Military bases and local law enforcement agencies are ramping up their campaigns to prevent DWIs during the holiday season. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), holiday seasons, including Thanksgiving weekend, are the most dangerous times to drive due to fatalities caused by DWIs. During the 2019 holiday season, MADD reports that 1,068 people died due to drunk driving-related accidents, which accounted for 29% of all of the traffic fatalities during the holidays.
Black Wednesday, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, is well known as a popular time to drink and can result in one of the highest percentages of DUI arrests. If you are one of the many people who will be arrested in the greater Fort Worth area during Thanksgiving weekend, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Contact Kenneth N. Cutrer Attorney at Law today to schedule your initial consultation. Below, we will examine some of the best defenses to Texas DWI charges.
Unconstitutional Traffic Stops
Most people arrested for DWIs over holiday weekends were arrested after a traffic stop. Law enforcement agencies increase their traffic stops on busy holiday weekends to prevent drunk drivers from causing accidents. These traffic stops are subject to the Fourth Amendment’s protection, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. In other words, the constitution limits what types of traffic stops and seizures of evidence law enforcement can do. “Seizure” of evidence includes breathalyzer tests and blood alcohol tests.
Law enforcement officers cannot just pull you over randomly. They need to prove that they have a reasonable suspicion that you are currently committing a crime or that you’ve recently committed a crime. A law enforcement officer cannot just pull you over for no reason. He or she will need to prove that there was a reasonable suspicion that you were under the influence of alcohol or violating some other traffic law when the traffic stop happened.
You can also make constitutional arguments that are not related to the DWI search and seizure aspect. For example, if the police officer who arrested you failed to give you your Miranda rights, you can request that the court toss out any evidence that was obtained. When law enforcement officers violate the constitution during the arrest or search process, the defendant can petition the court to throw out any evidence they gathered from the unconstitutional search or seizure.
Chemical Testing Failure
In most cases, prosecutors rely on blood alcohol tests or breathalyzer tests to prove that the defendant violated Texas’s DWI laws. These tests are not always reliable, however. Law enforcement officers and the Laboratories that read the test must follow strict testing procedures. Law enforcement officers must test the defendant within a certain amount of time after the arrest. Breathalyzer machines must be well maintained and calibrated, or they will not be accurate. Laboratories must store blood samples under particular conditions to keep them safe. When these procedures are not correctly followed, the defendant can request that the court exclude any evidence from these tests. Without proof of the blood or breathalyzer test, prosecutors have a difficult time proving drunk driving cases.
The Disconnect Defense
This type of defense is useful when there is a conflict in the evidence used by the prosecution. This could happen when the breath or blood score is high, indicating that the defendant was intoxicated, but the defendant looks fine when conducting the field sobriety test. In some cases, the breathalyzer or blood alcohol test score can be extremely high, indicating that the testing equipment malfunctioned. In some cases, the breathalyzer may indicate that the defendant had 12 alcoholic beverages when he or she could perfectly walk in a straight line. The defense attorney can cast out onto the idea that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol.
The Prosecutor Cannot Prove Every Element of the Case
Prosecutors must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. When they fail to do so or don’t have enough evidence, they may be more willing to engage in a plea bargain with the defendant. Or, the defense attorney may be able to pressure them into dismissing the case because they will not prove it. Every case is different and if you are facing a DWI charge, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer who can decide which aspects of the case to dispute. For example, if the laboratory failed to process your blood test accurately, your lawyer will be able to challenge that evidence in court. Suppose your arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull your vehicle over. In that case, we will challenge your arrest’s constitutionality and request that the court throws out any evidence the officer gathered.
Dispute the Prosecutor’s Facts
In other cases, the defendant may have a valid excuse. Perhaps the defendant has diabetes, which can make his or her breath smell as if he or she had had alcoholic beverages. Perhaps the defendant was driving someone to the hospital in an emergency, or the defendant has severe mental health challenges. All these factors can be used by the defense to challenge the prosecution argument that the defendant was driving while under the influence. It takes time for defense lawyers to gather enough evidence to create an effective defense strategy, so the sooner you speak with an experienced lawyer the better.
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers Today
If you are facing DWI charges, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. At Kenneth N. Cutrer Attorney at Law, Our legal team has a proven track record of providing excellent legal defenses for defendants facing DWI charges in the greater Fort Worth area. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.