More Tips for Avoiding a DWI Conviction in Texas
If you’re pulled over and you smell like alcohol the odds are pretty good you’re going to be charged with driving while intoxicated. You can’t beat the ride but here are some to tips to beat the rap. [Disclaimer: We never condone drinking and driving, but here are a few tips to avoid a DWI conviction in Texas in case you may find yourself in a situation.]
1) Be Polite
Remember that everything you are saying and doing is being recorded. Most officers have digital video recorders in their vehicles and microphones on their body and in their car. Some officers even have a body cam. The take away from this is that you will be judged by your actions and how you conduct yourself. You may not be intoxicated, but if you’re rude to the officer a jury will take that into account. Don’t be cocky or arrogant about it either (no one likes the kid who says his dad’s a lawyer).
This applies after you’re arrested as well. I have represented many people who look fantastic on the video; they’re polite, respectful, and even look good on the field sobriety tests. That same person who seemed completely sober before being arrested completely changed demeanor once in the back of the police car. I’ve seen cases lost just because a person was belligerent in the back of the car. Finally, please try to stay awake in the back of the car. It can be hard (especially because it’s usually pretty late at night) but do everything you can to stay awake. If you fall asleep the camera will record it and the officer will claim that you “passed out” on the way to jail.
2) Refuse Tests
Once an officer asks you to step out of the car after you admit to him that you’ve been drinking you can bet he’s going to want you to do some DWI tests. He’ll tell you that the “Field Sobriety Tests” have been scientifically validated. You have an absolute right to refuse these tests. This probably isn’t the officer’s first rodeo—he’ll do anything he can to get you to submit to the tests. You always have the right to refuse but please remember to be polite about it.
Most officers will also ask you to submit to a breath test on the scene. It’s a small device about the size of a deck of playing cards. He’ll tell you that it’s only to detect the presence of alcohol. Hogwash, it absolutely gives the officer a breath test reading (i.e. tells the officer if you’re over .08). The problem with these devices is that they have not be scientifically validated and they are rarely calibrated. Do not give a sample in the device.
Once back at the station the officer will ask you to submit to a breath or blood test. You also have a right to refuse these as well and you should do so. Do not submit to testing.
In Austin you may have heard of something called a “no-refusal” weekend or event. All this means is that if you are arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and you refuse to give a breath or blood sample the officer will get a search warrant to get your blood. Don’t let this change your decision. Let the officer get a warrant. You should still refuse a voluntary breath or blood sample. If the officer does get a warrant you’ll have to give him blood then, but don’t submit until you’ve seen the warrant.
3) Be Quiet
When you see red and blues behind you in the middle of the night it’s natural for your heart to race. When you talk to the officer try to stop your mouth from racing too. The officer will typically ask you where you’re coming from, where you’re going and how much you’ve had to drink. It’s not a good idea to tell an officer that you’ve been partying all night and don’t know how much you’ve had to drink. This applies to drug use too—don’t admit to using and drugs. Remember that you have a right to refuse to answer the officer’s questions—don’t forget to be polite about it.
Finally, it’s important to remember that there is also a microphone in back of the police car—don’t talk to yourself if you find yourself in the back of a police car. It’s difficult to convince a jury you weren’t intoxicated if you mumble to yourself “why did I drink so much” or “I really messed up”. Don’t call the officer names under your voice either. The officer might not hear what you’re saying but I guarantee the microphone in the back of the car will hear you calling the officer an A$$.
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All of the lawyers with Gunter and Bennett have experience prosecuting and defending DWI cases in front of a jury.