Common DWI Defenses

vehicular manslaughter sentence with image of drink, car keys, and handcuffs

Getting arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can quickly turn into a nightmare. Just being arrested for drunk driving can hurt your reputation, put stress on your family, and perhaps even jeopardize your job.

Fortunately, there are many different ways to defend such a case. An experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer can help you review the facts in your case and decide what kind of defense will work best for you. Here are three common defenses to DWI that can result in the charges being reduced or sometimes even thrown out entirely.

The Traffic Stop Was Unlawful

It may be possible to argue that the traffic stop itself violated your constitutional rights. Under state and federal law, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that a motorist has broken the law before the officer can pull them over.

Some common reasons for a police officer to pull someone over include swerving, speeding, driving erratically, or running a stop sign. These are all legitimate reasons for a police officer to make a stop.

However, sometimes police don’t have a reasonable suspicion that someone has committed a crime. In these cases, any traffic stop they make without reasonable suspicion is a violation of the law.

The DWI Test Was Improperly Administered

Another potential defense revolves around the DWI test. There are several different types of DWI tests police officers can use to determine if someone has been drinking and driving.

The legal limit under Texas law is 0.08. If a motorist has a blood alcohol level in excess of this limit, the police can arrest them for drunk driving. However, not every DWI test provides an accurate measurement of a motorist’s blood alcohol content. Instead, several DWI tests rely on the officer’s personal observations.

Like anyone else, police officers are human, which means they don’t always get it right. When they make a mistake, an innocent person can end up being charged with a crime and going to jail.

In many cases, police officers perform roadside DWI tests known as field sobriety tests. Under Texas law, officers are permitted to perform the one-leg stand test, the walk-and-turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

These tests are by nature subjective, as they depend on the officer’s personal observations of the person performing the test. If any factor, such as poor lighting or bad weather, interferes with the officer’s vision or perception, there is a chance they will decide someone is intoxicated, even if the person hasn’t been drinking or is nowhere near the legal limit.

Police officers in Texas can also use a breathalyzer test, which involves a motorist blowing into a device that measures the amount of alcohol in their breath. However, these machines aren’t always accurate. Furthermore, they can return inaccurate data. There are also several medical conditions, including diabetes, that are known to interfere with the machine’s sensors.

Errors with Blood Tests

In some cases, the police may obtain a warrant to take a sample of an individual’s blood if they suspect the person of being intoxicated while driving. The police can obtain consent from the person. If the person refuses to give consent, the police must go to court and get a warrant.

Blood tests are generally more accurate than field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer, but they are not foolproof. Errors can occur in a variety of ways, including an improper blood draw, contamination of the sample, a lab error, or a mix up in the lab or testing facility.

It may also be possible that an individual has a medical condition that affects how their blood processes in a lab. If you have any kind of medical condition or disease, it’s important to consult with your lawyers and your doctor about how this might impact any blood alcohol content or test.

Additionally, the police must go through the proper procedure for obtaining a warrant to take an individual’s blood sample. If the warrant was not based on probable cause, a court in a DWI case may determine that the warrant was improperly granted. This may even cause the blood test to be suppressed, which means the prosecutor can’t use it as evidence in a DWI case.

Contact a Texas DWI Defense Lawyer About Your Case

Being charged with a drunk driving offense can be an overwhelming experience, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Experienced DWI defense lawyers know how to review the evidence, including the police department’s conduct, and look for any procedural or administrative errors.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, it’s important to discuss your case with a Dallas Texas DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible. These cases can move quickly, so don’t delay. Your lawyer can help you determine the next steps in your case, and you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re represented by a well-informed and team.

Talk to a Dallas DWI Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Case

If you have been charged with a crime, it’s important to discuss your case with an experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer.

Dallas Best DWI Criminal Defense LawyersBroden & Mickelsen, LLP

(T): 214-720-9552


Mick Mickelsen is a nationally recognized criminal trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience defending people charged with white-collar crimes, drug offenses, sex crimes, murder, and other serious state and federal offenses.