Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is something Texas takes very seriously. Especially on busy holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day Weekend that we’re enjoying right now, the patrolmen are on high alert for any signs of people driving after the least bit of drinking. DWI convictions can be costly.
A first time offense can be as much as $2,000. The second offense can be $4,000, and the third can be as $10,000. However, these are just the base fine amounts. Once you factor in bail, court fees, court-issued classes, and increased insurance costs, a DWI can be as expensive as $17,000 in Texas. And that’s just the beginning.
So it’s in your best interest to first avoid getting the DWI to begin with and relying on public transportation or a designated driver. The next best thing is to follow this advice if you do get pulled over for a DWI. Then, if you are charged, don’t forget to call an attorney as soon as possible to help build a strong defense case in your favor that can possibly decrease the charge and lower the fines.
Pull Over In A Safe Place
As soon as the police officer decides to pull you over under suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she is going to be looking for every detail to support their assumption. Keep everyone safe during the encounter by pulling over your vehicle in a safe place. If there doesn’t appear to be a safe place immediately apparent, turn on your flashers right away so the police know you see them and then continue driving until the first safe place appears.
Stay Still In The Car
Officers are trained to prepare for the worst case scenario. They will approach the vehicle from behind in order to keep a close eye on the driver and also make it more difficult for the driver to shoot or harm the officer without turning around completely.
Do not get out of the vehicle unless the officer instructs you to do so, and keep your hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 so the officer can clearly see that you are not trying to cause harm or disruption.
Manners go a long way here in Texas. If you are polite and cooperate with the police, you are less likely to be charged with excessive items and the police officer will likely treat you with better favor. Remember, the police are just doing their job to protect the community and don’t deserve to be treated rudely at any point during your interaction.
Don’t Lie, But Be Careful With What You Say
It is the job of the officer to try and get you to admit to drinking and driving. While it can be harmful to your case if you lie, you do not have to answer any possibly incriminating questions. You have the right to remain silent. If you do not feel like answering the questions, you don’t have to. Staying silent can often be the best thing you can do for yourself if you get charged.
Refuse Road-Side Tests And Breathalyzers
The road-side tests administered by the officer are not objective in the slightest. It is all up to the officer’s opinion about how you perform during the test, so it is in your best legal interest to not take the road-side test at all. Furthermore, do not take the hand-held breathalyzer test either. It is unreliable because it is convenient for the officer.
Wait For The Chemical Test At The Police Station
If you refuse to take the hand-held breathalyzer and do the road-side test, you will be taken to the police station for a chemical test that examines your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Remember, just because you have been taken to the police station does not mean you have been charged with a DWI. This chemical test can be administered via the breath or the blood.
Take the breath test because, for the most part, the results can be contested in court easier than the blood results.
Write Down Everything
As soon as you are released from the station, write down everything you remember leading up to the DWI encounter.
- What exactly did you do all day?
- Who were you with?
- How much did you have to drink?
- What did you drink?
- Where were you going when you were pulled over by the police officer?
- How did the officer interact? What was his/her behavior like?
- What did you say to the officer?
- Were you read your Miranda Rights?
- How long had it been since your last drink by the time you took the chemical test?
All of this information will be pertinent to building a strong criminal defense case if you are pressed with charges. The sooner you can get it down on paper, the better off you’ll likely be because the information is fresh in your mind.
Hire A DWI Lawyer
If you end up being charged with driving while intoxicated, hire a DWI lawyer who can help you defend your case as soon as possible.
Cynthia Mendoza is a trusted and experienced DWI lawyer in Lubbock, who has been defending clients for more than 10 years.
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