It is important to remember that it is not a crime to drink alcohol and drive. Responsible social drinking is not against the laws of the state of Texas. Drinking and driving only becomes a crime when a person consumes too much alcohol and loses his or her normal ability to safely operate a vehicle. Therefore, anytime you intend to consume alcohol ad the drive, you have a responsibility to do so responsibly so that no one is endangered by your conduct.
The stop is the beginning of a DWI.
Usually, a stop occurs because an officer observes a traffic violation. The majority of DWI stops in Texas are for minor violations such as: failure to use signal when changing lanes or turning, speeding, failure to maintain your lane of traffic, etc. Once an officer conducts a stop, the driver is requested to produce both a valid Texas drivers license and proof of insurance. However, before you produce this information, the officer should first identify himself and inform you of the reason for stopping you i.
Under both the laws of the United States and the state of Texas, you have a right to remain silent IF: 1. Although you have these rights as a citizen, the law DOES NOT require the officer inform you of these rights at this point of an investigation. Therefore, the best approach when an officer begins questioning you is to politely ask the officer if you are being investigated for a crime. Because more it is more likely that not that once an officer begins to question you about a crime he or she will end up charging you with something. Therefore, if you are going to be eventually charged anyway, why help them in their investigation.
Be silent, respectful and then contact an attorney ASAP. Officers habitually ask if you have been drinking. Your answer will be noted and used against you if you are arrested for DWI. If the officer detects an odor of alcohol, sees alcohol in your car, or you admit you have been drinking, you can expect to be investigated further, and most likely charged, for DWI. The SFST are to be administered in a standardized manner. If an officer deviates in the observation, explanation, or administration of the SFST then the tests could be compromised.
Additionally, even though the SFST are standardized they are subjective and depend greatly on the integrity of the officer to strictly adhere to the standardized protocol of these tests. You will be handcuffed and placed in a police car and transported to the appropriate jail. At the jail, you can expect to be read your Miranda rights. The law now requires police agencies to have video equipment in their squad cars.
However, there is no law that mandates that a DWI investigation or arrest must be videotaped. But, the majority of DWI investigations and arrests are videotaped. These tapes must be turned over to the defense attorney during the discovery process. Once you are arrested, a microphone is activated in the squad car.
This microphone will capture all conversations within the squad car until you arrive at the jail facility. This record is public information and may be accesses by the public at large. Then, your property will be removes and you will be searched to insure there are no illegal substances or weapons on your person. Also, you may or may not be re-read your Miranda rights. The Intoxilyzer Room usually has lines painted on the floor and walls to provide a reference point for any sway or rocking that the suspect may exhibit.
Officers may, but are not required to, offer the person arrested another opportunity to complete the SFST.
The first thing that should happen in the Intoxilyzer Room is that the officer should inform you that you are being videotaped and recorded. Although you have been handcuffed, transported to jail, booked in, and are entitled to your constitutional rights, the officer is still not required to inform you of your rights. If your case goes to trial, both the squad video and the Intoxilyzer Room video will be used by the prosecution against you to attempt to convince a jury that you are guilty of DWI.
If you take a breath or blood test and have a concentration below the legal limit of 0. Texas law holds that a person arrested for DWI does not have a right to consult an attorney to decide whether or not to take a breath or blood test. This means that all licensed Texas motorists have implied that they would consent to a breath or blood test if there is a reasonable suspicion to stop them, probable cause to believe that they were driving while intoxicated, and they are properly advised of the consequences of their action.
It means that if you refuse to give such sample you MAY lose your driving privileges for a period of time. While in the Intoxilyzer Room, you may be asked to perform several other exercises to evaluate your sobriety even though the officer has already determined you are intoxicated. These tests may be the SFST or other tests such as reciting your alphabet between certain letters and counting forward or backward between two numbers.
Again, you have a right not to participate in these exercises and the officer has no legal duty to inform you of this important right to refuse. If you decide to take a breath test it will be done in the Intoxilyzer Room. Before you give a test, the operator is required to be in your presence for at least 15 minutes to make sure that you do not place anything in your mouth that could invalidate the breath test.
If you consent to a breath test, the first step is the operator will enter your information into the machine. Then you will be asked to blow into the end of the breath tube. The machine requires a 4 second continuous breath for a proper sample. While you are blowing, you should hear a tone emitting from the machine. This tone indicates you are blowing with sufficient pressure to give a valid sample. The breath test requires two samples of your breath for a valid test. Once the test is complete, the results will be printed and included in your police file.
The officer may or may not tell you the results of your breath test. However, the results can be retrieved by your attorney during the discovery process. Once the investigation is complete, you will be booked into the jail facility.
At that time you will be ordered to change into a jail outfit and assigned a cell either alone or with others. You will remain there until you are taken before a magistrate or judge to determine the amount of bond required before you may be release form jail. Generally, your bond will be set the morning after your arrest.
Some jails have magistrates at the facility 24 hours a day. If this is the case, your bond will be set earlier. Smaller suburban jails may elect to transport you to a county jail facility to appear before a judge or magistrate. This option is not available in all counties and for all defendants especially those defendants with prior criminal records. Your bond will be set at a certain amount. Someone must then post this amount before you are released. If you or a friend has enough cash then you can post the bond yourself in the form of a cash bond.
If you do not have enough cash, then a bondsman may be used to post the bond.
A bond is a promise that you will appear at all court dates in exchange for you being released from custody. Failure to appear at any court date could result in your bond being forfeited and a warrant issued for your arrest. It may take several hours for you to be release from jail. The length of time before you are release depends on many different circumstances.
It is important to keep your composure and remain patient during the process. You have 15 DAYS from the date of your release to request this hearing. Prior to your release you should have been given instructions on how to request an Administrative Hearing. However, the rules on requesting these hearings are complex and somewhat tricky.
After dealing with the Administrative Hearing, your next step should be to seek an attorney to advise you of what to do in your case. DWI has very complex laws and legal issues. The attorney you choose should be very familiar with the DWI laws. Additionally, each county has its own way of doing things as do the different courts within the county.
Therefore, choosing an attorney who is familiar with the procedures of the courts and the counties where you are charged will benefit you greatly in resolving your case. It is extremely important to consult an attorney as quickly as possible after your arrest. At this hearing it will be determined whether of not your license is suspended, and if so, for how long.
The second prosecution is the criminal one for the crime of DWI.