Answers To The Most Frequently Asked Texas DWI Questions
At Rogers Legal Group PLLC, I know that you were not expecting to be pulled over and charged with a DWI. You are most likely nervous about what will happen and want to know what you can do to protect yourself. I am attorney Mike Rogers.
I offer a free consultation for people facing DWI charges: Call 956-420-6183 to set up a time to talk.
Why should I speak with an attorney about a DWI charge?
Because the consequences of a DWI can have a lasting negative effect on so many aspects of your life such as your job, your family, your ability to get around and a permanent mark on your criminal record, it’s crucial that you understand what you’re up against. A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney will know what options are available. A Texas DWI attorney will know how to plead, what evidence to get thrown out, and when and how to get the charge reduced or dismissed.
Do I have to take a breath test?
In Texas, we have what is known as the implied consent law. This means that when you got your license, you agreed that you would give a breath or blood test if you are pulled over for possible DWI. However, not all roadside breath tests are accurate. In fact, most have been shown to be far less than accurate with some studies showing that the margin of error is 50% between the roadside breath test and a blood test (shown most notably in the study by LaBianca, Simpson, Thompson et.al).
Breath tests measure the ethyl alcohol in a person’s breath. Many things can create a false positive, including cigarette or cigar smoke, acid reflux, diabetes, blood, bread/yeast and physical activity.
In this case, you may want to refuse the roadside test. The officer will have to arrest you in order to take you to the station. From this point on, you should rely on the advice of your lawyer whether to submit to the station’s breath or blood test at the station. In some cases, refusal of this test can result in the loss of your license for 180 days.
There are many reasons why you may want to refuse the roadside test. One of the reasons is that the breath or blood test at the police station gives a more accurate result. Another reason is that if you are arrested and transported to the station, you will have time to contact a lawyer who can meet you at the station and protect your rights as soon as possible.
Texas law gives the police permission to compel a person who has had previous DWIs or who is involved in a serious accident to take a breath or blood test.
What is an administrative license suspension?
Also called an administrative license revocation (ALR), this happens when a driver refuses to take or fails a blood or breath test. Failing the blood or breath test means the blood alcohol content (BAC) is at 0.08% or more for noncommercial vehicle drivers. Commercial drivers can have their license revoked or suspended if their BAC is 0.04% or higher.
After being charged with a DWI, there is a 15-day grace period where you may challenge the DWI. An administrative law judge (ALJ) will hear your case if you challenge it. If you choose not to challenge it, on the 16th day after the DWI charge, your license will automatically be revoked or suspended for three months. Your license is suspended by the Texas Department of Public Safety, not the courts. These proceedings are not related to any criminal charges you may be facing.
What is a field sobriety test (FST)?
If you are pulled over, an officer may want to administer a field sobriety test. This test is a series of checks and a set of exercises you must complete. The issues with this test are that it is subjective. Additionally, not all officers are properly trained. The test typically involves three parts.
- The officer shines a light in your eyes and directs you to follow a pen or another object with your eyes.
- The officer directs you to stand/balance on one leg.
- The officer directs you to walk a straight line.
Obviously, many things can contribute to a person getting a “false positive” on the FST. Physiological issues affecting a person’s eyes and ears can affect their ability to follow an object with their eyes or balance. Additionally, uneven pavement, darkness and shoe types (high heels, slippery loafers) can affect a person’s ability to walk a straight line.
What are the consequences of a second DWI?
A second DWI in Texas typically involves a $6,000 fine and up to 12 months in jail. A second DWI is a class A misdemeanor and is a permanent conviction. You will be required to spend three days in jail and most likely have your driver’s license suspended. It’s a good idea to consult with an attorney whose focus is Texas DWI so that you fully understand your rights and the options available given your circumstances.
What is an ignition interlock device?
It is a device that is attached to your car. It requires you to blow into a reader before starting your vehicle to ensure the breath alcohol content (BAC) reads zero. Texas courts will allow some drivers to install an interlock device after 30 days instead of having their driver’s license suspended. Drivers cannot legally operate a vehicle in Texas if they have a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Even on a first offense, a court will order that an interlock device be installed and monitored if the driver’s BAC is 0.15% or above. The device will typically have a camera that takes a picture of whoever is blowing into it. Do not attempt to “cheat” an interlock device.
Get The Answers, Guidance And Support You Need
As an attorney dedicated to moving violations and Texas DWI, I am here to help. I’ll let you know how I can help and the best thing to do next. Time is crucial when you are facing DWI charges, so don’t delay. Call 956-420-6183 or get in touch via this website’s contact email. I serve Texas traffic violations and DWI clients throughout the Edinburg area.