Austin DWI Lawyer
15+ Years of Experience
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) cases in Texas are common. They are probably the most litigated cases in our county courts. If you have ever had anything to drink and then driven a car, you have put yourself at risk of going to jail for DWI. Due to their prevalence in our society, a criminal defense lawyer must be fluent in the science, terminology, and techniques related to DWI case.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DWI, The Law Office of Will Mitchell is ready to protect your rights and freedom. With more than 15 years of experience, our Austin DWI defense attorney would estimate that 75% of all misdemeanor cases he takes to trial are DWIs, which means he understands what it takes to get the best possible results on behalf of his clients and is not afraid to go to trial to do so. Do not wait to let us help you get your life back on track immediately.
Call us today at (512) 858-8611 and request a free case evaluation.
Texas DWI Laws
The laws in Texas that cover DWI cases are straightforward and follow some standard guidelines. A police officer will pull you over due to spotting any suspicious behavior. The officer will then be able to check for any evidence of alcohol. If they deem that there is evidence enough then you will be tested for inebriation before being arrested.
The police can issue chemical tests for alcohol after an arrest to check if your blood alcohol level, or BAC, is above the legal limit of 0.08%. You are free to refuse the tests and encouraged to contact a legal representative as soon as possible. If arrested then the incident goes on file at the station, which will follow you for life unless you take legal action.
Austin DWI Penalties
DWI conviction brings multiple, layering punishments that you will want to defend against. If you are charged with a DWI in Austin, you could face the following penalties:
First DWI Offense:
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- Between 3 to 180 days in jail
- License suspension between 90 days to 1 year
Second DWI Offense:
- Up to $4,000 in fines
- Between 30 days to 1 year in jail
- License suspension between 180 days to 2 years
Third DWI Offense:
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Between 2 to 10 years in prison
- License suspension between 180 days to 2 years
Effects of an Austin DWI Conviction
Reports over the years show that there is an average of 1 injury every twenty minutes in Texas due to a DWI driver. Since the rate of injury is so high in Texas the penalties for DWI drivers work to ensure second thoughts before the crime. You will have a mark on your record, increasing the penalties you will face for any subsequent convictions. Transportation penalties after a DWI conviction include license changes, car modifications or impoundment.
Field Sobriety Tests
The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is made of up 3 tests:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test - here the officer will observe the eyes of the person as they move a pen or small object back and forth.
- Walk-and-turn test - for this, the officer instructs the person to take about nine steps in a straight line and the return back.
- One-leg stand test - In this test, the officer instructs the person to stand with one foot in the air and hold it for about until told to put it down.
During the tests, the officer is looking to see if the person is intoxicated by looking for signs such as not being able to keep their balance, slurred speech or not following the instructions properly.
Your Austin DWI Defense
You may think that there is no way to counter DWI charges, but you would be wrong. A court should know the full facts of the matter and why you do not deserve conviction. Were you pulled over for no reason, improperly tested, or under duress? Being arrested does not mean automatic conviction and defending yourself in court is your legal right.
NHTSA has a training program every peace officer takes in their academy. Attorney Will Mitchell has taken it 3 times. It splits DWI investigations into 3 different portions 1) Vehicle in Motion; 2) Personal Contact; and 3) Pre-Arrest Screening. You are being evaluated for different “signs” of DWI in each one.
Vehicle in Motion
In the first stage, the police are looking for 20 some odd driving cues that they believe are consistent with drunk driving. Things like swerving, weaving, taking a wide right turn, are all listed as cues. Speeding is not listed as a driving cue.
This phase is where the officer is trained to use his senses to detect any signs of intoxication. His sight for open alcohol containers, blood shot and glassy eyes, soiled clothing, etc. His hearing for slurred speech, how many drinks you had. His smell for odor of alcohol. The officer will use the first two phases to determine if phase 3 is necessary. It is a very minimum threshold. For example, if he doesn’t see anything in phase 1 but smells alcohol, get ready to do field sobriety testing in phase 3.
This phase is the one most think about during a DWI investigation. It involves an interview of the person, and then field sobriety tests.
There are 3 “standardized” field sobriety tests (FSTs) that are part of the NHTSA training, and a handful of other tests they recommend in the event the FSTs aren’t appropriate for whatever reason, but those tests have no real standardization or reliability (I would also argue the same about the standardized FSTs).
The first FST is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) aka the “pen” test. Officers will take about 90 seconds waving their magic wand in front of your eyes and claim to see something that shows you’re intoxicated. Further, the officer will claim he can approximate your blood alcohol content from this test (my eyes are rolling and it's not from nystagmus).
The next test is the Walk and Turn, you know it as the walk the line. There are complex instructions, and 8 clues involved here. You don’t get to know what they are. If you show 2 of them, then you have “failed.
Finally, the One Leg Stand is the final FST. This is where you must stand on one leg for 30 seconds without putting your foot down, raising your arms from your side, swaying, or hopping. If you do 2 of those 4, then you’re out of here.
After the 3 phases the officer makes an arrest decision. If he believes he has probable cause (another low threshold for a decision), then you go to jail.
Once you are placed under arrest, only then do you get a chance to provide a specimen of breath or blood. You should do neither. However, if you do, and you’re under the legal limit of .08, guess what? You still will spend the night in jail, be charged with DWI, and must bond out and get a lawyer.
If you find yourself or a family member in this situation, please give The Law Office of Will Mitchell a call. Our Austin DWI Defense lawyer has the essential tools to fight your case and the advanced training to counter the officers involved. Save your license, save your job, and save your freedom.
Helping Clients in Austin, TX and Surrounding Areas
Being brought in on DWI charges means that you will need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Our firm focuses on DWI law and delivering you the legal you will need in Austin, Texas court. Work with us to bring your case together and build up your legal defense.
Contact us now for free consultation on your DWI case today.