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Understanding your right to refuse DWI testing

If an officer pulls you over and asks you to take a breath test, you may face a DWI charge. To some, the choice to refuse to take the test may seem simple. However, there are a few things you should know about the process.

DWI is a serious charge in Texas -- one that can come with heavy ramifications well after you go through the court proceedings. For this reason, it is critical that you be aware of your rights every step of the way.

DWI penalties are stiff for underage Texas drivers

Texas supports a Zero Tolerance Law for minor drivers. The blood alcohol concentration level, or BAC, is used to test whether a motorist is too inebriated. If you are under the age of 21, you are not allowed to operate a vehicle if you have any level of drugs or alcohol in your system. This means that if you intend to drive, you must abstain from having a beer at the fraternity party or using one of the smart drugs like Adderall or Ritalin, which are so easy to obtain on college campuses today. If you indulge, you risk a citation for driving while intoxicated.

The serious effects of alcohol on the teenage brain

As teenagers, people quickly discover newfound freedoms and the ability to make their own choices rather than relying on parents for rules. For some, making decisions is tough and even against the law in some cases. To legally consume alcohol in Texas, people must be at least 21 years of age, but many opt to experiment with alcohol earlier. What they may not understand is the serious effects that alcohol can have on the developing teenage brain.

When Can a Field Sobriety Test Be Successfully Challenged?

Field sobriety testing is commonly used to determine whether a driver is impaired, but this kind of testing is not 100 percent accurate. Since the test can be used as evidence against you in a DWI case, it is important to know what can go wrong.

It's also important to seek counsel from an experienced DWI defense lawyer to ensure that a mistake in police procedure does not lead to a conviction.

Here are some issues that can invalidate the results of field sobriety tests in Texas.

Transport of Marijuana into Texas More Likely as More States Approve Legalization

Voters in four more states recently approved legalization of recreational marijuana, and voters in five other states recently approved medical marijuana.

In Texas, however, recreational marijuana remains illegal, and access to medical cannabis is extremely limited under the Texas Compassionate Use Act.

Eyewitness testimony is the most reliable kind of evidence - or is it?

A recent article in the Washington Post - about magic, of all things - raises a legitimate question about eyewitness testimony. Basically, it calls into question the reliability of things we see, and are quite certain about - and just aren't true.

The article is titled: "This magician got into Oxford after doing coin tricks during the admissions interview." It's a fun article to read online, as it includes short videos about infallibility about the things we are sure we see with our own eyes.

The eyes dont lie -- or do they?

The videos show a series of "tricks" by a young magician. First he breaks a crayon, and then he seems to magically reassemble it. Second, he does something unmagical with the crayon - he eats it.

What's happening with marijuana law reform in Texas? 3 signs change might be coming

Three major marijuana bills made it to the Texas legislature last session, but only one passed. This bill legalized extremely limited low-THC medical marijuana access to patients with epilepsy -- specifically allowing them to use cannabidiol (CBD) oil for their condition. The other two bills that did not pass would have decriminalized marijuana possession, and legalized recreational use of marijuana for adults.

So what's next when the Texas legislature reconvenes in January 2017? Although many were disappointed that the legalization was so limited, the action set the stage for more possible reform in the upcoming session.

Study shows criminal records are far more dangerous than you think

If you've been charged with DWI, marijuana possession or another crime, the odds are that your primary concern is staying out of jail. Your secondary concern is probably avoiding sky-high fines and court costs.

While these are certainly serious concerns, don't underestimate the danger of simply having a criminal record. Even if you aren't found guilty, merely coming in contact with the criminal justice system can end up haunting you for years to come.

College students and DWIs: Know what you are up against

Legal issues can be a real hindrance for anyone -- regardless of their age or occupation. However, college students facing criminal charges often find themselves in unique spots after an arrest, as they can end up with not only criminal consequences, but also educational ones. A conviction can also negatively affect future employment opportunities, which is a rather tough issue to deal with when preparing to start the rest of your life outside of college.

In Texas, like all states, there are very specific laws when it comes to drunk driving. For those 21 and older, the legal driving limit is .08. How many drinks it takes to reach this limit is different for everyone and depends on factors such as a person's weight, whether someone is drinking on an empty stomach and just how an individual's body processes alcohol.

Despite Supreme Court Ruling, Warrantless Blood Draws Continue To Be an Issue in Texas DWI Cases

In 2013, in a case called Missouri vs. McNeely, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that most warrantless blood draws in DWI investigations are unlawful. The high court said that exceptions can be made in emergency situations, but that the need for a mandatory blood draw must be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Some counties in Texas have heeded the Supreme Court's ruling and stopped warrantless blood draws -- except when a wreck has caused serious injury or death. Other counties continue to draw blood without a warrant, and in many cases, judges have thrown out the evidence because police violated drivers' Fourth Amendment rights. 

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San Antonio, TX 78217

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