DWI Defense in Texas
Call Houston DWI Lawyer Clyde W. Burleson at ☎ 713-628-1503 For a Free Consultation
A properly formed DWI defense stands between you and the penalties and consequences associated with a DWI conviction. However, every case is different. Police often make mistakes with either the traffic stop or their ability to follow standardized field sobriety test protocols. You have rights when stopped for a DWI. As a result, each case requires a blend of defense positions and a prepared lawyer.
A DWI Defense Lawyer Must Know:
1. The Importance of the Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR) & The Opportunities It Provides.
A common mistake made by many lawyers is failing to request an Administrative License Revocation Hearing. Many believe these hearings are not worth contesting because they think these hearings are very difficult to win. That is simply not the case. You can win an ALR Hearings with a technical defense such as:
- Improperly administered breathalyzer sample.
- The arresting officer filled out his probable cause declaration improperly.
- Burping and the officer did not start the observation period over.
- Having a full mouth (i.e. chewing tobacco)
- Diabetes (or additional acetones common for a number of reasons, including the keto diet)
- Working with solvents.
If your lawyer does not request a Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR) within 15 days of your arrest to fight to keep your license, they are doing you a grave disservice. In many ways, the ALR hearing can be the most important thing you do as part of your defense.
2. The Rules Required in Testing
Texas has rules and regulations for breath testing. Through conversations with other attorneys, I’ve discovered that too many lawyers don’t read the statute and regulations covering breath testing. Those who don’t know the regulations don’t realize that violations of the rules introduced into evidence can show that breath test results are unreliable.
- Uncertified operator.
- Uncalibrated machine
- Not changing the mouthpiece.
- No record was kept of all tests
- There was a significant amount of time between being stopped and BAC testing (Rising BAC)
Thus, to defend you properly, a lawyer must obtain copies of the various logs, maintenance records, and the operator’s license or certification.
3. File a Motion to Suppress
A Motion to Suppress is a document asking the Court to determine whether or not certain evidence is admissible against you. If key evidence against you is thrown out of Court, the District Attorney’s Office may dismiss the case.
Examples where a Motion to Suppress may prevail include:
- Cases where the police officer did not have probable cause to stop you.
- Improperly administered Field Sobriety Tests or breath tests.
- Instances where Miranda rights were not read or understood.
4. Understand the Rules Governing Field Sobriety Tests
It is essential that an attorney representing someone charged with DWI understands both the theory and the correct practice of the Field Sobriety Tests. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published guidelines that the police must follow when they perform a Field Sobriety Test. The rules are specific and crucial to your case. Knowledge of the rules will allow you to see if the arresting officer completely followed the manual’s directions. This can be powerful evidence, frequently overlooked by defense lawyers. In my practice as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, I’ve found that in an extremely large number of cases, the police do things inconsistent with the manual’s material. And, as discussed earlier, improper procedures may lead to the granting of a Motion to Suppress and the removal of evidence against you.
5. Have a Clear Understanding of the True Costs of a DWI
Your attorney needs to carefully explain the penalties you are facing since you may lose your freedom, your license and your job. In addition, you must consider collateral penalties and costs as well, because if you’re not aware of these penalties, you will lose.