Any DWI is potentially winnable: even yours!
No matter how dismal your facts are, there is always a chance that you can win your case. The most important factors are:
- How do you look on the video?
- Why were you stopped by the police?
- Is there a breath or blood test?
- Who actually saw you driving?
- Was there an accident?
If you look good on the video, you should have decent shot at a not guilty. You don’t have to look perfect, as long as you don’t appear obviously drunk. The better you look, of course, the better your chances.
Under some circumstances, your DWI may be dismissed by a Motion to Suppress. A Motion to Suppress is a challenge to the legality of the officer’s actions in stopping you. Some particularly fertile grounds for a motion to suppress include stops for “weaving,” or failure to maintain a single lane, cracked tail light lenses, and following another vehicle too closely.
Breath and blood alcohol tests can be mistaken!
Not all blood and breath tests will harm your case. In fact, breath and blood test scores under 0.12 are sometimes better than no test at all. Very high breath and blood test scores, like 0.24 and above, can also be turned into an advantage, especially if you look particularly good on the video tape. If a blood test was taken without your consent, the results might be thrown out by the judge or a jury. And there are a few other ways that breath and blood test results may be kept out of court. With breath tests, the results will probably be withheld if you are not on video with the breath test operator for a full 15 minutes prior to your first breath sample.
Breath and blood tests have weaknesses, namely that they can’t tell exactly what your level of intoxication was while you were driving. Breath tests are susceptible to incorrect readings due to residual mouth alcohol, and blood tests can only show your alcohol concentration when you’re being tested—not while you were driving.
Make the prosecution work! Challenge them to prove every element of their case.
Who saw you driving? To convict you, the prosecution must prove the “D” of DWI. They must prove that you were driving before they can convict you of DWI. If the officer didn’t see you driving, you have a chance of an acquittal because the prosecution may have no way to put you behind the wheel. This happens frequently when there has been a one car accident. The prosecution must have independent proof that you were driving. Your admission of driving, by itself, even on videotape, is not enough to convict you!
Accidents may help you in a variety of ways. First of all, they may not be able to put you behind the wheel, as is mentioned above. Secondly, even minor blows to the head can cause symptoms that are nearly identical to intoxication. Slurred speech, unsteady balance, disorientation, and confusion may accompany either intoxication or head injury. The prosecution must prove the symptoms were caused by intoxication, and it’s not always possible.
The right lawyer can make a huge difference. Do your research.
Do not let any lawyer intimidate you into hiring them before you have had a chance to make an informed decision. It is much more important to find the RIGHT lawyer than it is to simply find a lawyer quickly. I’d recommend speaking to at least three lawyers to see what each has to offer. I’d also recommend speaking to at least one or two lawyers who are interested in fighting and winning your case. I’d recommend avoiding any attorney who doesn’t discuss at least a few different ways of fighting and winning your case.
Remember what’s at stake in your DWI case: a DWI conviction stays with you FOREVER! You can lose your livelihood or be turned down for a promotion because of DWI, and the effects can continue to haunt you many years later. If you’ve had two or more DWI arrests, you should be particularly motivated to choose the best DWI attorney you can find!
Generally, the courts will give you a month or two to find an attorney, even if they have to postpone your case a couple of times. This is not uncommon, nor is it generally detrimental to your case. An exception exists if you have been in an accident. In that case, there may be physical evidence which can disappear if you don’t act quickly. You will want to take several photographs of the cars involved, the location of the accident, skid marks, debris in the road, etc., and a lawyer can assist you in doing that.
Here are five questions that you should ask any lawyer who you are considering hiring.
- How many DWI not guilty jury verdicts have you won for your clients?
Gioffredi and Associates – Over 300.
- How many outright DWI dismissals have you gotten for your clients?
Gioffredi and Associates – Over 200.
- How many DWIs have you gotten dismissed by motions to suppress?
Gioffredi and Associates – More than 60.
- How often have you turned down an obstruction plea bargain and went to trial?
Gioffredi and Associates – 9 times. We won 7 of those trials. (Nobody’s perfect.)
- What are the best DWI jury punishments you’ve gotten for your clients?
Gioffredi and Associates – $0 fine and 0 days in jail on a several occasions.
Make sure the ALR hearing is requested within 15 days of the arrest
If the arresting officer confiscated your driver’s license, you may think that this means your license is suspended. Not true! The police can take your driver’s license and initiate suspension proceedings against you, but only a judge or the Texas DPS can officially suspend your license.
You have 15 days from the date of the arrest to request a hearing on the driver’s license suspension. If you fail to request a hearing within the 15 days, the suspension is automatic. The hearing is called an “ALR” hearing. That’s short for Administrative License Revocation hearing, and requesting one is very important to you.
There are at least four advantages to requesting an ALR hearing: 1) it always delays your license suspension for several months, 2) it may prevent your license from being suspended, 3) it allows your lawyer to get written copies of the officer’s reports through the ALR discovery process, 4) done properly, it can limit the officer from adding additional facts at trial.
Non-Disclosure for First-Time DWI Offenses
A new Texas law allows you to get the record of your DWI conviction sealed in some cases. This is a huge relief to first-time DWI offenders who have no other criminal convictions. Before this law, a Texas DWI stayed on your record FOREVER.
The new law only applies to first-time DWI offenders who meet certain other requirements. You need to have a clean criminal history and you have to wait for up to five years before you can get your criminal record sealed.
Read more about this in our article on Non-Disclosure for First-Time DWI Offenses.
Don’t be bullied into accepting a guilty plea!
I rarely advise clients to plead guilty to a DWI charge. Simply put, the consequences to your record and reputation are too high, and there’s usually little to no risk of receiving a worse outcome by fighting your case and going to trial.
If you’ve been told your case is hopeless, you may need to get a second opinion. Call to set up your free consultation and find out if you’ve got a chance to fight back and win your case!