Why You Shouldn’t Represent Yourself in a DWI

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal


(972) 369-0577

Here’s why:

DWI Laws Are Nastier Than You Think

The laws against DWI are getting nastier and nastier with no end in sight.  My clients hear me repeat the phrase, “no politician ever got elected in Texas promising to go easy on DUI cases.”

Many people arrested for DWI feel they were wrong and should take responsibility for their mistake.  While this is an extremely admirable trait — it assumes the price for taking responsibility isn’t cruel and thoughtless.

The one thing the legislature can’t take away from you is your constitutional right to an advocate.  It’s the only way to try and level the playing field.

Don’t Assume Your Arrest is a Lost Cause

First, as any prosecutor will tell you, DWI’s can and do very frequently end in acquittals.  Jurors are just like you.  In a DWI they truly presume you innocent unlike other cases.  They listen much to the dismay and chagrin of the prosecutor and the police officer who would have them believe there is only one side to the story.

Scientific Testing are Man-made Mouse-traps

Blood and breath tests can be discredited through different scientific arguments and sometimes you can demonstrate to the jury the test was simply improperly conducted.  The equipment is fallible and jurors are often surprised at just how imprecise these machines truly are.

The practice of blood warrants is controversial.  Forcibly putting a needle in someone’s arm would be a 2nd Degree Felony under the Texas Penal Code (aggravated assault with a deadly weapon) if it weren’t conducted under the color of law.  Regardless, DWI enforcement has lost so much perspective that this practice is justified to solve first-time DWI offenses that are Class B Misdemeanors.

Police Have to Follow the Rules Too

Additionally, Judges frequently suppress improper traffic stops or other improper police contact.  This means that where an officer has been overly-aggressive in finding a reason to pull a car over or the officer didn’t have the right to visit with you… all or some of the evidence may be thrown out by the Judge if improperly attained pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 38.23.  In those instances field sobriety tests, breath tests, and even blood tests can be inadmissible for the prosecution.

There is so much at stake in a DWI for your future that a short article hardly does it justice.  I’ve only addressed the tip of the iceberg as far as consequences and punishment.  There is so much other red-tape such as driver’s licenses suspensions, surcharges for driver’s license renewals, and deep-lung-devices being ordered on your car, it hardly makes sense to go into this process alone.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas.  He is designated as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters.  www.texasdefensefirm.com.

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