When a driver is involved in a crash, the responding police officers will be on alert for signs that the driver is intoxicated. They may become suspicious if there is an odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle or the driver has symptoms of intoxication. Driving while intoxicated in an incident that causes serious injury to another party is a felony instead of a misdemeanor. However, some suspected DWI incidents are single-vehicle accidents in which no one other than the driver was injured. How might a single-vehicle accident affect your DWI case? There are several factors to consider:
- Cause of the Accident: When a person charged with DWI is in a single-vehicle crash, there can be an assumption that the suspect’s intoxication caused the crash. Proving that other circumstances were responsible for your crash could help dispel the idea that you must have been intoxicated. The road conditions may have been treacherous because of precipitation or debris. You may have reacted to the reckless behavior of another driver. Your vehicle may have malfunctioned. You need to tell your defense lawyer what caused your crash.
- Mistaken Symptoms: Some of the symptoms of intoxication that police officers look for include erratic behavior and slurred speech. However, a head injury you suffered during your accident could just as easily cause those symptoms. You should also refuse to take any field sobriety tests at the scene because you do not know how your accident may have affected your balance and coordination.
- Blood Samples: You have the right to refuse a blood or breath test to measure your blood alcohol concentration, though it may result in an automatic driver’s license suspension. However, the officer may not need your consent to take a blood sample if you are unconscious following a crash. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the implied consent law allows an officer to take a blood sample without a warrant from an unconscious person who is suspected of DWI as long as there are exigent circumstances that require an immediate draw.
- Property Damage: Prosecutors may add a charge of reckless damage or destruction of property if your accident caused property damage. This is a Class C misdemeanor charge that results in a $500 fine. You may also be ordered to pay the property owner for the value of replacing the property.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer
When you are arrested on suspicion of DWI after a crash, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock will prepare a defense strategy to prevent a conviction. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.