By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
In Texas our legislature, law enforcement, and many prosecutors know of only one way to deal with Driving While Intoxicated. To be as mean as possible. Even if drunk driving is at record lows, they figure the only way to keep driving the numbers down even further is to get progressively meaner and meaner. Of course, they can’t actually prove getting meaner actually works. But you are fighting a harsh, unsympathetic law enforcement machine designed to break your pocket book, label you forever, and in some cases humiliate you in the name of public safety.
Even though a first DWI is a misdemeanor in Texas, it almost acts like a felony in some ways, or as I put it, it’s a misdemeanor on steroids. There are generally driver’s license suspensions, deep lung devices that can be put on your car which can be humiliating, and thousands of dollars in sur-charges to keep your driver’s license on a 1st DWI arrest.
Texas has progressively harshened their drunk driving laws. The legislature has addressed intoxication offenses during every single bi-annual session since 1993. The most recent changes allow for people to be charged with a class A misdemeanor if someone’s blood/alcohol concentration is greater than 0.15 at the time they are tested.
Texas law enforcement agencies have aggressively been pursuing involuntary blood draws of suspects if the increased punishment weren’t enough. Many agencies in Texas have began introducing “no refusal weekend” policies, which means that if a suspect refuses a breath test, the police merely fax a cookie-cutter warrant to a judge on call. If the judge signs the warrant, then the person’s blood is taken without their consent. In the words of Richard Alpert, Assistant District Attorney in Tarrant County and one of the lead intoxication offense prosecutors in the State, “If it bleeds, it pleads.”
So you can see, Texas’ mentality with DWI enforcement is that “you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.”
But you’re not helpless. Whether you made a mistake by getting behind the wheel, or whether the only mistake you made was running into a manipulative officer having a bad night… you don’t need to let yourself be thrashed, broken, and humiliated.
There are countless ways to defend DWI cases ranging from the legality of the stop in the first place, to the intoxication aspects, and even some of the smaller, over-looked elements to the case. Even if the case is extremely difficult, the help of counsel can assist you in lifting at least some of the heavier punishments from these laws.
Just because the prosecutors, police, and legislature says it’s justice doesn’t make it so.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice regarding any situation you should contact an attorney directly. Contacting the attorney through this forum does not create an attorney-client relationship. Communications sent through this blog are not confidential.