The Woodlands DWI Attorney - What makes a DWI case different from a regular criminal case?
The Woodlands DWI Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law
What makes a DWI case different from a Regular Criminal Case?
A DWI is a very different type of criminal case. The main differences are (1) politicization, (2) enforcement training, (3) Chemical testing, (4) driver's license consequences, and (5) career and social stigma.
Politicization - DWI is a crime that is a big deal when it comes to politics. There are numerous national organizations that focus on DWI and the increase in penalties and enforcement of DWI laws. One such organization is Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD. This organization accepts donations and is a nation wide advocate for stricter penalties and greater enforcement of impaired driving laws. For years DWI was one of the only crimes in the penal code for which you could not receive a deferred adjudication probation. You can now receive such a probation in Texas but unlike other crimes a DWI deferred adjudication and dismissal can still be used against you in future Driving While Intoxicated cases. Montgomery County's current District Attorney ran in part on DWI enforcement during his initial campaign.
Enforcement Training - No other crime requires more attention and specialized training for regular police officers than DWI. Officers must become certified to administer Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and the procedures for collecting samples of breath or blood. This means that officer must be trained to be a breath test operator. Officers are trained for many many hours simply on how to perform and administer these different tests. No other crime is covered for a longer period of time during training of police officers than DWI. Specialized trainings like Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement or ARIDE trainings are also available for officers who want to specialize in this type of enforcement. There are federal and state grants available to pay for officers to work overtime during certain time periods in order to focus on pulling over impaired drivers. No other crime elicits such an organized program for additional hours of law enforcement operations.
Chemical Testing - Unless you have a capital murder or aggravated robbery charge, the State of Texas does not typically use chemical tests like DNA testing or fingerprint analysis or really any other scientific evaluation of evidence. If you were accused of stealing from your job the State is unlikely to elicit the help of forensic accountants to make sure that you are not being framed by your employer, but on a DWI the State of Texas will fly your blood to the state of Pennsylvania to be tested at a special private lab if they believe you were driving while intoxicated on a drug like synthetic marihuana. If you merely possessed the synthetic marihuana you may end up with a fine or a dismissal after community service and a drug awareness class. No other crime more regularly requires work to be done by forensic scientists.
Driver's License Consequences - A DWI brings not only a prosecution from the local District Attorney's office, but also a prosecution of your ability to drive a vehicle by the Department of Public Safety. This means that your lawyer must battle two government entities. One trying to put you in jail and the other trying to take away your driver's license. A DWI is fought through what is known as an Administrative License Revocation hearing or an ALR hearing. You can request a hearing for an ALR anytime within 15 days of a refusal to take a breath or blood test, 15 days of a failure of a breath test, and 20 days from the date of receipt of a letter from DPS regarding the failure of a blood test.
Career and Social Stigma - A DWI can hurt your interests in a divorce case, when applying for a new job, or just when socializing with friends. Because of the stigma created by media, society, and government, a DWI can be a life changing event if not handled properly from the beginning. Even clients who have their DWI dismissed later on report that their friends and co-workes still believe that they are somehow unsafe because they were once accused by the government. Before you make such an assumption about someone else remember that every person is protected under the constitution by the Presumption of Innocence. This means that until the state proves their case beyond a reasonable doubt then no person should be presumed to have committed any wrongdoing. Every person is entitled to the presumption of innocence and DWI is no exception.
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