5 BIG LIES ABOUT DWI’S
But they sound so true
Whether you think you can or
whether you think you can’t-
Many people—attorneys and judges included—have completely wrong attitudes towards a DWI charge. They are trapped by believing many common LIES about DWI. Such LIES can lead to malpractice by the attorney and dire consequences for the client who suffers due to the lawyer’s lack of knowledge. The LIES surrounding DWI are:
1st LIE: A DWI Is A “Simple” Charge
Let us ask:
Is it ‘Simple’ to lose your job?
Is it ‘Simple’ to not be able to drive?
Is it ‘Simple’ to be unable to travel to other countries?
Is it ‘Simple’ to not be able to rent an apartment?
Is it ‘Simple’ to be banned for life from having a Commercial Driver’s License?
Is it ‘Simple’ to go to jail?
Is it ‘Simple’ to have a damaged credit rating?
Is it ‘Simple’ to have your insurance increased by thousands of dollars for years to come?
This is just the start of some of the hidden costs of a DWI. This is a charge that keeps on ‘giving’—it follows you for years, possibly even for your lifetime. There is nothing ‘simple’ about these types of penalties you can suffer from a ‘simple’ DWI.
Regretfully, far too many untrained attorneys think of DWI’s as ‘simple’ and advise their clients to quickly enter a plea. Or worse yet, they do a poor job at trial and you may end up paying a “trial tax”, additional punishment for refusing to plead guilty to begin with. A trained, competent DWI Lawyer can help you understand the dangers you face and protect you.
2nd LIE: A DWI Case Is The Same As Any Other Criminal Case
If the consequences were not so serious, this LIE would be humorous. Recently, a judge said ‘A DWI case is one of the most difficult cases to try, more difficult than most murder cases.” In many areas, the courts handle DWI cases differently from other offenses. For example, in a murder case, the defense lawyer will order an independent analysis of ballistics tests, blood splatter patterns, fingerprints, and other physical evidence. This is not true in drunk driving cases. Texas law does not require an officer taking a breath test to capture some of the breath so it can be analyzed independently at a later date, even though the machines can seal samples at a minimal cost. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that it is perfectly acceptable that such critical evidence is destroyed.
In the judicial system, DWI’s are ‘special’. Yes, different rules apply to a DWI case. In a run of the mill criminal case such as murder or drugs, you would be allowed to view and test the evidence against you. If blood was involved, you could also have it tested. In most DWI’s, the evidence consists of a breath test which produces a number printed on a piece of paper. That’s it – your ability to drive all depends on a number from a computer-generated batch!
If your case involves a blood sample the blood is exposed to air contaminants when the police lab tests it. Any subsequent testing by the defense is of contaminated blood with Candida Albican infestation which raises the true blood alcohol content.
Attorneys who are not extensively trained in DWI defense or even more disturbing, the ones who just want to grab a quick buck, do not know how to protect their clients. These attorneys should face malpractice from mishandling such cases but even more disturbing—their clients are the ones who will suffer for years to come.
3rd LIE: If You Were Arrested, You Must Be Guilty
You certainly don’t want an attorney representing you who starts off thinking you are guilty. An attorney should believe in his client and devote himself to defending his client.
This is perhaps the most troubling LIE because so many attorneys and individuals believe an arrest is proof of guilt. Since this mindset can eliminate objectivity, an attorney who believes you’re guilty has no business representing you if you are accused of drunk driving.
The evidence in most drunk driving cases is usually a breath test, however the recent trend of “No Refusal Weekends” is creating a high amount of blood test cases. A skillful attorney can be successful in exposing the problems in both types of tests. Because of the lack of sophistication and reliability, most scientists would not trust the results of a breath test machine as a basis for research or investigation. Breath testing machines are simply alcohol screening devices. Both the accuracy and reliability of these machines are subject to challenge.
The breath machine is just the low bid machine purchased in a government contract, so there are a number of ways to attack the results and the tests. This is not a scientific instrument, yet the State wants to treat it as such. There are reliability, accuracy, administration and training errors, just to name a few.
It takes extensive training and study by an attorney to challenge this test. Attempting to defend a DWI case without this training and knowledge could expose the attorney to a malpractice charge and leave the defendant to suffer the consequences.
4th LIE: You Can’t Win A Texas DWI Case
It is hard to believe we have allowed ourselves to be brainwashed into believing this lie. It is outrageous to think that a person would actually pay a lawyer who believes this lie. With this attitude, you might as well just plead guilty and save the attorney’s fees.
An experienced DWI lawyer will start preparing for trial from the very first meeting. He will investigate and subpoena every piece of evidence available. The lawyer will often fight extensively through motions and other procedural maneuvers. No client should automatically be advised to plead guilty simply because their attorney is not properly trained and believes that these cases are difficult or impossible to win.
Many lawyers will push a guilty plea without having done any investigation of the case. Possibly, the client told the attorney he could not afford to fight the case.
This is common but – did the attorney tell the client the hidden and long-term costs of a conviction and did the attorney explain the defenses to the charge so the client could make an informed, intelligent decision?
Many times the client will realize the long-term cost of accepting a quick guilty plea is greater than the cost of fighting—that is if the options are fully explained by a competent attorney.
5th LIE: DWI Is A Minor Offense
The stigma of a conviction can cause tremendous stress and fear. Many drivers whose licenses are suspended continue driving to keep a job and provide for their families. By doing so, they live in fear of being stopped, caught, and jailed for driving with a suspended license. Most of those convicted also suffer financially and socially. In most states, Texas included, a DWI conviction is permanently on a driving record. Only those justly convicted should have to endure these emotional, financial, and psychological hardships.
It is not a crime to have a drink and drive. Convictions for drunk driving should only occur when a person’s blood alcohol level actually exceeds the arbitrary numerical standard set by the State, or when it is proven that a person’s bad driving is connected to an impaired state due to a high blood alcohol level.
Usually, the drivers do not know if they have been properly represented or if the State’s case was valid and based on a legal stop. A qualified DWI attorney is needed to investigate the case thoroughly and recommend the best alternative.
You have a right to inquire about the training your potential attorney has received. You should be sure that the lawyer has spent substantial time training specifically in the field of DWI. Always confirm that you are hiring a winner.