Know Your Rights on DWI Law!
A breath test or field sobriety test does not automatically prove you guilty.
According to the federal government, accuracy of field sobriety tests are as follows:
- HGN test: 77%
- Walk and turn: 68%
- One leg stand: 65%
Administrative License Revocation
If you have been arrested for DWI, the police officer will serve you with a “Notice of Suspension / Temporary Driving Permit.” The officer is authorized to confiscate your license.
From the date you receive that Notice, you have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing on what will otherwise be a mandatory driver’s license suspension. That suspension will last for 90 days for failing a breath or blood test. The suspension goes up to 180 days for refusing to take a breath or blood test. If this is not your first DWI arrest, then the suspension times increase dramatically.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO REQUEST A HEARING AND NOT JUST LET THE 15 DAYS GO BY!
The ALR hearing is an opportunity to prevent the suspension off your driver’s license and learn valuable information about your DWI. The arresting officer will appear at the hearing and give testimony. This could come in handy at a future trial. If you took and failed a breath test, then you have the opportunity to make the breath test operator and technical supervisor show up as well.
“Collateral consequences” are those not specifically outlined in the criminal codes, but nonetheless attach to a DWI conviction from other sources.
I already mentioned the driver’s license “surcharge” of at least $1,000 per year for three years just to keep your license. That is a “collateral consequence” and a bad one at that. This surcharge was enacted by the 2003 Legislature.
A DWI conviction in Texas carries other consequences as well. For instance, if your insurance company finds out you are convicted of DWI in Texas, then your carrier may drop you or put you in a “high risk” category at a substantially higher cost. Car rental companies may not rent to you if they know you are convicted of DWI. If you have a job that requires you to be under a fleet insurance policy, such as with a shipping / trucking company, you may lose your job if the insurer finds out you have a Texas DWI and drops you. Some DWI convictions require the driver to only operate a vehicle equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device. The list goes on.
The police report is only the officer’s interpretation.
- Were you properly read your Miranda warnings?
- Did the police officer stop you for a valid reason?
- Were any statements made by you coerced, taken out of context, or misinterpreted?
Important: The Intoxilyzer 5000 assumes that everyone has the same blood breath partition ratio, hematocrit ratio and assumes that all samples are at an air temperature of 93.2 F. Texas DWI Law does not utilize any methods which would allow for a retest of samples given. The computer software is proprietary and is not available to scientific peer review. Many factors can affect a breath test score. These machines are generally not available for inspections by anyone outside of law enforcement. Texas does not allow for non-law enforcement or government personnel to become certified as breath test technical operators. Much of the Texas breath program remains limited to outsiders despite a generally assumed belief that these machines have undergone and passed wide general scientific review.The Intoxilyzer 9000 will soon replace the Intoxilyzer 5000 in Texas. In other states, the 9000 has had various problems including calibration quality control problems falling below the established tolerance target value. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a report that stated CDPHE could not endorse the test results in 33 involved cases “to remain consistent with laboratory (quality control) best practices.” The 9000 is not specific for ethanol which means that other substances in the body can test positive for alcohol even when alcohol is not present. While the 9000 is capable of producing a histogram showing the breath flow, breath volume, blow duration, and breath alcohol concentration, Texas has chosen not to preserve the histogram. The Intoxilyzer 5000’s valve has been replaced in the 9000 by a valve that can actually go back and forth. This may allow for back-flow contamination from prior breath samples, ambient air, or even the simulator solution.
Field Sobriety Tests:
Police make arrests on the basis of “probable cause.” This is not the same thing as “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” It is not a police officer’s job to determine if someone is guilty. Many police offers choose to arrest on the basis of caution.There is not a great deal of technical training for a police officer in the field of Texas DWI Law. There is no law in Texas that requires they keep up their training on a regular basis with respect to standardized field sobriety training. Many police officers do not make any form of notes on the side of the road with respect to numerous details. Police officers almost never include mitigating or exculpatory information in their reports, mainly incriminating observations.Were there distractions during the testing? Were you nervous or tired during the testing?If there was a video taping of the event, does it accurately depict your true state of sobriety at the time, or did perhaps traffic, poor lighting, noise, or lack of sound unfairly affect it.What is your true balance and coordination? Do you have any physical disabilities that can cause false results?Book a free consultation
Austin Criminal Defense Attorney
Austin DWI lawyer