As a result of limited public transportation and endless resources allocated to arresting intoxicated drivers, Houston consistently finds itself atop DWI arrests. The best advice is to not drink alcohol or use drugs (this includes prescription drugs) and drive. However, it is not illegal to drink alcohol and drive. It is only illegal to drive while intoxicated. Understand, if you drive after having anything to drink at all an officer may note the odor of alcohol on your breath and began a DWI investigation. If you find yourself in such a situation, follow the steps below.
Houston DWI Attorneys Tip No. 1 – The officer just turned on his overhead lights, what do I do?
You should drive to the right lane as cautiously and quickly as possible, using your blinker. Continue there until you can either safely park on the shoulder or pull into a parking lot. An officer is trained to note how quickly you respond to his overhead lights, whether you use your blinker, and whether you pull over in a timely and safe manner.
Houston DWI Attorneys Tip No. 2 – I’ve pulled over, now what?
Put your car in park, turn off the engine, the radio, and put on your emergency or hazard lights. Be aware of where your driver’s license and insurance are, but don’t go digging around just yet. The officer will take note on your ability to locate your driver’s license and insurance. Unfortunately, when it comes to DWI investigations, many innocent acts may be twisted into guilty acts. For example, most people do not know where their insurance is and may have difficulty finding it whether or not they are intoxicated.
Houston DWI Attorneys Tip No. 3 – The officer immediately asked “Have you been drinking?”, what should I say?
If you have not been drinking the answer is simple. If you have been drinking, you will have an odor of alcohol on your breath. While the officer can not gauge how many drinks you had by the odor, it makes little sense to deny that you had a drink or two. If the officer is immediately asking you about alcohol, then he believes you may be DWI.
Houston DWI Attorneys Tip No. 4 – Do I have to answer the officer’s questions?
No. Remember you have the right to remain silent. You can politely ask the officer:
1) Why did you stop me?
2) Am I free to leave?
3) Am I being detained?
4) Am I under arrest?
If the officer says “You are being detained or under arrest.”, reply “I would refuse to answer any more questions or perform any tests, without my lawyer present.” Be polite, but be firm. Try to reach your Houston DWI Attorneys.
If the officer says, “You are NOT under arrest and are free to leave.” Count your blessings and move along.
(The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test or “pen test”; the Walk and Turn or “walk-the-line”; and the one leg stand)
No. Understand the sobriety exercises, like the walk and turn and the one leg stand, are more akin to coordination exercises. There are people who would never be able to do such tests. Such people should always refuse the tests. Other people, may be able to do well on the tests. Remember though that you are likely nervous, outside, in a parking lot (that may be sloped or uneven), with cars driving by and a police officer or two judging every move you make. In other words the awkward and unnatural nature of the tests become even more awkward and unnatural. Furthermore, the officer is looking for clues of impairment. He doesn’t tell you what those clues are. It would be similar to taking an exam where you didn’t know what materials the exam covered. If you had the choice to not take that exam, you wouldn’t and you do have the choice to refuse the coordination exercises.
Houston DWI Attorneys Tip No. 6 – Should I do the blood test?
No. You have the right to refuse the blood test. If you refuse the officer may go get a warrant to draw your blood. If the officer does than you must submit to the blood test. While blood warrants are becoming more common, officers don’t always get one. If they don’t, they can’t and won’t draw your blood.
Houston DWI Attorneys Tip No. 7 – Should I do the breath test?
No. While there is some merit to submitting to the breath tests, if you think the officer will get a warrant to draw your blood, it is easiest to remember to refuse everything. Unlike the blood test, the officer can’t force you to do a breath test.
Houston DWI Attorneys Tip No. 8 – But won’t my license be suspended if I don’t submit to the breath or blood test?
Maybe. Within 15 days of your arrest, your Houston DWI Attorneys can request a license revocation hearing contesting the suspension. Many times and contrary to what the officer told you, your license is not suspended.