Steps to Take After a DUI Charge

Recently, I have noticed that there is a new slogan used in television commercials to dissuade people from driving drunk. That slogan is “Drink, drive, go to jail,” and I was wondering how severe the consequences of getting a DUI really are. I decided to do some research on the subject and came across the website for Horst Law, which had some helpful information on the subject. Apparently, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 48 hours in jail, your license is suspended for a full year, and the costs for a first offense financially is up to $5,000. There was more good information about what to do if you’re facing a DUI charge, so I decided to keep reading.

The website said that you absolutely need a lawyer if you are going to have a good chance to fight charges in court. In order to fight the charges, the defendant needs to prove why they deserve to have the charges dropped, which can happen for a variety of different reasons that I had never considered. For one, the police might not have conducted a proper stop or might not have collected the correct evidence. The police might not even have had an acceptable reason to pull you over in the first place. If the police made any of these mistakes, it is possible to have the charges reduced or dropped, regardless of the other facts of the case. However, the average person does not know about these mistakes or the many others that could have been made by the police. Also, saying the police person made a mistake and proving it are two entirely different things. Defendants that simply stake their word against the word of a police officer tend to lose their cases.

Additionally, if a defendant were to get charged with a DUI because they chose to represent themselves instead of seeking a lawyer, they will have significant expenses and consequences in the present and the future. They might need to find a new job, but having a DUI can make it harder to find a new job as well. There are also personal implications when explaining the situation to close friends and family. It’s important to have a lawyer that has experience in handling these cases instead of trying to learn enough to handle the case yourself because of the potential consequences that come with being convicted.

In regards to DUI specifically, I learned from the website that the tests that police do to determine if you were driving drunk can be unfair toward certain people. These tests are subjective and if you are asked to take one, the police person often already assumes that you are intoxicated. If they already think that, then they are likely to see indications of intoxication that aren’t actually there. During the sobriety tests, officers look for things like smooth eye movement and the ability to balance, but there are many things other than intoxication that can keep people from having balance or smooth eye movement. Nerves related to the high stakes sobriety test can affect these abilities, not to mention a variety of health conditions. A person should not be held responsible for DUI if they have a health condition preventing them from succeeding in a field sobriety test. I learned that it’s best to refuse these tests when they are requested even if you are not at all intoxicated.

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Holiday DWIs

The holidays are causes for celebrations, especially around the end of the year starting with Halloween (technically not a day of celebration, but whatever) all the way to New Year’s Day. This is a chance for people to get together, and in many cases get inebriated together. There’s nothing wrong with that in Texas if they are adults or supervised by adults. That is, unless they get behind the wheel while they are still under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, accidents caused by driving while intoxicated (DWI) are an all too-frequent happening during the holidays, often turning celebration into tragedy.

Austin law enforcement knows this better than anyone, which is why they are in full force for each holiday to try to take intoxicated drivers from behind the wheel. In 2014, Halloween is on a Friday, the same weekend of the Formula One and Austin Fan Fest. With all the merrymaking and excitement going on, Austin authorities are preparing for the worst. In 2013, there were a total of 148 DWI arrests for Halloween and the Formula One weekend.

With being so much keyed up over these expectations, normally stringent law enforcers are more liable to arrest first and ask questions later during holidays. This can make all sorts of trouble for someone coming from a party where alcohol was being sprayed like confetti but who didn’t actually drink, for example. While the smell of alcohol may present probable cause for a stop and field tests to be administered, it would be reasonable to assume and for Austin criminal defense attorneys to expect that if a breathalyzer test comes back 0.0, that person would be free to go. That doesn’t always happen, as evidenced by the 2013 case where a man who proved he was not intoxicated still spent the night in jail.

If you are arrested for DWI in Texas, do not assume anything. The law can be a slippery snake, so it would be best to keep your options. Submit to field sobriety tests but consult with a criminal defense lawyer before anything else if you are charged with DWI.

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