What to Do (And Not to Do) If You Are Pulled Over or Facing DWI Charges in Texas
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most commonly-charged offenses in Texas. Fighting DWI charges can be extremely difficult without the assistance of an experienced, trial-tested lawyer.
If you are arrested for DWI/DUI in Texas, you need a lawyer who will fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed. You need an advocate in and out of the courtroom, one who knows Texas law and isn’t afraid to take your case to trial.
You need the award-winning legal team at Maverick Ray & Associates. Call our office today at (281) 672-8029 to book your free consultation.
Here is the Dopest Lawyer’s advice of what to do before, during, and after an arrest for DWI:
Do Exercise Your Rights
Remain Silent – It’s Your Right
When you are placed under arrest for DWI/DUI, the officer will read you your Miranda rights. These rights include your right to remain silent. Take the words “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” seriously.
Call an Attorney – It’s Your Right
A DWI conviction can affect nearly every aspect of your life. The most effective way to fight the charges against you is to retain legal counsel. As soon as possible after your arrest, contact our office to speak directly with a DWI defense attorney.
Do Know the Laws
Texas Drunk Driving Laws
A basic understanding of Texas DWI/DUI laws can prepare you for what to expect if you are ever pulled over. While the terms DWI and DUI are used interchangeably, they have different legal definitions in Texas.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Penal Code section 49.04 makes it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. While the legal limit for someone over the age of 21 is an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, you can still be arrested and convicted of DWI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is lower.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Texas has a zero-tolerance law for people under the age of 21 (minors). Under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code section 106.041, a minor can be charged with DUI if they are caught operating a motor vehicle in a public place with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.
Don’t Argue with Police
Being pulled over can be overwhelming and frustrating, but it is essential to remain calm. It will not help your case if you argue with the police or are seen as combative. It could actually get you in more trouble.
Don’t Admit to Drinking
Immediately after you are pulled over, the officer will likely approach your vehicle, ask for your license and registration, and then ask you a series of questions.
Common questions law enforcement asks during a stop for DWI/DUI:
- Where are you coming from?
- Do you know why I pulled you over?
- Have you had anything to drink?
You do not need to answer these questions. Do not give the officer information that could incriminate you. Admitting that you were drinking, ran a red light, or are on the way home from the bar will help them build their case against you.
Don’t Give Police Permission to Search
You do not have to consent to the search of your vehicle. Generally, an officer must have a search warrant to search your car unless they have a valid, legal reason.
Valid exceptions to search a vehicle without a warrant include:
- Search incident to arrest
- Probable cause
If an officer searches your vehicle without your consent, a search warrant, or a valid exception, it may be an illegal search and seizure. If your vehicle was searched during a DWI stop, you need to consult with an attorney.
Don’t Resist Arrest
Under no circumstances should you ever resist arrest. Resisting arrest is a separate crime with additional punishments. You could also put yourself in danger.
If the officer states that you are being placed under arrest, do not make any motions that could be interpreted as resisting. Exercise your right and ask for an attorney.
Do Contact an Attorney Immediately
If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence or DWI you need an attorney. In order to protect your rights, you need an attorney. In order to fight the charges against you, you need an attorney. Do not try to go it alone. Call our office immediately after your arrest.
Don’t Assume You Have to Submit to Field Sobriety Tests
It can be tempting to try to “prove” to the officer that you are not intoxicated. One way that you may try to do this is by completing the Field Sobriety Tests or FSTs.
There are several different field sobriety tests that an officer can ask you to perform, but only three are standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs):
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
- Walk and Turn (WAT)
- One Leg Stand (OLS)
You are not legally required to complete the field sobriety tests. While the tests are not pass or fail, the officer will use “clues” to bolster their argument that you are intoxicated. You do not have to perform these tests.
Don’t Refuse a Chemical Blood or Breath Test
While you are not legally required to perform field sobriety tests, you are required to submit to a chemical blood or breath test after an arrest for suspicion of DWI/DUI.
Breath Test vs. PAS Test
A chemical breath test is different from a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test. A PAS test is performed prior to the arrest and is usually the final Field Sobriety Test used to determine whether you have alcohol in your system. It is a mobile device carried in the officer’s patrol vehicle. You are not required to submit to a PAS test, but you are required to submit to a chemical test by providing a sample of your blood or breath after arrest.
Blood or Breath
You do have the option to choose between a blood or breath test if you are arrested on suspicion of DWI. If you refuse, you could face additional penalties, including a longer license suspension.
There are positives and negatives to both tests. One advantage of a blood test is that it allows you to preserve a sample. If there is a question as to the validity of the results, an attorney can submit the sample to an independent laboratory to run a blood split.
Don’t Drive on a Suspended License
If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI or DWI, you will face a license suspension. The length of your suspension will depend on several factors, including whether you were over 21, your BAC, and if you had any prior DWIs. Driving on a suspended license can result in additional penalties.
In order to obtain your full or restricted license, you may have to:
- Complete an alcohol education program
- Serve your full suspension
- Pay a reinstatement fee
- Obtain a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22)
- Install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
It is important to remember that your license can be suspended based solely on an arrest for DWI/DUI, not just the conviction. To stop the automatic suspension of your license, you can request a hearing through the Department of Public Safety.
You only have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. Contact our office immediately after your arrest to ensure that you meet all legal requirements.
Don’t Talk About Your Case
Finally, don’t talk about your case with anybody except your attorney. Things you say or post on social media can come back to haunt you.
Arrested for DWI/DUI in Texas? We Can Help!
If you have been arrested for DWI/DUI in Texas, contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation. Get the dedicated representation you need from real trial attorneys.
At Maverick Ray & Associates, we fight for our clients. We are not afraid to take your case to trial in order to get the right outcome. Contact our office at (281) 672-8029 to get started.
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