DWI Mistakes & Myths

Any Lawyer Can Handle A Drunk Driving DWI/DUI Case.

If you believe this then you probably believe myth number two as well. If being retained on a DWI simply means taking a client’s money, forcing them to plead guilty to the first offer from the District Attorney, then this myth is probably true. If not doing anything to help your client and not investigating the facts of the case means your lawyer can “Handle” a DWI, then believe myth number one. Go ahead, it’s your money.

DWI/DUI Cases Are Just Like Any Other Criminal Case.

DWI cases have become unnecessarily complex. I served as a prosecutor for Lubbock County for nearly 9 years. When we started trying these cases, it generally took one or two days to try the case. Now we see that DWI trials are more complicated than murder cases (I know, I have tried over 20 murder cases as well, including death penalty cases). It seems that for every word in the murder laws, there are 100 in the DWI laws. If you think DWI cases are no more complicated than other criminal cases, then you don’t know much about DWI. So, ask the attorney you are consulting with how complicated they really are.

DWI/DUI Cases Cannot Be Won.

This is simply false! This myth probably says more about the speaker than anything else and it is a huge mistake for a person charged with DWI to believe. Many clients will see that after getting the breath test result and the police report, most lawyers simply give up and advise the client to plead guilty. Why? Because either the client or the attorney is afraid to try the case? Because the client doesn’t want to spend the money? Is it more costly to defend and try a DWI case than to plead guilty? Absolutely, but with so much at stake (including considerable penalty fees, tens of thousands of dollars in increased insurance over several years, and contemplating life without a driver’s license), the possibility of winning should not be just dismissed. And it may cost less than you think.

There is nothing that can be done about the license suspension.

Police frequently say this to people they charge with DWI and I often hear attorneys make the same statement. This is false. Depending upon the case, several things can be done. The administrative suspension can be appealed immediately (you have 14 days to file your notice for a hearing from the date of the arrest) to the Department of Public Safety and suspensions can be stayed. Driving privileges can be obtained through occupational licensure and a not guilty finding by a jury means the license is not further suspended as there is no conviction.

Everyone Is Guilty.

It is NOT illegal to drink and drive in the great State of Texas. Is it a good idea? No, but it’s not illegal and just because you are arrested for DWI does not make you guilty. Some people think that if an officer stops them with alcohol on their breath this makes them guilty. To be illegal, a person must consume enough alcohol to actually lose the normal use of their mental and/or physical faculties? What does this mean? That is the question for the jury to decide. DWI is extremely subjective to the arresting officer and whether a person is guilty of DWI/DUI depends a jury of 6 people saying so.

Breath tests are never wrong.

If rocket ships designed by NASA can fail, machines built by the lowest bidder to the Texas Department of Public Safety and operated by someone with 4 hours training can also be flawed. Breath Tests are routinely defeated and this does NOT make you guilty just because a “machine” says so. The test is not invulnerable.