Austin DWI Attorney
You ONLY Have 15 DAYS to Request A DMV Hearing in TX.
Need an Austin DWI attorney?
Being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated in Austin can be frightening. Most who are charged with a DWI are normal, upstanding, law-abiding citizens. All it takes is a momentary lapse in judgment or an unfortunate mistake for good people to find themselves being treated as criminals.
If convicted of a DWI, individuals can face a range of serious consequences, including a criminal record that will impact them for life. At Stephen T Bowling: DWI & Criminal Defense Attorneys we practice exclusively as DWI & Criminal Defense Lawyers. Whether you have been charged with a first offense DWI or are facing a felony DWI charge, we will fight to mitigate the negative consequences, with our extensive law enforcement experience and detailed knowledge of the science behind a DWI arrest. We have had DWI charges of all levels dismissed. Call today for a Free Consultation.
What is Probable Cause in a DWI arrest?
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!
What are DWI Field Sobriety Tests?
DWI Field Sobriety Tests
The Police Officer must determine if he believes you are “Intoxicated” before a DWI arrest is made. “Intoxicated” in Texas doesn’t just mean a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or higher. It can also include driving under the influence of prescription medication, an illegal drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
When a person is arrested for an DWI charge, field sobriety tests are administered unless you refuse them. We often have clients say they passed the test without understanding what the officer is looking for. With multiple attorneys that are prior police officers we ensure our team knows 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. These mistakes can become major factors for your defense when your case is presented in court.
At the Free Consultation we will walk through the DWI field sobriety tests and see if the police made any errors or if any constitutional rights were violated. We also provide an intake packet with questions that help us see if you have any medical conditions, take any medication, or if any other factors may help your defense.
Let’s cover what the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) are used and how they determine if a driver is Intoxicated? The battery of tests that are known as the SFSTs were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to detect impaired drivers. These tests are utilized nationwide by law enforcement agencies to make DWI arrests and government attorneys to convict drivers of Driving While Intoxicated.
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.
What must the state prove for a DWI Conviction?
As we briefly covered the test used to determine “Intoxicated” above, we will look at the Texas DWI Statute. A Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge in Texas is defined in the Texas Penal Code 49.04 as:
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED. (a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were:
In order to understand what exactly a DWI is we must discuss what each element is that the government’s prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction.
What can I do now?
Step One: Contact an Attorney that knows DWI Defense
Following a DWI arrest, contact Stephen T Bowling: DWI & Criminal Defense Attorneys right away at (512) 599-9000. We are available nights and weekends. We have had instances where a DWI charge were dismissed after we obtained evidence that would have otherwise been lost if we would not have sought it out immediately.
These vary based on the case but a few we have seen are obtaining security camera footage or photos of the arrest area. We will schedule a free consultation where we explain the process and potential defenses to your DWI case. We will answer all your questions, such as: Is your license suspended immediately after a DWI arrest, What happens when you refuse a breathalyzer, and how much does a DWI cost?
Our hope is that this will take away some of the stress of the unknown. You do have options that may result in a dismissal or a lighter penalty. We are happy to share our knowledge and tips to anyone going through this stressful time.
Step Two: Arrange a DMV Hearing
In Texas, if you are arrested for driving while intoxicated, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended unless an Administrative License Revocation hearing is requested. In order to appeal this suspension, you will need to arrange a hearing with the Department of Public Safety.
This hearing is a civil case that is not connected to the criminal case in any way other than the case facts stem from the same event. We represent you at this hearing and use it as one method to gather evidence that may help the criminal case. In fact, we have had criminal cases dismissed based on testimony the officer provided during this hearing. Even though the cases are different, the officer is under oath, and therefore, tied to his testimony in the criminal case.
This hearing must be requested within 15 days of the day you receive notice. Once our team is acting as your Austin DWI Lawyer we will request this hearing on your behalf. All motions and dates pertaining to the license will be uploaded into the client portal in the Client Center so you are always up to date on the status. We strive to ensure you are able to drive after your DWI arrest.
What sets you apart?
Our team of Austin DWI Attorneys and support staff are committed to providing exceptional service for our clients. Stephen T Bowling’s desire to start a firm dedicated to defending those that have been arrested 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 attorney he hired. The entire case he was only able to get one call back and never another update on his case.
As such, Stephen T Bowling 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 advocating as your defense.
If you have been arrested…
Your FREEDOM is potentially at stake. A conviction can have a huge impact on your job, relationships, and your future. You need to act fast.
YOU’VE BEEN CHARGED WITH DWI. WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
After you’ve contacted your Austin DWI lawyer to begin working on your case, there are some other things you can start doing to help your case in court. Details matter in DWI cases, so it can be important to your case to recollect everything you can of the night of the arrest.
Some things you should think about and write down:
- The amount of sleep you had the previous night
- The times and details of your meals that day
- What you drank that day and when you drank it
- Any prescription or over-the-counter medications you took that day and when you took them
- The names of people you were with that day
- Anything else you can remember about the 24 hours leading up to the arrest
It would also be helpful, while your memory is still fresh, to write down a detailed account of the events directly leading up to the arrest and the arrest itself.
GET A TRUSTED ADVOCATE IN YOUR CORNER
The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to contact an Austin DWI Lawyer that will fight for you. The attorneys at Stephen T. Bowling, Austin DWI Attorneys focuses their practice primarily on DWI and related cases; and have both law enforcement and prosecutor experience that we put to use when fighting for our clients.
When you get a DWI in Austin what happens is you’re actually facing two things, you’re, number one, facing your criminal charge but you’re also facing the driver’s license suspension side.
What happens is you have 15 days to put in a driver’s license hearing request, and when that request is in that allows us, at the hearing, to put the officer on the stand under oath and ask him questions before we get to the criminal case. This allows us to lock in his or her testimony, we can see how he or she testifies, and question about discrepancies between the police report and the video.
On the criminal side, they take you and do your booking. If you don’t have much in your criminal history, they’ll release you on a PR bond, which is a promise to come back with a small processing fee. And then, from there, I meet with the client, discuss their case with them, and look for any weaknesses based on the client’s recollection.
It’s important you find an attorney that knows what they’re doing, that knows the DWI laws and the cases and what to look for when they’re fighting your DWI. Call (512) 599-9000 day or night to set up your free consultation.
Proven Defense by a Former Law Enforcement Officer
Many people who are charged with an Austin DWI just assume there is no way to fight it. They think the best they can hope for is a smaller fine or a reduction in the amount of time they lose their license. We focus on defending anyone accused of a DWI. With the right legal counsel, there are other outcomes. Depending on the facts of the case, what if…
- Instead of months of suspension, you don’t lose your license at all?
- Instead of making a deal for probation, you never get convicted?
- Instead of having a DWI conviction, your record stays clean?
- Instead of cutting bad deals, you get a vigorous DWI defense?
While every case depends on the facts and circumstances at play, mounting an aggressive defense to DWI charges may be your best option. The Austin Criminal Defense attorneys at Stephen T Bowling, P.C., handle all drunk driving cases, defending clients in both the criminal proceedings and driver’s license hearings.
Don’t trust just anyone with your DWI defense. Contact the law firm of Stephen T Bowling, PC, by e-mail or call us at 512-599-9000 to schedule your free consultation with an Austin DWI lawyer to discover some strategies we pursue in defending Austin Driving While Intoxicated cases.
We offer payment plans and accept major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
Sworn to Protect Our
KEPT US UP TO DATE EACH STEP OF THE WAY
Stephen Bowling, reviewed our case and discussed his recommendations clearly. He kept us up to date each step of the way with continued explanations. He was readily available for questions/concerns through the process. We would reach out to them again in the future for any legal concerns.
VERY COMMUNICATIVE AND VERY UNDERSTANDING
Stephen is Great, Great , Lawyer!! He give you weekly updates on not just your case but also on what’s going on with his firm as well!!! Stephen is also very communicative and very understanding on any situation!! I would hands down Refer Stephen to anyone with any situation!!! Great job Stephen words can’t describe what you have done for me!!!!