Common DWI Mistakes
There are a number of common mistakes that a suspect and defendant can make if he or she has been pulled over and then charged by law enforcement for suspected driving while intoxicated in Houston. Because these mistakes can impact a person’s life well into the future (and nearly forever) it is my stance that the person who is educated about their rights stands a much better chance of overcoming complications and dilemmas that loom on the horizon and accompany a DWI traffic stop – and charge.
A person who engages in a conversation with a police officer when he or she has been stopped or is being detained and taken to jail runs the risk of offering information that may be used against them if a court case is pursued by the prosecution of the county in which you are stopped. Even a statement as seemingly innocent as ‘I’m sorry’ can have negative connotations in the eyes of police officer – making it appear that you have confessed to some wrongdoing. Always say little to nothing – politely refusing to provide responses without the presence of an attorney – and never, never, never admit guilt to anything – even something as seemingly innocuous as the question of ‘whether or not you’ve been drinking’.
Too, if you are charged with driving while intoxicated in another state – do not ignore this because you decide to consciously avoid driving in that state again in the near future and beyond. These charges will not disappear – but instead compound and may at some point come back to haunt you – either in the form of monetary charges or a warrant placed for your arrest that allows law enforcement from your home state to arrest you for outstanding charges in another. Although a DWI is unpleasant (at best) it is never something that can be filed away and forgotten.
The DWI defendant must also understand that the chances of coming through the case unscathed are better when you contract the services of a trained professional who understands how to maneuver through the legal system in a manner that is most cost-effective and beneficial to the DWI suspect. This is especially true when addressing the legal systems of other states for which you are unfamiliar. In addition, current driving while intoxicated statutes and defenses can be complicated – and simply require the expertise of a person who has knowledge and access to the ins and out of the court system.
Finally, understand that there are numerous (a plethora) of legitimate defenses for a driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence or driving impaired charge. These range from medical defenses that assign a physiological reason for your seemingly intoxicated behavior to faulty police work – which includes such things as an ‘unwarranted stop’ to police misconduct.
Avoid Getting Stopped
Police who are out on the road are there for a reason. They are observing traffic and drivers for any type of infraction. The ‘jackpot’ of all driving offenses is drunk driving. Get stopped for that and it could cost you thousands of dollars in time, fines and future employment prospects. This article will provide the reader with some advice about how to avoid getting stopped and ticketed for intoxicated driving.
*The most obvious manner in which to avoid this unpleasantness is to never drink and drive. Surely most people already realize this. But here I must emphasize the word never. I would venture that thousands of people stop after work for a drink with friends or have a glass of wine with dinner then slide behind the steering wheel and head home. That is not illegal – and I can only emphasize that you are within your rights to do so. The distinction to be made is when a person’s blood alcohol content level has reached the legal limit of 0.08 – THAT is when it becomes illegal to drive. Unfortunately, though, most citizens don’t realize that if a police officer deems you to be too intoxicated to drive then they can still arrest you – even if your BAC is below the legal limit. And that is why I suggest you always have a stone sober designated driver.
*However, if you do choose to drink and drive then another great way to avoid getting stopped for suspected drunk driving is to make sure that your vehicle meets all the legal requirements to be on the road. For instance, make sure your license tabs are current – nothing is more enticing to a police officer than to see an expired tab. It’s an open invitation to delve into your life. In addition, make sure that your car or truck is in great working order. Unlit headlights or brake lights are as much an overture for a ‘cop stop’ as anything! Keep your tires properly inflated, your brakes in working order and your fluids topped off. It could be a problem if your car stopped working on a public roadway just as you were returning from having a ‘beer with friends’.
*Drive safely, carefully, and cautiously. If there was ever a time to obey ALL traffic laws it’s after you’ve had a beer or two. In other words I mean – don’t speed, make complete stops at all stop signs, use your turn signals to let other drivers know your intentions, don’t tailgate and don’t pull any stunt that will call attention to yourself – like making a u turn anywhere or playing your music so loud that your car shakes. Too, don’t behave in any way that might provoke an officer of the law – if you do then you can expect to be pulled over and your life inspected with a ‘fine-tooth comb’. Behave out there – when it comes to avoiding a drunk driving arrest – discretion is the better part of valor.
The average person has been taught to respect, revere and to some small extent – fear – law enforcement. Nerves are usually on end when a police officer pulls your vehicle over and steps to the side of the car. Remember to always keep your head about you, be respectful and recognize that you have the right to a DWI attorney before answering any question beyond your name and address.