Just Say No…
Situations may vary, but in most cases, the simplest, most effective DWI defense is for the suspect to POLITELY refuse to participate in ANY testing or questioning. Just say no!
There only four things that you must do in a DWI investigation: 1) Pull your vehicle over, 2) exit your vehicle upon request, 3) provide proper identification, and 4) allow them to take our blood if they obtain a warrant. You may refuse any other request by the police, but if you do so, do some politely.
The “Just Say No” defense is grounded in the simple premise that it is almost impossible to establish that someone is intoxicated if the individual merely sits (or stands) there saying nothing and doing nothing. It’s hard to screw up “doing nothing.”
This is NOT to suggest that you should drive drunk, or be irresponsible in operating a motor vehicle. No amount of legal advice can keep a drunk driver from being arrested, or killing themselves or someone else. Use your head, and drive responsibly!
Sobriety Tests Used in Texas DWI Cases
Generally speaking, if you are stopped for DWI in Texas, you are better off to politely refuse to do ANY testing.
You should only agree to take a test you are CERTAIN you will pass. Do you really want to be trying to do a sobriety test, first the first time ever, on the street, under the pressure of going to jail? If you do, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
The first test the police generally request is horizontal gaze nystagmus – the “follow the pen with your eyes” test. As soon as the police request you to perform this test, simply and politely refuse. Then refuse all other testing as well.
Many people seem to have trouble saying no to a police officer. The easiest way is to simply turn the tables on the officer:
“Officer, which tests am I required to take? Oh? I’m not required to take ANY tests? Well, then, I know that I’m not intoxicated, but since I’ve never done these tests before, I’m not going to take them now.”
Some lawyers have stated that refusing all of the tests will result in you being arrested every time. This is clearly not the case. I have had several clients utilize the “politely refuse all tests” approach, and the officers let them drive off, or let them call a friend to drive them home.
If you refuse to take the tests, even if the officer DOES arrest you, you stand an excellent chance of beating the case. No tests basically equates with no evidence, and no evidence almost always leads to a not guilty verdict.
Remember: a jury—not a police officer—is going to decide your case. If you appear sober on the video and don’t take any sobriety tests, a jury will usually come to the conclusion that you were sober.
If you TAKE the tests, you basically are giving the police all of the evidence they need to convict you, and you are handing it to them on a silver platter!
How to Act During a DWI Traffic Stop
When you’re stopped for a potential DWI, act sober! The police can video or audio tape you the entire time, with or without telling you. If you say or do anything stupid, a jury is going to see it.
Here’s an advanced DWI defense tip you can use if you’re ever pulled over on suspicion of DWI: Work in the words: “I know that I’m not intoxicated, but…” a few times. Think about how that looks to a jury watching the video in the courtroom.
On the other hand, there are some statements you want to avoid saying at all costs. If the officer asks you to take a sobriety test and DO NOT respond by saying “I couldn’t do that sober!” Think about how that will look to a jury watching the video in the courtroom.
The police are trained to get you to incriminate yourself. They will ask you questions designed to make you appear intoxicated, such as “On a scale of 1 to 10, how intoxicated are you?” Your best answer to that question is “0. I’m not intoxicated at all.”
It’s difficult to outsmart an officer with years of training and experience in DWI arrests. The easiest way to avoid incriminating yourself is to simply say as little as possible. .
Remember: A DWI is Forever!
There are driver’s license suspension consequences for failing or refusing to take a breath or blood test. You should probably just ignore those driver’s license consequences. License suspensions are temporary and easily resolved with an Occupaational Dirver’s License. There is NO driver’s license consequence which is worse than a DWI conviction!
This is NOT an excuse to drive intoxicated. No amount of DWI defense “strategy” can prevent you from killing or injuring yourself or somebody else. Don’t be an idiot! Don’t drive intoxicated!
At Gioffredi & Associates, we’ve been successfully defending DWI cases in Dallas for over 30 years. Call us at 214-739-4515 for a free DWI defense consultation.