You can be an actor (e.g., Tim Williams) or an NBA star (e.g., Steve Francis) or just about any well-known person, and it won't matter to the police in Houston when they arrest you for a DWI. Some might say that's a compliment – but it's not. Far from it. It's not a result of upholding fairness but a testament to their ruthlessness. If you are someone with financial means, though, you're more likely to fight the charges because you can easily afford an attorney. Others may question the value of it because (1) they think they'll be convicted anyways, so (2) why expend the money when the outcome won't help them. You could be a real estate agent, a teacher, a pharmacist, nurse, pilot, accountant, doctor, licensed money manager, or a construction worker, and you may choose to plead guilty or accept a plea deal because you feel morally guilty, don't know your options and just want to put this embarrassing event behind you.
This is a bad way of thinking when arrested for a DWI in Houston, especially if it's your first DWI but more importantly if it's your second or subsequent DWI. If it's your first, then you want to avoid a conviction at all costs to avoid not only a fine and the stigma of the conviction but the collateral consequences that follow the conviction. If it's your second or subsequent DWI arrest, then the penalties you face are harsher if convicted, so you also want to avoid a conviction at all costs.
Fortunately, DWI evidence can be suppressed. Your attorney may be able to file a motion to suppress the evidence under certain circumstances. This motion is a key tool that and experienced and Board Certified DWI attorney use to put forth a winning defense strategy. So, you can win your DWI case, you just need the right attorney who knows, in part at least, when DWI evidence is not admissible and takes strategic action to have it excluded.
When is Evidence Not Admissible in a Houston DWI Case?
From the moment you are pulled over to the moment you are arrested and booked, many things can happen (or not happen) that can lead to the exclusion of evidence. Evidence must be obtained lawfully, and when it is not, your rights as a suspected DWI offender are violated, and so any evidence flowing from the violation must be suppressed out of fairness and justice.
Evidence is not admissible when any of the following happen:
- You were pulled over for a traffic stop but the officer had no reasonable suspicion to pull you over – e.g., you didn't commit any road violation or anything, but the officer may have seen you leave a bar late at night.
- You were pulled over for a DWI stop, but the officer had no probable cause to believe you were driving while intoxicated.
- You were asked to submit a preliminary breath test (PBT), but the test was administered improperly or the equipment had not been calibrated properly.
- You were asked to perform (unscientific) field sobriety tests (FST), but the tests were not administered properly.
- You were asked or forced by warrant to submit to a breathalyzer test or blood test, but the administration was improper, the equipment was faulty, or the blood sample was improperly handled through the chain of custody, rendering the results unreliable or inaccurate.
- The warrant to make you submit a blood sample was unlawfully obtained – e.g., false information was given to magistrate obtain the warrant.
- The officer unlawfully searched your person or your vehicle.
- The arresting officer failed to read you the Miranda warnings and/or continued to intimidate you to answer questions even after you requested an attorney.
- An officer arrested you without sufficient probable cause – e.g., you passed the PBT and FST but the officer didn't like you so he arrested you anyway.
What Happens When DWI Evidence is Excluded from a Case in Houston TX?
When an experienced Board Certified DWI defense attorney successfully gets some or all of the DWI evidence suppressed, often two outcomes materialize:
- The prosecutor drops the charges because he no longer has a viable case; or
- You win at trial because the prosecutor was unable to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Once one of these things happens, you avoid penalties and collateral consequences. All that remains is a wounded pride caused by the arrest, but this heals (and heals pretty quickly).
But remember: not all Houston DWI cases are the same and not all attorneys are the same. So, it's always important to speak to a DWI defense attorney about your case first, so you get to know the attorney a bit and get a good understanding of your options and potential outcomes. With regard to the attorney, however, it's important to speak to a Board Certified DWI defense attorney in Houston if you want to make sure you speak to someone who has the vetted experienced and insight to make sure all your options are considered.