San Antonio DWI defense lawyersThere are many penalties that you can face if you are convicted in Texas for driving while intoxicated. While prison time is a frightening possibility, the loss of your driving privileges is almost a given and may have a lasting effect on your life. Not being allowed to drive could cost you your job and leave you reliant on others for your basic transportation needs. A knowledgeable attorney can help you regain your driving privileges and guide you through the license reinstatement process once you are eligible.

How Long Might You Lose Your License?

The driver’s license suspension that you receive after a DWI conviction is a criminal penalty that is separate from the administrative license suspension that many people receive after being arrested on suspicion of DWI. In Texas:

  • A first-time DWI conviction includes a driver’s license suspension of 90 days to one year.
  • A second or third DWI conviction includes a driver’s license suspension of 180 days to two years.
  • A conviction for DWI with a child passenger in your vehicle can result in a suspension of as long as 180 days.

Following a DWI conviction, the time that your driver’s license was already suspended under the administrative penalty can be credited towards your criminal suspension.

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Texas DWI appeals lawyerWhen a person is charged with driving while intoxicated, there is a chance that they will be dissatisfied with the outcome of their court case. They may believe that they were unjustly convicted for the charge or unfairly punished after the conviction. Luckily, anyone who has been convicted of a crime in Texas has the right to file an appeal with a higher court. An appellate court has the authority to overturn a conviction or send the case back to the lower court for a new trial with new instructions. 

When Should You Appeal?

Though you always have the option of appealing your conviction, you will need a strong argument if you hope to be successful in your appeal. When an appellate court considers your case, it is not retrying your case from the beginning. Your appeal must explain how the lower court misapplied the law in a way that may have affected the outcome of your case. 

Common reasons for appealing a DWI conviction include:

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San Antonio DWI defense lawyersThroughout the year, police departments across the U.S. use initiatives that increase awareness and enforcement of the laws against driving while intoxicated. Some enforcement methods are illegal in Texas, even though they are legal in other parts of the country. For instance, Texas does not allow sobriety checkpoints. Another term you may hear police departments use is “saturation patrols.” The goal of saturation patrols is the same as sobriety checkpoints, but police implement saturation patrols in a way that gets around the legal controversy of checkpoints.

Defining Saturation Patrols

A saturation patrol is an increased presence of police officers at targeted times and places for the purpose of discouraging DWI incidents and catching alleged drunk drivers. For instance, a police department may have more officers patrolling high traffic areas during holiday weekends because there are typically more drunk drivers on the road during a special occasion when people are attending parties and celebrating. Announcing the time of a saturation patrol in advance and the number of resulting arrests afterward is part of the strategy in hopes that it will discourage people from drinking and driving.

How Are Saturation Patrols Different from DWI Checkpoints?

Texas courts have ruled that sobriety checkpoints violate a driver’s constitutional protection against unwarranted stops. A police officer must have reasonable suspicion that a driver has violated the law before they can stop the driver. All drivers going through a sobriety checkpoint are stopped, regardless of whether they have done anything to raise suspicion.

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Texas DWI defense attorneysAlthough police officers are held to a higher moral standard than most civilians are, they are still capable of making mistakes like any other person. For instance, an officer’s bias could affect their decisions if they stop you on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. An officer is required to have reasonable suspicion that you are violating the law in order to stop you and probable cause that you have committed a crime in order to arrest you. This means that the officer should look at the evidence objectively before concluding that you are intoxicated, but some officers have already formed their opinion before they even talk to you. You may be able to defeat a DWI charge against you if you can prove that the officer’s confirmation bias was the reason for your arrest.

What Is Confirmation Bias?

When a police officer already suspects that you are intoxicated, they will pay more attention to evidence that confirms their bias or interpret evidence in a way that supports their bias. This is known as confirmation bias, and there are several ways that an officer may unintentionally use it during a DWI stop:

  • The officer assumes that any sluggish or unusual behavior is a symptom of intoxication when you may be sick, fatigued, or nervous.
  • The officer does not consider the many factors other than intoxication that could affect your performance on a field sobriety test, such as physical health issues.
  • The officer assumes that your refusal to answer questions or agree to a chemical sobriety test means that you are hiding the fact that you are intoxicated.

Confirmation bias is one of the primary reasons you should refuse a field sobriety test, even when you know you are sober. Evaluating your balance or eye movement is completely subjective, and the officer’s interpretation of your performance might be based on an assumption that you are intoxicated.

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Has COVID-19 Reduced the Number of DWI Arrests in Texas?Many people expected the number of arrests in Texas for driving while intoxicated to decrease this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a couple of factors that seem to logically point towards this:

  • Many restaurants and bars have been closed, which reduces the number of people driving home after drinking.
  • People are more likely to stay at home as a precaution to avoid infection.

News reports in the early months of the pandemic suggested that DWI arrest numbers had dropped, but it seems that was only a temporary effect. A recent story on DWI arrests in San Antonio claimed that the number of arrests from Jan. 1 to July 6 was down only four percent from the same period last year – 2,255 arrests in 2019 and 2,168 arrests in 2020. 

Reasons Behind the Numbers

Why has the number of DWI arrests in Texas not decreased as people predicted? There are a few possible explanations:

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Office

Bexar County

In the historic King William District

1011 S. Alamo,
San Antonio, Texas 78210
210-226-0965
888-726-5625 Toll Free
210-226-7540

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Guadalupe County

109 Court Street,
Seguin, Texas 78155
830-372-1522
888-726-5625 Toll Free