san antonio dwi defense lawyerWhen a police officer makes personal contact during a drunk driving investigation, they will ask you questions like: Where are you coming from? What were you doing there? Where are you headed? This line of questioning is often used by police if they suspect that you were driving while intoxicated

Over time, many police notice patterns with bars where patrons like to get drunk, their hours of operation, and an area nearby where you might violate a traffic law. Many wonder whether this type of strategic planning is considered “entrapment.” 

Armchair experts who have watched a few police procedurals and legal dramas might say that this type of behavior is entrapment, but realistically, this is just targeted enforcement. Police identify an area rife with illegal activity and respond to it accordingly. So, what is entrapment then?

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texas dwi defense lawyerWhen a police officer conducts a driving while intoxicated (DWI) investigation, they rarely rely on a single clue to determine whether or not you have been drinking, but rather they consider the totality of the circumstances. Officers are looking for signs of drunk driving from the moment they initiate the traffic stop until the moment you are released from their custody. Understanding the evidence police may use to justify a DWI arrest can help you build a strong defense against DWI charges.

Clues Officers Look for During a DWI Investigation

This particular stage of a DWI investigation is called “personal contact,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. At this point, an officer opens up all his or her senses and takes mental notes on what he or she sees, hears, and smells. 

The officer will likely first scrutinize your appearance by looking at your eyes to if they are bloodshot, listen to your voice for slurred speech, and leaning in to smell your breath. The officer will also note your physical and verbal actions. He or she will watch for a loss or lack of coordination like shaky hands or furtive movements, and listen for abusive language or unusual statements. 

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san antonio DWI defense lawyerBeing pulled over by the police can be a scary occurrence. It can become even more uncomfortable if the police have a suspicion that you have been driving while intoxicated (DWI). If the police do think you may have been drinking, they will likely ask you to perform a series of tests to determine if you are impaired or not. These tests are not always precise and only work correctly to determine impairment most of the time, rather than all of the time. If you have been arrested for DWI, you do not have to panic, but you should know what to expect from the next steps in the process.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR)

The first thing you should know is that you might lose your license through an administrative process, separate from any criminal penalties you may also face. The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process goes into effect if you refuse to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) or fail the chemical test by having a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. A first offense of failing a chemical test results in a 90-day driver’s license suspension, while a first offense of refusing a chemical test results in a 180-day driver’s license suspension.

Potential Criminal Penalties

In addition to any administrative penalties you may be facing, you may also be facing criminal penalties. A first-time DWI offense in Texas is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, which comes with the possibility of up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, or both. With many first-time offenders, judges tend to sentence them to probation or community supervision. Community supervision is the ideal sentence for a guilty DWI plea or verdict. Community supervision allows the offender to serve their sentence while they go about their daily life. As long as they comply with requirements, they will receive a discharge for the DWI offense at the end of the supervision period. The requirements include attending an evaluation to determine whether or not rehabilitative care for a drug and/or alcohol problem is necessary. If a drug or alcohol dependency is apparent, the offender will need to attend rehabilitative services.  An offender must also participate in a 12-hour DWI education program. If the offender wants to drive with an occupational license, he or she will need to have ignition interlock devices on all of his or her vehicles.

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San Antonio DWI defense attorneyIn recent years, more focus has been placed on catching those who choose to drive while intoxicated (DWI) and preventing it from happening in the first place. In Texas, one of the programs that has been implemented as a deterrent for people to avoid drinking and driving is the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program. Like in most other states, you can lose your driver’s license in Texas through an administrative process if you are arrested for DWI under certain circumstances. If you are facing administrative penalties relating to a DWI, sometimes known in other jurisdictions as a DUI, a DWI defense attorney can help you understand your options. 

The ALR Process and Implied Consent

If a police officer suspects that you have been drinking and driving, he or she will likely pull you over and request that you perform a series of field sobriety tests. If one of these tests involves a preliminary chemical breath test, you have the right to refuse the test without facing consequences. However, once you have been arrested, you are subject to implied consent. This means you must submit to chemical testing or face the consequences set forth by the state of Texas, which is a driver’s license suspension. Since you have not yet been convicted of DWI, this is not a criminal charge, but rather an administrative process that is separate from the criminal element of your case.

How Does the ALR Process Work?

Once you have been placed under arrest, the police officer will ask you to provide a sample for chemical testing to determine your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). You will be subject to an administrative license revocation if:

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San Antonio DWI defense attorneyTo many people, the assumption has always been that being pulled over for driving while intoxicated (DWI) was almost always the result of driving after drinking one-too-many alcoholic beverages. While that might be the most common reason for being charged and even convicted for DWI, the truth is that there are plenty of other legitimate reasons you might be pulled over for DWI and yet not have to deal with a breathalyzer or another blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level test, among other things. That is because the most critical element of a DWI arrest is proof of impairment, and impairment is not just caused by alcohol. Here are some other reasons you might be pulled over for DWI due to impairment.

All the Ways You Might Be Impaired While Driving

A recent NHTSA report suggests that nearly 20 percent of all drivers might be impaired by any number of substances at any given time. For example, in addition to alcohol, you might experience some type of impairment if you are using any one or a mix of the following substances:

  • Marijuana—While marijuana use for adults is legal in some states, it still causes some types of impairment. This is contrary to popular misconceptions that suggest marijuana can actually make you a better driver. This is clearly untrue; marijuana has been shown to cause:
    • Lack of coordination
    • Poor judgment
    • Slow reaction times
    • Trouble multitasking
  • Cocaine and methamphetamine—These two stimulants, which are illegal, lead to the following impairments:
    • Aggressiveness
    • Recklessness
  • Prescription drugs and Over-the-Counter Medications—While these are not by any means illegal (unless you obtain them illegally), they do cause many impairments depending on how your body reacts to them and the dosage. For instance, some of these medicines might cause the following:
    • Excessive drowsiness and sleepiness
    • Substantial dizziness
    • Whichever other side effects the medicine label warns about that could impair your driving
  • Mixing any drugs with each other or alcohol—Doing this often creates an even larger effect, accentuating all the impairing side effects that make driving so dangerous when using them.

Contact a San Antonio DWI Lawyer

As you can see, being pulled over for DWI due to any type of impairment—and not just excessive alcohol consumption—can lead to charges and a strong case against you. That is why you need to retain representation from a skilled San Antonio criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock at 888-726-5625 for a free consultation about DWI to learn more about how this experienced team can win your case. 

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Bexar County

In the historic King William District

1011 S. Alamo,
San Antonio, Texas 78210
210-226-0965
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