Client Video Testimonial
Charge: Driving While Intoxicated w/ .295 BAC
Result: Case Dismissed
Facts: Officer claimed the client was driving in the parking lot. Client failed field sobriety tests and refused breath and blood test. The officer obtained a warrant and blood was drawn at the jail. The blood test came back at a .295. At the ALR hearing, we thoroughly cross-examined the officer. The officer answers were insufficient to prove even probable cause for the arrest. The State had no way to proceed …
DWI Practice Areas
Austin DWI Lawyer
A Texas DWI arrest requires the officer to have “reasonable suspicion” to make contact with the driver of the vehicle. Reasonable suspicion is what the officer will use to justify that the stop was legal. The officer will generally justify the initial stop by indicating a traffic violation, utilizing the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration publications indicating factors of intoxicated driving, a tip from a caller, or even by saying they were checking on a person via the community caretaking doctrine.
In an Austin DWI traffic stop the officer will almost always use the odor of alcohol to justify further investigation. At this point, the officer is attempting to gather “probable cause” to make an arrest. “Probable cause” is not defined in Texas but the definition we used when I made DWI arrests was ‘the set of facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe a crime has been or is about to be committed.’
The officer will gather this probable cause through asking you questions, visual observations, the officer’s opinion on how well you performed on the Field Sobriety Tests, and the results of any breath tests. As an Austin DWI Attorney, I suggest NEVER telling the officer where you have been or if you have had any drinks. I also suggest never taking the Field Sobriety Tests, or providing a breath or blood sample because these tests can be flawed.
A Texas DWI conviction will stay on your record permanently. Although some states will not use a previous DWI/DUI to enhance a charge after a period of time; in an Austin DWI arrest a past conviction for DWI will always be used to enhance your DWI charge.
What does this mean? If you plea to a DWI now and get another 20 years later, it will be a DWI-2nd. If you ever get a third DWI it will be a felony. As an Austin DWI Attorney, I see this very scenario. Unfortunately, even if the case is later dismissed or you receive a Not Guilty at trial, the stress and life impact of facing a felony conviction are life-altering. No one ever plans on getting another DWI but it does happen. This is why it is important to have a properly trained Austin DWI Attorney represent you during your case.
The key to defending an Austin DWI is knowledge. As an Austin DWI Attorney who was previously on the side making arrests, the DWI man has the knowledge gained as a law enforcement officer making arrests and as a field training officer, training others on how to conduct Texas DWI arrests. His past combined with his commitment to studying the latest cutting edge science in DWI cases ensures you have the greatest chance of having your charges reduced, dismissed, or a not guilty verdict at trial. Don’t settle for any attorney; call an Austin DWI Attorney who will fight for your case like it is his own case!
Fill out the free consultation form to receive a confidential consultation on the charges you are facing.
We will get to know you and your situation so that we can guide you through this uncertain time. We will explain what to expect during the process and, based on your circumstances, ways to fight your case.
DWI Field Sobriety Tests
When you call Stephen T Bowling & Associates for a Free Consultation with an Austin DWI Lawyer, you are familiar with the meaning of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). If you are over 21 you have been accused of driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or higher, driving under the influence of prescription medication or an illegal drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. If you are under age 21, you may be charged with either Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or DWI. The difference is a DUI is any alcohol on the breath of someone under 21 where a DWI requires the State to prove “Intoxication”.
When a person is arrested for an DWI charge, field sobriety tests were administered close to the scene unless you refused them. We often have clients say they passed the test without understanding what the officer was looking for. As prior police officers both Stephen T Bowling and David Thomas know where to look for errors. This knowledge combined with a thorough understanding of the studies behind the Field Sobriety Tests has led to dismissals of numerous DWI cases. Using prior experience of making DWI arrests themselves, Stephen T Bowling and David Thomas know where to look for mistakes. These mistakes can become major factors for your defense when your case is presented in court. We at Stephen T Bowling & Associates always provide a Free Consultation before someone hires us as their Austin DWI Lawyer.
At the Free Consultation we will walk through the DWI field sobriety tests and see if any errors stand out to us. Of course, we will get any audio and video later in the case and closely examine it for errors. We will also provide an intake packet with questions that help us see if you have any medical conditions that may have affected the results of the field sobriety tests.
What tests are these Field Sobriety Tests that are used to determine if a driver is Intoxicated? Let’s take a look at the battery of tests that are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to detect impaired drivers. It is important that you hire an attorney that knows how to fight the field sobriety tests.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
The sobriety tests typically start with the officer giving the HGN test. The term “HGN” refers to the quick movement (or jerking) of the eye back and forth by the driver when instructed to follow an object that is held by the arresting officer. Clients often think that if they followed the pen they passed the test, when in fact it is this shaking of the eye the officer is looking for. The officer is trained to use a very specific set of procedures when administering this test. It is critical to understand what to look for during this test as deviations from the procedures and certain environmental factors will make the test invalid. We at Stephen T Bowling & Associates have successfully challenged many DWI charges using our knowledge and experience with the HGN to secure DWI dismissals.
This test requires that our client walk nine steps, heel to toe along a straight line, turn in a specified manner, and return to the starting point. The officer gives the person instructions to perform the test and provides an abbreviated example of the test (taking three steps instead of nine). Much like the HGN test, the officer doesn’t let you know what clues they are looking for. The eight possible clues the officer looked for are losing your balance during the instructional phase, starting too soon, stepping off the line, stopping during the test, taking the wrong number of steps, turning incorrectly, missing heel to toe, and using your arms for balance. This is another test that is prone to mistakes. The intake packet we have our clients fill out gathers information that may disqualify you as a candidate for the exam. This recollection will provide the clues for us to use when we face the officer at your DMV hearing and in court.
One Leg Stand
This test requires the client to raise one foot and hold it six inches off the ground for thirty seconds. While the leg is raised, the officer is looking for four clues. These clues are swaying (the officer often says 1” side to side is a sign of intoxication), using your arms for balance, hopping, or putting the foot down. There are many reasons other than intoxication that a person may fail these tests.
The officer will occasionally have the client take other field sobriety tests. We will cover these in the Free Consultation.
Austin DWI Breath or Blood Testing
Another area that we fight is the chemical testing. The chemical testing refers to the breath or blood test that is given when a person is suspected of DWI. We will go over the specifics of these during the Free Consultation but we cover the basics in the DWI Informational Videos.
The Stephen T Bowling promise to you
Our team of Austin DWI Attorneys and support staff are committed to providing exceptional service for our clients. Stephen’s desire to start his own firm is a result of an arrest he experienced when he was in the military. He had a terrible experience with the lack of communication from the office of the attorney he hired. Throughout the case he was only able to get one call back and never another update on his case. As such, Stephen ensures his staff and attorneys are available for phone calls and always keep you up to date on your case. You can rest assured that we will do everything possible to resolve your DWI case with a positive result. We pride ourselves on our high success rate in the complicated field of Texas DWI Law. Using our expertise and experience, we will devote tireless energy as we advocate in your defense.