Beating a DWI Charge in Texas

Posted on in Criminal Law

texas defense lawyerBeing charged with a DWI or DUI is never an ideal situation to be in, but understanding your legal rights and hiring the right DWI/DUI defense attorney can help you build a strong defense. Your lawyer will make sure that the traffic stop was justified and may challenge the accuracy of any field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests. Even though these tests are commonly used by police, there are instances where they are given under unreliable circumstances. Being placed under arrest and charged with DWI can turn into a battle that lasts for months or even years, but following the correct steps could help pave the way for proving your innocence.

Illegal Traffic Stops

A police officer cannot pull over a vehicle unless he or she has probable cause to do so. For example, police may witness a traffic violation or see possible evidence of intoxicated driving like weaving between lanes.  Police also need probable cause to arrest a suspect. If the police do have a valid reason to pull you over, they still cannot perform an illegal search of your vehicle. Police are prohibited from searching a suspect or their vehicle over a minor traffic offense probable cause. Any evidence collected without the driver’s consent or probable cause is not admissible in court.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Officers have various methods they use when performing a field sobriety test, but the results of the tests do not always stand up in court. The most common standardized tests given to suspects include walking in a straight line, standing on one leg and counting, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. The HGN test is when the officer observes the eyes of a suspect as they follow a pen or flashlight.

If individuals have injuries, medical conditions, are 50 pounds or greater overweight, or are over 65 years old, the validity of the test results may come into question. Even in healthy individuals, walking a straight line and performing the one-leg stand test are less than 70% accurate in determining a suspect’s level of sobriety. Examples of non-standardized tests that are not considered valid are touching your finger to your nose, reciting the alphabet, and counting backwards.

The Reliability of a Breathalyzer Test

Even if a suspect fails a breathalyzer test, there are always ways to challenge the results. The reliability of any breathalyzer can be questioned for reasons including:

The officer who administered the breathalyzer test was not properly trained.

The breath test operator does not have a valid license to operate the machine.

The equipment has not been cleaned or calibrated correctly.

The breathalyzer was picking up on other substances, like prescription medicine.

If the breathalyzer machine malfunctioned or was repaired within a certain period of time from when the test was given, the results may be inaccurate.

 

Contact a San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI/DUI, contact our San Antonio DWI/DUI Attorney at The Law Offices of Sam H. Lock. For a free consultation, call us at 210-226-0965.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/documents/sfst_ig_refresher_manual.pdf

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