DWI Defense FAQs
Someone who was charged with a DWI faces a 6-month jail sentence, even for the lowest level of DWI, in addition to the thousands of dollars that a DWI conviction could cost them. It’s the person’s choice whether or not to hire an attorney, but my recommendation would be to hire an attorney.
This would depend on where the person was at the time. Some cities have a law requiring a mandatory blood draw, so it would not matter whether or not someone blew because, if they refuse to blow, the police can just get a warrant, strap the person down, stick the person with a needle and remove blood from the person without their consent.
The person should not blow if there is no mandatory blood draw in the city, municipality or county where they were arrested, although if there is a mandatory blood draw, the person should consider blowing.
This is not necessarily true because, although public defenders make a minimal amount of money, each attorney has their own idea regarding how they should represent their client. The ethics of the bar would require that attorney to zealously represent the client, and if the client wanted the trial, the court-appointed attorney is required to represent him throughout the trial. It is a misconception that court-appointed attorneys do not represent their clients or do not provide adequate time to represent their clients.
Whether or not someone failed the test is strictly subjective on the officer’s part. The officer will ask the person to take a breath test and they will fail the field sobriety test if the officer believes the person was intoxicated. The field sobriety tests will basically have no impact on whether or not someone is charged with a DWI; that will depend on whether the officer already made that determination when he stopped and observed the person.
I have not heard about this test being done in a long time, because it is quite impossible for most people to do; therefore, they tend to not use those types of field sobriety tests.
The three main field sobriety tests are the HGN, or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, in which they basically watch the person’s eyeballs jerk about with a stimulus. In another test, the officer will move a pen back and forth at 90 degrees; another, the One Leg Stand, involves the officer asking the person to hold their leg up for 30 seconds, and then there’s the 10-step Walk and Turn. Those are the most-recognized field sobriety tests.
Two beers may be enough to get someone intoxicated, depending on what is be different in terms of their metabolism and how they process alcohol.
Whenever someone decides to represent themselves pro se, it creates an extra burden on the court in terms of admonishments and documents that need to be executed. For the purpose of a good record on a case, most courts require an attorney to handle the matter.
These are actually two different things, because for a verdict of “not guilty”, the jury would have to hear the evidence and find that there was not sufficient evidence to convict the person.
Getting a case dismissed happens when the DA chooses to not prosecute the person any longer, for any of a number of reasons, such as not being able to contact the officer, such as if the officer was unavailable or no longer with the force; or there may be an issue with the breath test or blood test coming back flawed. There are a number of reasons why a prosecutor might dismiss a DWI case.
A person can refuse to take a breath test, although they should remember there is a cost to that. If they take the breath test and fail, their license can be suspended for 90 days, but the suspension could be 180 days if they refuse the breath test. Some parts of Texas have a mandatory blood draw, which means that, even if someone refuses to take a breath test, the police can get a warrant to allow them to extract blood from the person and tested, anyway. Therefore, whether they should or should not depends on where the person was at the time of the arrest.