Advice for Texas DWI Attorneys
My advice to other attorneys in this practice area is to make sure you know as much as possible about the training and disciplinary history of the arresting officer in a DWI case. In addition, you need to take the field sobriety test course, the DRE course, the blood test course, and the breathalyzer course; that is the only way to effectively try one of these cases. You have to be better prepared and have more knowledge than your opponent. The most recent cases you should be reading are:
Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013)
Bullcoming v. New Mexico, 131 S. Ct. 2705 (2011)
Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 129 S. Ct. 2527 (2009)
Maryland v. King, 133 S. Ct. 1958 (2013)
Boutang v. State, 402 S.W.3d 782 (2013)
Get the prosecution to make the Godfather offer so that your client will take an offer that cannot be refused. In many cases, the prosecution does not want to take a DWI case to trial because blood cases have many difficulties and potential problems. The blood sample may have not been properly taken or does not show evidence of intoxication.
Utilize the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment, which gives you the right to confront witnesses involved in the production of the prosecution’s web of evidence against your client. As a defense lawyer, you have the right to expose unreliability/credibility issues in the prosecution’s case.
Keep in mind that voir dire is often the most important part of the trial, because that is your opportunity to identify those jurors who would definitely convict anyone who drinks and drives. Explain why a blood or breath test result may or may not be accurate and what goes into the field-testing process. Reverse the governmental brainwashing program.
Make sure you know as much as possible about the training that the arresting officer in a DWI case has received. In addition, you need to take the field sobriety test course, the DRE course, the Gas Chromatography course, the blood testing course, and the breathalyzer course.
Counsel your clients about their legal rights. Join the National College for DUI Defense and attend its courses; you will gain valuable experience and advice-giving powers. Never pass up the opportunity to attend an administrative license review (ALR) hearing, or cross-examine an officer when you get the chance to.
Jamie Balagia, owner of Law Offices of Jamie Balagia, is a former Austin Police Officer and current criminal defense attorney in both the Austin and San Antonio Areas. Mr. Balagia’s firm celebrated its 20th anniversary last fall. Mr. Balagia dedicates his work to the zealous defense of his fellow citizens who are accused of DWI, DUI, or other alcohol-related matters and drug offenses.
Mr. Balagia has maintained his success in this industry by focusing on continued education in all areas of DWI cases. Mr. Balagia is certified as a Practitioner and Instructor in the SFST program, completed the Drug Recognition Expert program, was licensed as a Phlebotomist, is certified as an Operator of the Intoxilyzer and is certified in Forensic Chromatography.
Mr. Balagia has attended and successfully passed the very rigorous proficiency-based training in Atlanta at the 2008 Forensic Blood and Urine Seminar where the world’s foremost experts like Dr. Fran Gengo, Dr. Albert Staubus, Dr. A.W. Jones, Dr. Joseph Citron, and Ron Moore lectured for over forty-six hours. Mr. Balagia subsequently attended the 2009 San Diego Forensic Blood Seminar. Mr. Balagia has also been a long-time member of the National College of DWI Defense and was recently appointed as a faculty member.