Most people arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) hope to avoid getting convicted. A DWI conviction usually has profound implications (such as license suspension, jail time, and fines) and can affect your work and educational opportunities. However, you can have your DWI charges lowered or dropped.
DWI charges in Texas, especially for first-time offenders, can be dropped totally or reduced to a less severe penalty such as careless driving. This is how to achieve the best possible result while trying to have a DWI charge dismissed.
What is the Penalty for a DWI in Texas?
It’s worth noting that a minor can be charged with either a DUI or a DWI in Texas, but only an adult over 21 years can be charged with a DWI. If you are convicted of a DWI, you will face various penalties. A DWI can have the following consequences:
- Up to 180 days in prison.
- A fine of up to $2,000
- Up to two years of community supervision.
Common DWI Tests
Under Texas Transportation Code 724.01, any individual apprehended for driving a motor vehicle in a public place while drunk is presumed to have agreed to the collecting of one or more specimens of their breath or blood for chemical analysis. Implied consent means that a person agrees to be tested by becoming a licensed driver. It is employed by Texas and every other state in the US.
Despite the implied consent, drivers have the right to decline any chemical tests, although doing so will result in their driving privileges being automatically revoked. Anyone with alcohol content of 0.08 or above will be prosecuted for driving while intoxicated if they agree to submit to chemical testing (DWI). However, there’s a significant chance that any of these test findings aren’t accurate.
These tests include:
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
Before obtaining any samples for chemical analysis, law enforcement may require a suspected criminal to undertake several field tests. Non-standardized field sobriety tests such as reciting the alphabet backward, walking and turning, and performing a one-leg stand are some of the tests officers may employ as part of their investigation. However, they are seldom used as proof of intoxication.
However, many people who have not consumed any alcohol may struggle to pass these tests.
Breath tests may be performed using portable breath test (PBT) devices at the traffic stop or local police station.
PBT test results are generally inadmissible in most Texas courts, and an alleged offender is not required to submit to these tests. An inaccurate BAC reading might arise from any number of problems committed when maintaining or using the testing device.
Blood testing is common when alleged offenders refuse to submit to field sobriety tests or provide breath test samples. A blood sample is collected and examined by qualified technicians at a private or state crime laboratory.
How to Get Your DWI Charges Lowered or Dropped
If you’ve been charged with DWI in Texas, you shouldn’t assume that failing any form of test inevitably means you’ll be convicted. Rather, an experienced criminal defense attorney can look into your arrest and how these tests were conducted to see whether any of a variety of errors can lead to suppression of these test findings and, eventually, the charges being dropped.
Some common errors include:
Failure to Clean / Calibrate Device — Breathalyzer devices must be calibrated regularly to guarantee reliable results. These devices are highly sensitive, and any failure to clean or properly maintain them will result in tests being thrown out.
Mishandled Samples — Blood or urine samples must be properly sealed and preserved before being examined. Any errors in the storage vials or cups, the storage temperatures, or possible contamination of the samples will result in the tests being invalidated.
Defective Equipment – If a breathalyzer or other alcohol concentration testing equipment malfunctions, several samples before the problem was identified may be labeled erroneous.
Unqualified/Uncertified Technicians — Individuals who operate breath test equipment or analyze blood or urine samples must be properly licensed. Otherwise, the findings may not be admissible in court. Qualified technicians may include chemists and licensed or registered nurses.
Improperly Administered Tests — Every testing technique has its specific rules, and any DWI test that isn’t done might lead to charge dismissal.
You can get your DWI charges lowered or dropped in the following ways:
A pretrial diversion program is an option if you are eligible, and it is available in your county. If you complete the pretrial diversion, the DWI will be dismissed, and you will be eligible to have it expunged from your record. Diversion programs are not available in every county, and not everyone arrested for a first-time DWI qualifies. Before opting for a pre-trial diversion program, you should always consult with an experienced DWI lawyer.
Contesting in Court
An expert DWI lawyer will examine all of the case circumstances to determine if you were legitimately stopped and arrested and if the testing was above threshold. Experienced DWI lawyers are well-versed in the law. They will submit a motion to suppress if they feel a police officer did not follow a traffic law when stopping a car or didn’t have sufficient legal cause for his actions. A judge can then order all evidence to be excluded and the charges dismissed.
If your lawyer and the state reach an agreement to dismiss DWI charges, you will be able to have the offense expunged from your record.
The principal objective of an DWI attorney is to have DWI charges dropped or reduced. Knowing the right questions to ask, the correct law to apply, and how to correctly examine the evidence against you are all important factors in evaluating whether or not you can get a DWI charge dismissed or reduced. Reach out to us today to get your DWI charges sorted.