An arrest for driving while intoxicated is stressful for a good reason. A conviction for a DWI can affect your job, particularly those who work in law enforcement. A recent case involving a Fort Worth police officer is an example of the serious consequences that law enforcement personnel can face because of a DWI conviction. However, it's important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty.
On December 8, 2021, Grapevine police arrested a 14-year lieutenant with the Fort Worth police department for suspected DWI. The officer was off duty when the arrest occurred. In a written statement, the police department stated, “The Fort Worth Police Department holds every officer to a very high standard and does not tolerate criminal misconduct or unethical behavior in any manner.” While the officer faced serious consequences in this situation, there are defenses to an arrest for DWI.
Common DWI Arrest Defenses
While many people think that an arrest for DWI in Texas is an open and shut case, mistakes happen during police stops, investigations, and arrests related to suspected DWIs.
Problems with DWI Stops
The police can't simply pull you over for any reason. Rather, they need reasonable suspicion that you've violated the law. This reasonable suspicion can result from traffic violations like speeding, running a stoplight, swerving into another lane, or even driving too slowly. Once pulling you over, the police will observe your interaction during the stop to determine if they should ask you to submit to a field sobriety test.
Problems with Field Sobriety Tests
A field sobriety test involves three standardized tests such as:
- Walk and turn,
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus, and
- One-leg stand.
Non-standardized tests like asking you to recite the alphabet backward or counting backward are not admissible in court. However, the standardized tests allowed in court are still subjective observations, which a skilled DWI defense attorney can challenge at trial or in a hearing.
Problems with BAC
To make a DWI arrest, the police must have probable cause, meaning a reasonable belief that you are driving while intoxicated. After a field sobriety test, the police may ask you to submit to a breath or blood test to measure your blood alcohol concentration. If you refuse, they can obtain a warrant for a blood test from a judge.
Even if your BAC is over the legal limit of .08%, or .04% if you have a commercial license, a skilled DWI attorney can challenge these results in court. Often your diet or health conditions can affect a breathalyzer test. The machines can also have problems with calibration or use, which can make measurements inaccurate. Calibration and maintenance problems can also result in inaccurate blood tests.
Hire a Texas DWI Expert
If you're facing a DWI, particularly if you can lose your job as a result, you need a Texas attorney who is an expert in DWI defense. Attorney Doug Murphy is a DWI expert and is Board Certified in both DWI defense and criminal law. Doug is one of only two Texas attorneys board certified in both areas, along with a track record of successfully and aggressively defending those facing serious consequences with a DWI conviction. Best Lawyers in America also recently named Doug the “Lawyer of the Year” for 2021 for DWI defense. Find out why the Houston press calls him “drinking driver's best friend.” Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm at 713-229-8333 today to set up a consultation.