75 Things You Need to Know About Your DWI Case That NO ONE is Telling You
Ten things the District Attorney may not want you to know:
- They do not have all the witnesses available to prove their case.
- The Officer moved or no longer wants to testify
- The Witness who "called in" the DWI cannot be found
- The "Technical Supervisor" of the breath test is unavailable to testify.
- The "Breath Test Operator" is unavailable to testify.
- They has exculpatory evidence which would prove your innocence.
- They have evidentiary problems in proving your blood alcohol level.
- They have evidentiary problems in proving that you lost the normal use of either your mental or physical faculties.
- You will receive almost identical punishment if you are found guilty after trial.
- If you plea guilty, you will be assessed a $3,000 - $6,000 surcharge by DPS.
Seven of the facts that must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be found guilty:
- On or about a certain date
- Operated a motor vehicle in a public place
- In the state of Texas, in (Collin, Denton, Dallas) County
- While Intoxicated
- (By not having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties, or above a .08 blood alcohol concentration)
- DUE to the introduction of alcohol (or drugs) into the body
Two things you must do to preserve your right to drive:
- The arresting officer should have provided you with paperwork about the suspension of your driver's license(notice of suspension).
- You have 15 days from the date the notice was served to request a hearing to contest the suspension or your license will be automatically suspended.
Ten questions your attorney should be asking you:
- Your itinerary prior to arrest.
- Your consumption of alcohol or drugs
- Your observations of the officer.
- The officer's stated reasons for stopping you.
- Whether the officer asked or ordered you to take roadside tests.
- Your performance on roadside tests.
- Statements you made to the officer.
- What the results were of any breath or blood tests.
- Whether there were witnesses to your arrest.
- Whether you were observed for 15 minutes prior to a breath test
Five items crucial to your defense:
- A good investigation of the facts.
- Vigorous cross-examination.
- A sound understanding of constitutional principles.
- An attorney who is knowledgeable in the area of Texas DWI law.
- An understanding of the practices and procedures of DWI in the county in which you are charged
Six reasons why a jury trial may be for you:
- Six people have to agree on your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (in a misdemeanor DWI, twelve in a felony DWI)
- In most cases, it is the only way to keep your record clean
- Punishment if you are found guilty will probably be almost identical to punishment if you plea guilty
- DPS decided to assess a surcharge of 3,000-6,000, and a jury trial may be the only way to avoid it.
- The "plea bargain" offered to you was not much of a bargain after all.
- You ARE NOT guilty! Imagine that! The policeman and the District Attorney never even contemplated this possibility.
Five ways that the arresting officer's testimony may be discredited:
- Inconsistent statements.
- Failure to recollect.
- Inability to conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in the prescribed manner.
- Failure to properly state what his reasonable suspicion for stopping you was
- His/Her failure to follow proper State, County, or Federal procedures.
Five requirements which must be followed for chemical and roadside tests to be valid:
- The officer must have had a reasonable suspicion that you were violating the law.
- The officer must have either had probable cause to arrest you or obtain your consent for roadside tests.
- The officer must inform you of your rights concerning a breath or blood test.
- The officer must perform a 15 minute "observation period" before giving you a breath test
- The proper chain of custody of your blood must be maintained
Three key pieces of information which must be learned in deciding to go to trial:
- An estimation of the strengths and weaknesses of the State's case against you.
- The effect of a conviction.
- The price your attorney charges if you take your case to trial (I give you this information when we first meet)
Five ways your license can be suspended:
- If your blood alcohol was over the legal limit
- If you refused to submit to a blood or breath test
- If you are convicted of DWI
- If the judge suspends your license as a condition of your bond.
- If you are convicted, and you fail to pay DPS's "Reinstatement Fee" (between $3,000 and $6,000).
Two ways to save your license if you are found guilty in court (by a plea of guilt, or a finding of guilty by a jury):
- Request an occupational license if your license is suspended.
- Sometimes, you may take the DWI Education course within 180 days and this will keep your license from being suspended.
Nine preliminary motions can be filed:
- Motion to suppress evidence on the ground that you were unconstitutionally stopped.
- Motion to suppress evidence on the grounds that there was an unconstitutional search and seizure.
- Motion to suppress statements on failure to give Miranda rights.
- Motion for Discovery of evidence.
- Request for the video of your stop
- Request for the video of the "intoxilyzer room"
- Motion for 404(b), and 37.07 evidence (prior history of you)
- Application for Probation
- Motions in Limine (This prevents the District Attorney from bringing up certain inadmissible information)
Seven tactics in pre-trial motions:
- Contest the constitutionality of the stop.
- Contest the constitutionality of the administration of roadside tests.
- Contest the constitutionality of the probable cause to arrest.
- Contest the constitutionality of the Miranda rights.
- Contest the use of any blood or breath test.
- Contest the constitutionality of any search and seizure.