Let’s be clear about this: driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense no matter where you are. Do not drink and drive. That said, if you have been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the first thing you want to know is how you can defend yourself and have your charges either reduced or dropped.
Facing DWI charges in Texas can be traumatizing and overwhelming in equal measures. Fortunately, it helps to note that not all DWI arrests end in convictions – especially if the arresting officer made certain mistakes during your arrest and processing for prosecution.
Here are some of the police mistakes that can be used in a DWI defense:
Improper traffic stops
This is one of the most common mistakes police make. The law prohibits police from pulling motorists over based on mere intuition or imagination. To stop you, the police must have “reasonable suspicion” that you are indeed driving under influence. And reasonable suspicion requires the officer to articulate the facts of your offense. Were you exceeding the designated speed limits? Were you driving recklessly? Did you fail to signal? Forcing an officer to justify their reason for the traffic stop is often an effective strategy.
Sometimes, an officer can have reasonable suspicion to pull you over for DUI. However, there must be probable cause for an arrest to take place. Meaning, the officer must be able to gather sufficient evidence to justify the arrest. A probable cause for a DWI arrest can include:
- Slurred speech
- A positive breathalyzer test outcome
- The odor of alcohol
In other words, you can challenge the entire basis for the arrest based on the lack of evidence that you were impaired.
Improper breathalyzer test administration
A breathalyzer test is only effective when it is administered properly. Besides issues like faulty equipment, a number of outside factors can also result in a false positive. And one of these is improper test administration. You can challenge the breathalyzer test result that is presented in court during your prosecution if the administering officer is not certified or when the proper procedure was not followed while administering the test.
A drunk driving conviction can upset your life in many ways. If you are facing DWI charges in Texas, it is important that you understand your defense options.