Archive for October, 2012

Football & Holidays Increase Risk of DWI Arrests in Houston

With football season and the year-end holidays comes an increase in drunk driving enforcement, and a corresponding increase in the number of marginal or unfair arrests.

An experienced Houston DWI lawyer understands that simply being arrested does not mean someone is guilty. Unfortunately, for those who fail to take it seriously, a conviction can result in jail time, driver’s license suspension, hefty fines and court costs, and even job loss. Nationwide, the cost of a conviction is often $10,000 or more, including skyrocketing insurance premiums. Seeking professional legal advice in the aftermath of arrest is the first crucial step.

Whether college or pro, the link between football and DUI is real. A study by the University of Colorado found a 76 percent increase in alcohol violations on game day in college towns and a 13 percent increase in drunk driving accidents. Football leads us into the year-end holiday driving period — which is the most dangerous time of the year on our nation’s roads. Authorities typically respond with targeted enforcement efforts and more manpower. Here in the Houston area, this means “no refusal weekends.” In some cases, that can result in inexperienced officers making arrests, or older officers typically responsible for inside jobs. In some cases, even voluntary or auxiliary officers may be involved. Enforcement efforts may also place unrealistic expectations on law enforcement, thus leading to probable cause violations and marginal or unfair arrests.

Knowing your rights is important. You have the right to remain silent and to refuse roadside sobriety tests, including hand-held breathalyzers. And you have the right to refuse a blood sample without a warrant. Under Texas DWI Law, if you take the breath test and fail (test over .08) or if you refuse to take the test, the state’s Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process will attempt to suspend your driver’s license. While the officer at the scene may take your driver’s license for refusing a breathalyzer, a temporary permit will be issued good for 41 days.

Within 15 days of arrest, a driver can request a hearing to challenge license suspension – your defense attorney can explain in more detail. Failure to do so can result in a suspension of 6 months. For a second or subsequent refusal within 10 years, an automatic two-year suspension may be applied to those who fail to assert their legal rights to a hearing. You want an attorney who will know the ALR process and help you keep your license.

A third DWI in Texas is a felony offense punishable by 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Felony DWI charges must always be handled by experienced legal counsel.

The truth of the matter is there are many ways to fight a DWI arrest. The experience and training of officers, the reliability of the breathalyzer test, probable cause for the traffic stop and the results of field sobriety tests. With the legal and social consequences of a drunk driving conviction growing more serious with each passing year, keeping a DWI conviction off your permanent driving record can save you time, money and headaches for years to come.

You need an experienced, aggressive Texas DWI lawyer.  Call 1-800-395-5951 today for your free consultation. More than 20 years experience.