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Failure to Administer Oath Suppresses Evidence from Search WarrantYou have the right to deny a police search until an officer presents you with a search warrant. To obtain a warrant, the officer files an affidavit with a judge, who will approve a warrant if he or she agrees that there is probable cause to conduct a search. Police often use warrants to search residences or vehicles, but a warrant is also required to obtain a blood sample if police suspect you of driving while intoxicated. Police are essentially asking to search your body for evidence of intoxication, which prosecutors can use in a trial. Officers in the field often send their affidavits electronically to a judge in order to expedite the process. In two recent cases, DWI defendants successfully argued that the evidence obtained from their search warrants was inadmissible because the officer who signed the affidavit had not been put under oath.

Purpose of the Oath

The fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that a court shall not issue a warrant without “probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation.” When creating an affidavit, the police officer must swear under oath that the information in the affidavit is truthful, to the best of his or her knowledge. If the officer appeared before a judge to request a warrant, he or she would be sworn in before giving testimony. Two police officers are needed when sending an affidavit electronically:

  • One officer to write and sign the affidavit; and
  • A second officer to place the first officer under oath and sign the affidavit to confirm the oath was administered.

In the two recent cases, both involving the Texas Tech University Police Department, body camera footage showed that the second officer did not verbally administer the oath to the officer creating the affidavit for the blood search warrant. The prosecution argued that the oversight was a technicality that did not discredit the validity of the warrants. However, the court granted the defense’s request to suppress the evidence in both cases. Even if the officers intended to tell the truth, putting them under oath is an important step in protecting defendants against false statements of probable cause.

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Differences Between Juvenile, Adult Court in DUI CaseThe top concern for a youth charged with driving under the influence of alcohol is to prevent that charge from ruining his or her life. A criminal record could limit his or her options when going to college or looking for a job. Spending time in jail is a jarring experience that may do more to traumatize a youth than rehabilitate him or her. In Texas, the age of a youth charged with DUI makes a significant difference. A juvenile court hears DUI cases for defendants age 16 and younger, while defendants age 17 to 20 are tried as adults.

Juvenile System

A DUI charge for someone age 16 or younger is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • A maximum $500 fine;
  • A minimum 60-day driver’s license suspension;
  • 20 to 40 hours of community service; and
  • Required completion of an alcohol awareness course.

The goal of the juvenile court system is to rehabilitate the youths it convicts without hindering their ability to be healthy adults. Juvenile records are automatically sealed from most background checks and can be permanently sealed if the person does not receive any more criminal charges. A juvenile court is unlikely to sentence a defendant to jail time, even if the juvenile had enough alcohol in his or her system to qualify for a charge of driving while intoxicated.

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Posted on in DWI / DUI

Consequences of an Underage DUI in TexasThe public considers the terms “driving while intoxicated” and “driving under the influence” to be synonymous. DWI and DUI are both charges of drunken driving, and each state has a preferred term. However, Texas uses both terms to classify different types of drinking and driving criminal charges. Anyone who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater while operating a motor vehicle will receive the more familiar charge of DWI. DUI applies to cases involving people who are younger than 21.

Underage Drinking and Driving

Texas has a zero-tolerance policy towards drivers who are younger than 21 and have been drinking. Any traceable of amount of alcohol in their systems can result in DUI charges, regardless of whether they were impaired. An underage drinker can still be charged with DWI if his or her BAC is 0.08 or greater. Whether the charge is a DUI or DWI, the underage drinker may also face related charges, such as:

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Texas Requiring DWI Offenders to Use Ignition Interlock DevicesSince 2015, Texas law has required many people convicted of driving while intoxicated to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles as a condition of restoring their driving privileges. The new program is meant to reduce incidents of intoxicated driving by previous offenders and provide some first-time offenders an alternative to a suspended driver’s license. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an organization that advocated for the law, claims that the number of drunk driving deaths in Texas have decreased by 8.5 percent since the law was passed. Because of the newness of the law, it is difficult to find a comprehensive source clearly explaining the ignition interlock device program. Here are the answers to some basic questions.

What Is It?

An ignition interlock device is a small breathalyzer connected to a vehicle’s ignition system and typically located on the vehicle’s passenger side. Before starting the vehicle, the driver must breath into the device. If the breath alcohol content is greater than a preset limit, then the vehicle will not start. After a vehicle is started, the device will sometimes require the driver to provide an additional breath sample to prove continued sobriety. The driver will be alerted of the retest and given time to pullover to a safe location before providing another sample.

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Are Lyft and Uber lowering DWIs in San Antonio?, DWI, DUI statistics, Uber, LyftOne dark and snowy night in Paris, 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were frustrated and troubled when trying to hail a cab. Thinking there had to be a better way, their solution would revolutionize how we get from Point A to Point B with just a few clicks on our smartphones. Uber was born.

By downloading the Uber app, we now can rely seemingly on technology to solve

our logistical needs. Need a ride, have a package to deliver or without worry, plan a night out on the town without a possible arrest looming for driving while under the influence (DWI)?  With one quick tap of an app, a low-cost car is on its way.

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