What Is DWI?
Many people refer to a DWI as "drunk" driving, but the legal term is intoxication. Intoxication has three legal definitions in Texas. A person is intoxicated if they have:
- A blood alcohol content of .08 or greater, measured by blood or breath
- Loss of normal use of mental faculties by reason of alcohol or other substance
- Loss of normal use of physical faculties by reason of alcohol or other substance
The success rate in a DWI defense drops if you take a breath test and fail. In the absence of more information, we typically would advise against submitting to a breath test whose accuracy can be in doubt. If you have already failed a breath test, then it's important for your lawyer to find a way to challenge the results of the test and the accuracy of the police machine known as an Intoxilyzer.
What If A Blood Test Was Performed?
It is now common for police agencies to either request a blood test, or obtain a search warrant for such testing from a Judge. Like a failed breath test, without additional information, we recommend that you not provide consent for blood testing. Attorneys knowledgeable in this area will be familiar with not only the requirements for a legal blood search warrant, but also the technical requirements for valid blood testing including the validity of the collection method and the analysis. For example, blood must be placed in a certain type of tube which contains chemical agents suitable for the purpose. These commercially produced tubes have expiration dates that are frequently not noted by police or hospital personnel. Close examination of these and other issues can result in successful challenges to blood test evidence and possibly suppression of the results. Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists at Ball & Hase have many years of successfully presenting these issues to the prosecutor, court and if necessary, the jury.
Will Video Recordings Help In My Defense?
In most DWI cases, the prosecution will have evidence in the form of a video recording either from the police car at the scene, or at the police station, or both. We obtain such evidence and carefully review it with the client. What are referred to as Field Sobriety Tests are often depicted in this evidence. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has devised rules for the proper administration of these tests. It is not uncommon for even police officers to improperly conduct these FSTs. At Ball & Hase, we have the police training manuals and materials that were used to train the arresting officer. With these instruction materials, it can be determined whether the FSTs were properly done. And we must never forget that it has never been a requirement to obtain a license to drive that a person be able to pass these tests.
Will My Driver's License Be Suspended? What If It Was Already Suspended?
If you have been arrested for DWI, typically you will have had your driver's license taken and received a notice that it will be suspended if you either refuse a test, or provide a sample at or over the legal limit. That notice tells you that you have 15 days from date of arrest to request a hearing on the suspension. If you fail to request this hearing, your driver's license will be automatically suspended for at least 90 days if you failed a breathalyzer test and for at least 180 days if you refused to take a test.
We strongly encourage clients to have us arrange a suspension hearing. This hearing provides an opportunity for your lawyer to cross-examine the arresting officer. This may give your lawyer evidence which can be used to defend you in your criminal DWI trial. Your lawyer's most important goal is to help you avoid a DWI conviction. Even if your driver's license is suspended, your lawyer can keep you driving legally with an occupational license in most cases.
Schedule a consultation with an Arlington DWI/DUI defense attorney by calling 817-412-7449 or sending an email inquiry. We pledge a prompt response and a thoughtful analysis of your case when we meet with you for your initial consultation.