Remember when you were in school and your teacher would "surprise" the class with pop quizzes? Field sobriety tests can be like that, except failing the test could mean some time in jail.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you've been pulled over for a traffic violation in Texas in the last 13 years, then maybe you're aware of the state's Driver Responsibility Program. This program tacks on annual surcharges in addition to fines, court costs and other penalties. If you don't pay the annual fees, then your license is automatically suspended and you could go to jail.
Hoelscher Gebbia PLLC demonstrates once again that we are not only committed to vigilant defense of our clients facing drunk driving charges, but to fairness and honesty in the justice system as a whole. We know how serious drunk driving charges are, so we're not afraid to attack the system. First, we caught the District Attorney's Office hiding flaws in the Bexar County DWI breath testing program by exposing bad maintenance of a defective Intoxilyzer 5000. Second, we spearheaded the effort which eventually brought down Integrated Forensics Laboratory ("IFL"), the Bexar County DWI blood lab, in a scandal that has now spread statewide. Now, we have brought proof that SAPD's number one DWI cop and Field Training Officer, David Luther, has been teaching rookie cops to ignore the law.
Many people don't know it, but when a person is arrested for DWI in Texas, two separate legal proceedings are initiated: the criminal law side and the civil administrative side. The administrative aspect has to do with your driver's license, and the criminal law aspect has to do with the DWI charge against you.
Up to now, Texas DWI law has sent a rather confusing message with regard to ignition interlock devices. These devices, which function like a Breathalyzer that prevents you from starting your vehicle if there is alcohol on your breath, were generally reserved for drivers whose blood-alcohol concentration was determined to be .15 percent or higher.