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How Can You Have a DWI Charge Dismissed in Texas?

How Can You Have a DWI Charge Dismissed in Texas?

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a serious charge in the Lone Star State. Yet, hundreds of Texans face this daunting accusation every year. For many, it might seem like a losing battle, but the situation isn’t always as bleak as it may appear. There are strategies and legal avenues available that could potentially lead to a DWI charge dismissal.

At The Burkett Law Firm, we aggressively represent those facing DWI charges. We will use our knowledge and resources to help you achieve the best outcome possible for your charge.

If you are facing this charge, the first step is to contact our office. Schedule a consultation so we can discuss your situation and develop an effective defense strategy.

Understanding DWI Charges in Texas

The Texas Penal Code defines a DWI as operating a motor vehicle in a public place while “intoxicated.” Under Texas law, intoxication is determined by a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or more or a lack of normal use of mental or physical faculties due to alcohol or other substances.

In Texas, someone dies in an alcohol-involved accident every nine hours and six minutes. As a result, Texas has adopted a strict stance on DWIs to deter drunk driving and maintain public safety.

However, the severity of the charges doesn’t mean there’s no room for legal maneuvers. Several scenarios could lead to a dismissal of a DWI charge.

Potential Defenses Against DWI Charges

Navigating a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge can be complex and daunting. Texas law treats DWI seriously, and the potential repercussions can be severe. Yet, having a DWI charge leveled against you does not necessarily equate to a conviction. There are potential defenses that can be utilized to challenge the charge and possibly lead to a dismissal or reduced penalties.

Some of the potential defenses that may apply to your case include the following:

Challenging the Legality of the Traffic Stop

Challenging the legality of the traffic stop is a crucial defense strategy in cases involving Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges. This approach is rooted in the protection granted by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution against unlawful search and seizure. In DWI cases, this defense hinges on whether law enforcement had a valid, lawful reason — also known as “reasonable suspicion” — to initiate a traffic stop.

If the stop was unlawful, any evidence gathered could be deemed inadmissible, leading to a potential dismissal of the charges. Understanding this defense strategy and its application is fundamental to building a strong DWI defense.

Reasonable Suspicion and Traffic Stops

Under U.S. law, an officer must have a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that a law is being violated to initiate a traffic stop. This means the officer must have specific, articulable facts or circumstances indicating a possible violation. Without reasonable suspicion, the traffic stop may be deemed unlawful.

Unlawful Stops and DWI Charges

If you were stopped without reasonable suspicion and subsequently charged with a DWI, this is critical to examine in your defense. Unlawful traffic stops can invalidate the following chain of evidence, including any sobriety tests or other observations made by the officer.

Working with Your Defense Attorney

Your defense attorney will scrutinize the officer’s justification for the traffic stop, looking for inconsistencies or clarity. Did the officer stop you for a minor traffic violation that they allege escalated into a DWI? Or did they stop you with no clear reason given at all? Challenging the legality of the traffic stop could potentially lead to the dismissal of your DWI charges.

Analyzing the Accuracy of Field Sobriety Tests

In many Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) cases, Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are a key piece of evidence the prosecution uses. These tests, typically administered roadside, are designed to evaluate the sobriety of a driver suspected of being under the influence. However, FSTs aren’t foolproof, and various factors can influence their accuracy.

This opens up an important avenue for defense—analyzing and potentially challenging the validity of these tests. If your attorney can successfully contest the accuracy of FSTs, it could significantly impact your case, potentially leading to a dismissal of your charges. Understanding the importance of this defense strategy can be a game-changer when fighting a DWI charge.

The Role of Field Sobriety Tests

Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) are commonly used by law enforcement to establish probable cause for a DWI arrest. These tests often involve physical and cognitive tasks that can be challenging, even under normal conditions.

Reliability of Field Sobriety Tests

However, the reliability of FSTs can be called into question due to various factors. Conditions such as uneven road surfaces, poor lighting, weather conditions, or the individual’s physical or emotional state can affect test results. Additionally, the subjective nature of these tests leaves room for officer bias.

Attacking the Validity of the Tests

An experienced DWI attorney will critically analyze how these tests were administered and evaluate the circumstances surrounding them. Any inconsistencies or errors in the conduct of the tests can potentially undermine their validity.

In certain cases, the defense can bring in expert witnesses to testify about the limitations and potential flaws of FSTs. If successfully challenged, the results of the field sobriety tests may be excluded from evidence, weakening the prosecution’s case and potentially leading to the dismissal of the DWI charges.

Examining the Right to a Speedy Trial

Under the Sixth Amendment, everyone is entitled to a speedy trial. In Texas, if the state fails to bring a person to trial within a specific time frame (generally 180 days from the arrest for a misdemeanor and 270 days for a felony), the DWI charge may be dismissed.

Demonstrating a Medical Condition

Certain medical conditions can influence BAC levels or mimic the signs of intoxication. Conditions such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, or certain dietary habits can falsely elevate BAC readings. If you prove you have a medical condition that could have affected your sobriety test results, this could lead to the dismissal of the DWI charge.

Let Our Legal Team Help You with a Viable DWI Defense Strategy

While all these avenues can potentially lead to a dismissal of a DWI charge, they all require careful examination of the details, substantial legal knowledge, and tactical application of the law. That’s why it’s crucial to partner with an experienced DWI attorney.

At The Burkett Law Firm in Corpus Christi, Texas, we’re committed to defending your rights and exploring all avenues that could lead to dismissing your DWI charge. We understand that facing a DWI charge is an overwhelming experience, but you don’t have to face it alone. Our experienced team is here to guide you every step of the way.

Remember, a DWI charge doesn’t automatically mean a conviction. You may successfully navigate this challenging situation and move forward with the right legal counsel.