When law enforcement officers make arrests, they are required to follow certain protocols. When they do not follow the appropriate procedures, they can end violating the Constitutional rights of the individuals they are arresting. This is something that happens all the time, including in arrests for alleged driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses. When lawyers are able to prove such errors, they are oftentimes able to get the DWI charges of their clients dismissed. Here are a couple of the areas to consider when looking for mistakes made by law enforcement.
Officers cannot pull you over simply because they think you look suspicious. They can only pull you over if you are breaking the law in some way (such as making a traffic violation), or if they believe you are displaying common signs of impairment (such as drifting in and out of lanes). These types of reasons are referred to as "probable cause." If the officer stops you and finds additional signs of impairment, such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol on your breath, this gives him or her even more probable cause to test you for impairment and possibly make an arrest. If you fail your tests—which usually include field sobriety tests and a breath test taken with a portable breathalyzer—you will likely be arrested. Even if you pass your tests, the officer might still arrest you if there is other strong probable cause that you are impaired.
There are actually many cases in which officers did not have enough probable cause to make certain stops, DWI investigations and DWI arrests. When this occurs, the driver is considered to have been subjected to unreasonable search and seizure, which is prohibited in the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment. When it is determined that an unlawful arrest occurred in this way, it is often possible to get the evidence suppressed from the trial or to get the case completely dropped.
Chemical Test Refusal
Texas has an implied consent law, which says that all drivers in the state are automatically presumed to have given consent to chemical testing (breath and blood tests) after a DWI arrest occurs. If a driver refuses chemical testing, the driver will become subject to harsher penalties. Officers are required to inform individuals of the consequences of refusing a chemical test. Some officers make the error of failing to inform the driver of these consequences, or of trying to enforce the implied consent law based on a refusal that occurred before an arrest (when it doesn't actually apply). Other mistakes that are important to recognize are technical errors made during the chemical testing process, such as incorrect use of the testing devices.
Attorney Richard T. Jones is a highly knowledgeable Austin criminal defense lawyer who handles all types of DWI cases. He is able to thoroughly investigate the details of your case and determine whether law enforcement officers handled your arrest correctly. Contact The Law Office of Richard T. Jones to learn about your options for challenging your DWI charges!