Have you recently been arrested on suspicion of DWI? Do police have blood test results that indicate you were intoxicated? Do you have a prior DWI arrest?
If so, you need to speak with an experienced Houston DWI attorney immediately. A second DWI arrest, particularly one involving a positive blood test, can have devastating consequences. If you are convicted, you will likely have to spend at least 6 days in jail and will lose your license for up to two years. While fighting a second DWI with a blood test will be difficult, it is not impossible if you have the right attorney by your side.
Doug Murphy has been representing clients in criminal DWI cases in Texas for nearly two decades. He is certified in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense and knows how to successfully handle all complex DWI matters. When your DWI arrest is supported by a positive blood test, you need an attorney who knows how to strategize a winning defense. Doug Murphy is well-versed in Texas DWI law and procedure and can help to protect you from the consequences of a second DWI. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today to learn more.
Second DWI in Texas
A second DWI is a Class A Misdemeanor in Texas. Class A Misdemeanors are the most serious non-felony offenses in the state. Aggravating factors can easily bump your second DWI up to a felony. The penalties for a second DWI are much more severe than for your first DWI offense.
License Suspension: When you are arrested on suspicion of DWI for the second time your driver's license will be subject to automatic suspension. The arresting officer will physically take your license after your arrest and give a temporary permit in its place. You must request a special administrative hearing within 15 days of your arrest if you want to try to keep your license. This administrative hearing is distinct and separate from your criminal trial. A judge has the authority to suspend your license for up to one year if you are charged with a second DWI.
Ignition Interlock Device: The State may be hesitant to give your license back without restriction if you have multiple DWI arrests or convictions. One option the State can employ is the requirement of an ignition interlock device, which gets installed in your vehicle. This will prevent you from operating your car if there is any evidence of alcohol on your breath. The costs associated with the device can be incredibly burdensome.
Jail Time: A second DWI is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum of 6 days in jail. The maximum jail sentence you can receive for your second DWI is 12 months.
Fines: The state has the authority to impose fines of up to $6,000 if you are convicted for a second DWI offense. These fines do not include costs associated with court expenses, probation, mandatory counseling, or interlock devices.
Probation: Probation is a form of supervisory release that can be used in conjunction with other penalties. While on probation, you must comply with certain requirements and keep a clean record.
Counseling: The state can also require you to complete certain counseling courses. These may include drug and alcohol abuse courses or safe driving classes.
Blood Tests and Your DWI Arrest
Blood tests are considered to be much more reliable than breath tests. In some cases, police may ask you to consent to both breath and blood testing. Why? Breath tests can help police determine if there is any alcohol in your system. They are generally easier to administer and more cost-efficient. However, they only test for the presence of alcohol and are not particularly reliable. Blood tests offer police the opportunity to gather more concrete evidence of intoxication. If breathalyzer results are not persuasive, but an officer suspects you are intoxicated, blood tests may be used to confirm that belief.
Implied Consent in Texas
Do you have to agree to comply with an officer's request to test your breath or blood? Until recently, the answer to that question was “yes.” However, a Texas court recently found that the state's implied consent law was unconstitutional. Implied consent basically meant that the act of driving automatically triggered consent to test. You could not refuse testing without penalty.
Today, you have the right to refuse chemical testing. You do not have to provide a breath or blood sample if police do not have a search warrant backing their request. Your refusal to cooperate cannot be used as evidence of your intoxication. However, it is important to understand that your refusal could come back to haunt you if you are later convicted of DWI. A judge can suspend your license for up to two years if you refuse a blood test.
Search Warrants and Blood Tests
You cannot refuse to cooperate with police if their request for chemical testing is supported by a search warrant. If an officer has reason to believe that you are intoxicated, he or she can file a formal request for a search warrant. This request must be supported by probable cause. Evidence that may support an officer's request for a search warrant could include:
- Your inability to communicate
- Hostile attitude and demeanor
- Failed field sobriety tests
- The odor of drugs or alcohol in the car
- Open containers in the vehicle
- Slurred or impaired speech, and
- Other indicators of intoxication.
A judge will review the request for a warrant and approve it he or she believes probable cause exists. Once the officer has the warrant in hand, you will be forced to provide a sample of your blood for testing purposes.
Use of Blood Tests in Texas DWI Arrests
Blood tests are generally considered to be the most reliable way to test for the presence of drugs or alcohol in your system. This is because the presence of alcohol or drugs will be most clear in a sample of your blood. However, blood test results will not always be an accurate indicator of intoxication. Some attorneys are afraid to take on criminal DWI cases when positive blood tests are involved. Doug Murphy knows that blood tests are not always perfect and that such cases can still be won if argued strategically.
Attacking Blood Test Results to Win your DWI Case
Blood test results are not guaranteed to be perfect. It will be important to thoroughly investigate all aspects of the blood test results that are being used as evidence against you. This will require a full analysis of blood testing protocols, procedures, and testing methods. Flaws in the blood testing system can throw off the accuracy of results. If we cannot trust the results, they must be invalidated. Without these results, the state may not have sufficient evidence to support a second DWI case against you. This can help us to secure a favorable plea. Even better, this can help to get the charges dropped altogether.
The Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. will search for any evidence that can be used to attack the validity of blood test results. This may include proof showing:
- An insufficient amount of blood was drawn to perform the test.
- The state failed to preserve an untested sample of blood for re-testing purposes.
- Blood was drawn from an artery rather than a vein.
- Blood samples were not stored properly.
- Blood samples were not drawn by properly qualified individuals.
- The skin was cleaned with alcohol swabs prior to testing.
- The chain of custody was broken.
- Blood testing equipment was not cleaned or maintained appropriately.
- Plasma blood tests results were not properly re-calibrated to whole blood value.
- Blood samples were not mixed with proper amounts of preservatives or anticoagulants.
- Other deviations from standard procedure.
It will be important to identify as many of these factors as possible. The stronger the attack on the validity of the blood test results, the greater your chances of winning your criminal DWI case.
Houston DWI Attorney
The consequences of DWI become more severe with each new conviction. A second DWI carries mandatory time behind bars and can trigger the loss of your license for up to a year. You can also be subject to expensive fines, court costs, and probation-related fees. If your second DWI is supported by blood test results, the chances of conviction are even greater. However, you can still fight to protect your future by challenging the DWI charges.
Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. to find out how our Texas DWI attorneys can help. Your first consultation is free, so call us today to get started on your defense.