Archive for May, 2013

DWI Arrests While on Vacation- What You Need to Know


According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, the Texas Department of Public Safety recently announced that troopers made more than 1,000 DWI arrests during a special spring break enforcement period. These 1,000 arrests all occurred between March 8 through March 17.

Our Texas DWI lawyers know that a spring break arrest for DWI can have far reaching consequences that affect you even after your vacation has ended and you have returned home. It is important to understand the legal implications of being arrested while on spring break or on any vacation.

What Happens When You Are Arrested on Vacation?

If you were visiting Texas for spring break or for any other reason and you were arrested for drunk driving in the state, you cannot just go back to your own home and forget about what happened. If your license is suspended in Texas as a result of a DWI arrest, your own state will find out about this and will suspend your license there as well.  This means that you would be unable to drive legally in your own home state even though the DWI arrest was in Texas.

You will also need to deal with the criminal charges that you face. When you are arrested for drunk driving, you need to come to hearings, you need to enter a plea and you need to resolve your case. This can be done through a plea bargain or through a trial.  You can also try to convince the court and prosecutor to drop the charges, or you can explore diversion programs that allow first-time offenders to avoid a criminal conviction and record.

To pursue any of the options related to your case, however, you’ll be dealing with Texas courts and Texas prosecutors. This can be hard to do when you are back home and far away from Texas where you were on vacation.

As such, it is very important that you have a local attorney representing you in the state of Texas even after you have gone back home. Your attorney can handle many of the issues locally, minimizing the number of times that you need to come back to Texas to deal with the charges against you. In fact, you may not need to return at all.

Spring Break Arrests

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that law enforcement had special DWI patrols working over spring break because the police know that Texas is a popular spring break destination. The troopers estimate that 226 of the 1,077 DWI arrests that were made were the result of the increased patrols over the vacation period.

Unfortunately, with police aggressively searching for drunk drivers during this period, it is possible that some of the arrests that were made were borderline cases where there is only minimal evidence showing that the driver was intoxicated. The increased patrols and the strong focus on finding drunk drivers may have also led to police pulling over drivers even in cases where there was dubious probable cause.

Understanding your legal rights, as well as understanding the implications of being arrested while on vacation, is very important to protect yourself as you cope with the criminal charges.

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

Court Rules Breath Mints Can be Evidence of DWI


In August 2010, a driver was stopped after he changed lanes without signaling. The law enforcement officer who stopped him was a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper. The trooper arrested the man, who was driving a Chevy Tahoe, and the driver was convicted of driving while intoxicated. The driver appealed the conviction, arguing that the trooper had violated his constitutional rights. Now, several years later, the Appellate Court has finally heard the appeal and ruled on the case. 

Our Texas DWI attorneys know that law enforcement cannot pull your vehicle over nor can law enforcement force you to submit to sobriety tests unless there is reasonable cause. The appeal of the Chevy Tahoe driver was based on the premise that there was no reasonable cause to conduct the search.  The appeals court, however, took a broad approach in this case in deciding what constituted probable cause for a search.

Breath Mints Can Create a Suspicion of DWI

According to The, the trooper pulled over the Chevy Tahoe because the Tahoe almost hit a motorcycle that was pulled over. The trooper had been issuing a citation for speeding to the motorcycle rider when the Tahoe changed lanes without looking and nearly caused a collision. The trooper later claimed that he believed before he pulled him over that the driver of the Tahoe may have been intoxicated. This trooper said he believed this because of the bad driving.

Upon pulling the Tahoe driver over, the trooper said that he smelled alcohol right away and that the driver appeared to be nervous. The trooper was just going to give him a warning, despite these signs. However, when the trooper returned to the Tahoe with a warning notice, he smelled what he described as an “overwhelming” odor of mints.

The trooper asked the driver if he had taken a mint and the driver said yes. Based on this, the trooper order the driver out of the car, and the driver was subsequently arrested for drunk driving. The driver, however, indicated that the traffic stop ended when the trooper had given him back his license and his warning. He argued that anything that occurred after that would constitute an illegal detention in violation of constitutional protections.

The court acknowledged that after a traffic stop is over, law enforcement doesn’t have the right to go on a “fishing expedition” to try to find other wrongdoing. In this case, however, the court said that the use of the breath mint combined with the other signs of potential intoxication by the officer all came together to provide a reasonable suspicion that the driver was drunk. This wasn’t a fishing expedition, according to the court, but instead there was sufficient probable cause, and the driver’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated since the search was justified.

The outcome of this case, which essentially indicates that use of a breath mint can be considered related to or evidence of a DWI, shows just how important it is to be careful if you have ever been charged with DWI or arrested for driving drunk.

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

Video Evidence and Your Texas DWI Case


Recently, KHOU Houston reported that a video had been released to the public showing a Travis County District Attorney prior to her drunk driving arrest. Police have cameras on the dashboards of their patrol cars and the video footage from these cameras is routinely used as evidence in drunk driving cases. The video released to the public featuring the District Attorney was taken before her arrest for drunk driving and showed that she was disoriented and that she stumbled during her sobriety tests. 

Our Texas DWI attorneys know that videos exist in pretty much every situation where you are arrested for drunk driving. Depending on the contents of these videos, the video in your case could either help you or hurt you. Either way, it is important to know what is on the video and to deal with it in a proactive way when you are facing DWI charges.

Video Evidence and Your DWI Case

Video evidence can be damaging to your DWI case if it appears clearly in the video that you were intoxicated. The video released of the District Attorney, for example, seems to provide a clear picture of someone who had consumed too much alcohol. The video revealed slurred speech; swaying; watery and bloodshot eyes; disorientation; uncontrolled emotions and mood changes; and failed sobriety tests.

While the District Attorney pled guilty to the DWI and is already serving 45-days in jail, this type of video is routinely used in the event that a case goes to trial. The judge or jury can see your actions and if those actions make it appear as if you were drunk, this bolsters the prosecution’s case against you.

Because the video can hurt you in court if you fail your sobriety test or look drunk, many people will advise you to decline a field sobriety test. Declining such a test can be wise, especially since there are lots of reasons that people might look disoriented in the video or while performing field sobriety tests. For example, if you are stressed, tired or have a physical impairment, it is possible you could fail your field sobriety test and the video might only show the failure and not the reason why.

On the other hand, a video from a patrol car or police car can also help you as well. The video can be used to raise questions about whether it was appropriate for law enforcement to stop you. Police must have probable cause before they can pull you over and if the video shows that you were driving safely and not breaking any rules, then the traffic stop may have been improper and evidence collected against you would be kept out of court.  If you did well and passed your field sobriety test, the video could also be proof of this that you can show to the courts.

Typically, you won’t know exactly what your video shows until you review it after you’ve been charged with drunk driving. Your DWI lawyer will obtain a copy of the video and help you to use its contents to strengthen  your defense or at least work to negate any potential damage to your case.

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