” explanations for signs of intoxication, such as drowsiness, allergies, or eye irritation.
- Police failed to perform a 15-minute observation period – Prior to administering a breath test, the officer is required to observe a DWI suspect for 15 complete minutes to ensure that the person hasn’t smoked, vomited, or placed anything in his or her mouth before taking the test. In many cases, during this time they complete paperwork or set up the testing device, instead of observing the suspect’s actions and conditions.
- Field sobriety test results are inaccurate – If the field sobriety test has been improperly administered, your lawyer may challenge the results. These tests are typically subjective and depend heavily on the police officer’s own observations.
- Inadequate blood tests and storage of samples – If you elect to take a blood test, police can arrange one with the help of a licensed phlebotomist. However, if the test isn’t administered in a timely manner or if an untrained technician performs the draw, then the results could be challenged in court. Furthermore, if the sample is somehow contaminated, fermented, or mislabeled, it could be inadmissible in court.