- You have a right to remain silent.
That is, you do not have to answer any questions which a police officer asks you during a DWI encounter. Remember: everything you say (even things which you may think are helpful to you) will be used against you.
- You are not required to perform field sobriety tasks.
If you believe that you may be intoxicated, a polite refusal to perform these tasks will benefit you greatly in the inevitable proceedings which will follow. Politely refuse and look down or away when the officer attempts to perform the “pen test” on your eyes. Remember: if it is after dark and you have the odor of an alcoholic beverage on your breath, the officer is going to arrest you whether or not you think you have passed the tests.
- You have a right to refuse a breath or blood test.
You are not required to blow into the hand-held machine at the scene of the traffic stop. There is no penalty for this refusal. The results of this machine are not admissible in court. If you are asked to perform a breath test after you are arrested and while you are at the police station, you are not required to submit to this test. There is currently no criminal sanction for this refusal. However, there is a potential driver’s license suspension sanction for a refusal.
- You have a right to a hearing before your license is suspended.
Whether you fail a breath test or you refuse a breath test, the Department of Public Safety will attempt to suspend your driver’s license. However, they are not always successful. You or your lawyer MUST request that hearing WITHIN 15 DAYS OF YOUR ARREST DATE or the hearing is WAIVED AND YOUR LICENSE WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY SUSPENDED. Contact us today to avoid your license from being suspended.
- You have a right to a lawyer and a jury trial.
Most people believe that they have hopeless cases, that a defense is too expensive, that most people lose their cases, and that a guilty plea is their best and cheapest option. All of these concerns are inaccurate assumptions, or just plain wrong! You are not in a position to judge your case, you need a lawyer.
- Many lawyers now take credit cards or other means of payment.
- Modern jurors are aware of the problems associated with police officers in traffic stops, and they find people not guilty in DWI cases every day.
- There is very rarely a “hopeless” case. This is an evaluation which only can be made with the advice of counsel.
- Probation means a criminal conviction which remains on your record for the rest of your life. You must pay a fine, pay court costs, do dozens of hours of community service, take psychological evaluations, report monthly to a probation officer who has the power to put you in jail for failures of your probation conditions, take urine tests, refrain from the use of alcohol and going to places where alcohol is served, and in some counties in Texas the judges will require you to serve a jail sentence as a condition of probation.
- If it is your second DWI, the jury is ordinarily not allowed to know of your prior conviction. Since a prior offense is a punishment issue, going to the court for punishment effectively prevents the jury from knowing about your prior case when they determine your guilt or innocence.