ANYONE CAN GET A DWI, SO KNOW THIS!
This is Dennis Boren, criminal defense attorney and former felony prosecutor. Today, I want to talk to you about the fact that anyone can get a DWI.
ANYONE CAN GET A DWI
Even folks who aren’t drinkers, or who just drink occasionally or very rarely can get a DWI. They really aren’t thinking about the fact that they might be drinking more than they need to as far as driving is concerned.
I’ve had clients from school teachers, insurance agents, real estate agents, and people from all walks of life. Even lawyers can get DWIs. I’ve said that I like DWIs, and what I mean by that is not that people have a criminal problem.
I like the fact that these clients of mine almost always are not criminals, meaning they have no record. They’re not out hurting anybody. They’re not robbing liquor stores or anything like that. They’re easy folks to deal with, and are in regular walks of life jobs.
WHAT MAKES YOU LEGALLY DRUNK IN TEXAS?
Now, what makes you legally drunk in Texas? Your blood alcohol concentration, which is often called BAC, has to be at or above 0.08 but less than 0.15. Now if it’s 0.15 or higher, that’s going to make it a more serious charge.
Usually, these are all misdemeanors, but if you have several DWIs, or if you have a child in the car, it could be a higher degree, and even a felony. Now, realize most people’s blood alcohol will come up or down by about 0.02 to 0.03 per hour.
STILL AFFECTED BY THE DRINKS FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE
I had a client who had drunk the night before, went to bed, got up, and was driving to work. He worked uptown. By the time he got stopped and got tested, he was still above the limit. He had no idea. He thought he’d been asleep long enough and hadn’t drunk in a long enough period of time.
IF YOU FEEL YOU SHOULDN’T BE DRIVING…
Now if you find yourself driving, and you think, “You know what, I should not be driving,” pull over, get into a public parking lot, and call somebody to come pick you up.
I would get out of the car at that point because even if you’re not driving at the moment, an officer could come by. This actually happened to one of my clients. He was asleep in his car. Well, they can infer driving. How did you get there? So you can still be charged even if you’re not moving at the time, or nobody even saw you swerving or anything like that.
WHAT ABOUT TAKING THOSE TESTS?
You don’t have to take the field sobriety test. You don’t have to take the blood or breath test. But they can force a blood test by getting a warrant, and that’s really easy for them to do. So realize that refusing will cause you to have a longer suspension should you be above the legal limit.
Still, it’s really the best practice not to take the test because you really don’t know if it’s necessarily going to be accurate. Because again, it may be two, three hours since you drove by the time they take it, and if you’re on the upslope of the blood alcohol absorption, it can show you higher than you actually were when you were driving. And what’s really relevant is where it was when you were driving.
IF YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
If you do get a charge and your driver’s license gets suspended, there is something called occupational driver’s license. Most people will qualify for that, which means you can drive and do whatever you need to do. In normal walks of life, that means go to the grocery store, go to work, of course, go to church, pick up your kids from school, those kinds of things. It’s going to be fine.
But it’s better not to drink and drive. You have to really think, and I’ve had a lot of people who just weren’t really thinking at the moment. And that’s how they got their DWI.
If you’re engaged with a police officer, please turn on your smartphone’s video app. At least the audio app, but video is better. And tell the officer that you’re doing it and that you want to record this conversation. It’s your right. And of course, if I can be of any help, and you have questions about this and related subjects, please reach out to me. I’ll be happy to talk to you about it.