Denton DWI Attorney
Driving While Intoxicated or DWI is one of the most common criminal offenses people face. Because of this, it is often not treated as seriously as it needs to be. If a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that you are operating a vehicle while intoxicated, he or she retains the right to perform a traffic stop. Depending on the officer’s assessment and the presence of intoxication signs like the smell of alcohol, open alcohol containers, and slurred or elevated speech, he or she will have you do a series of standardized field sobriety tests. These tests are complicated and confusing mental and physical tasks, which place your fate completely in the hands of the law enforcement officer.
Roadside DWI (Field Sobriety) Tests You May Encounter in Texas
If you are pulled over in the state of Texas and an officer suspects you may be driving under the influence of alcohol, there are three main roadside tests they may choose to administer. These Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) include:
- One-Leg-Stand (OLS): Like it sounds, this test requires you to stand on one leg and attempt to keep your balance. Typically, officers will watch if you sway, put the other foot down, hop to keep your balance. If they observe two or more of the issues they watch for, they infer you are impaired.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): This refers to the bouncing or jerking of eye motion that officers look for to infer that you are impaired. This is an involuntary motion that is not controlled. It’s important to note that alcohol impairment is not the only thing that can cause this.
- Walk and Turn (WAT): An officer will ask you to walk to a certain point and turn around and walk back. They will have you walk heel to toe the entire way and observe for any of the following: losing balance, stopping, missing heel-to-toe steps by more than a half of an inch, walking off the line, improperly turning, using arms to balance, turning at the wrong spot, etc. If the officer observes two or more of these behaviors, they will assume you are impaired.
Defense Against Roadside Tests
There are many issues with the validity of roadside tests. First, they were developed 30-40 years ago. They are still used to establish probably cause when making an arrest for DWI.
The main problems with these test is they lack scientific evidence as a requirement. That is to say they are highly subjective, which makes them easy to challenge their results. This means if you feel your results were faulty, we can help dispute them in a court of law on your behalf. There are several issues we could dispute them over, including:
- The conditions at the time they were administered. If it was in adverse conditions like rain, snow, or ice, or on an incline.
- Your condition including your age, weight, physical stamina, etc.
- Any special conditions that would apply to you at the time like being physically ill, having impaired hearing, being on certain prescribed medications, using contact lenses, etc.
We are just a phone call away and would be more than happy to discuss the details of your case if you have more questions about your specific field sobriety tests and results.
Drinking and Driving Offenses in Denton, Cooke, & Wise Counties
For further confirmation, the officer may ask for a breath or blood test to check the alcohol level; a refusal can mean an immediate driver’s license suspension. If the test is done and the blood alcohol level is measure at 0.08 percent or higher, you are deemed legally intoxicated, arrested, and charged with a DWI.
You can face even more severe criminal charges due to a recently updated DWI statute that states if you, the driver, are found operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of over 0.15 percent. This is now a class A misdemeanor and incurs serious criminal punishments that incorporate 180 – 365 days of incarceration and a fine between $2,000 and $4,000.
DUI – Underage Driving
It is illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to be operating a motor vehicle with any alcohol in their system. If you are under 21 and caught with a blood alcohol level measured even as low as 0.01 percent, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI. If you have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, you can actually face the same DWI punishments utilized on those over 21 years of age. Refusal to abide by an officer’s request for a breath or blood test leads to an automatic license suspension of 6 months.
A DUI on your record significantly impacts your future, hindering your ability to attend certain colleges, pursue professional licenses in various fields, or reach any other number of future personal and professional goals. Insurance policies can also increase rates or cancel coverage altogether based on an underage DUI conviction.
DWI and DUI are severe charges in Texas accompanied by harsh repercussions. Don’t hesitate to seek the expert legal advice and assistance of a seasoned attorney. Paige McCormick has helped countless clients in Denton County, and surrounding counties with their DWI or DUI charges. She is knowledgeable, experienced, and proactive in cases like these, ensuring you have the best possible outcome available.
You Only Have 15 Days From Your Date of Arrest to Protect Your Driver’s License
Contact our office to find out more about protecting your driver’s license. We will request the ALR hearing that determines the fate of your license for free.
Let Paige McCormick give you the best possible chance for success in such an overwhelming situation. We will do everything we can to protect your freedom, rights, and reputation.
Call or contact us online today for a free confidential consultation. Paige McCormick works with clients in the Denton, Cooke, & Wise Counties.