It is no secret that many holiday celebrations involve alcohol. In a city like Houston, that greatly raises the risk for a DWI arrest. In fact, DWI arrests rise dramatically at the end of the year. But what happens if you have been arrested for DWI over the holidays? What steps should you take to maximize your chances of successfully resolving your case?
The main reason that DWIs are different during the holidays is that there is increased enforcement throughout the city. Agencies like the Houston Police Department increase the number of DWI task force officers who patrol the streets looking for intoxicated drivers. There are also additional staff at the jail to assist with blood draws in the event that a person who is arrested refuses to submit to a breath test. Holiday weekends used to be known as “no refusal” weekends – meaning that the police would apply for a search warrant if a driver refused to give a breath sample. These days, obtaining a search warrant to draw the blood of a driver who has refused a breath test is standard.
If you have been arrested for DWI over the holidays you should not panic. The goal of a DWI is to keep the charge off of your record and there are many ways that an experienced DWI attorney can give you the best possible chance of accomplishing that goal. Once you bond out of jail, you should resist the urge to quickly hire an attorney (you may receive text messages from attorneys offering their services, which is an ethically questionable practice). There are many things to consider when hiring a DWI attorney and you should do your research and choose the best attorney to handle your case.
After a DWI arrest, the only thing that is really time-sensitive pertains to your driver’s license case. The driver’s license case – which is known as an Administrative License Revocation case – is a separate proceeding against your driver’s license that most DWI defendants have to fight if they want to protect their driver’s license. After being arrested, you will be asked to give a breath or blood sample. If you give a sample above .08 (the legal limit), then the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will initiate a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license. If you refuse, then you will face a 180-day suspension. In either case, you have only 15 days to request the hearing to fight the suspension of your driver’s license.
ALR hearings are specialized and have several unique requirements and deadlines. However, most experienced DWI attorneys win most of their ALR hearings, so there is a good chance your license will not be suspended. But if you are arrested for DWI in Houston over the holidays, you should keep this deadline in mind. It may be harder to hire an attorney around the holidays so that makes it more important that your hearing is requested as early as possible.
In order to maximize your chances of getting a good result in a DWI case – like a dismissal or a finding of “not guilty” – at trial, your DWI lawyers must aggressively challenge every step of the DWI investigation. This includes challenging the traffic stop or detention, the police officer’s investigation, whether the officer complied with legal and technical requirements of a stop, detention or interrogation, the validity and reliability of the breath or blood test and the police’s conclusion that a driver was intoxicated. Especially around the holidays – when the police know there are more intoxicated drivers on the road – police officers may jump to conclusions about whether a driver is intoxicated and in some cases this argument can be a part of a winning defense strategy after a holiday DWI arrest.
Of course, in order to challenge a DWI arrest, your lawyers must first obtain all of the evidence in a case. In Texas, prosecutors are obligated to turn over all evidence to the defense. But this process can take several months, so a DWI arrest over the holidays likely will not be resolved until the summer or later. The goal of a DWI arrest should always to protect your record and your driver’s license.
If you have been arrested for DWI over the holidays, attorney Jose Ceja is an excellent choice. He is a former prosecutor who has handled thousands of DWIs over his career and has extensive experience in all technical aspects relating to DWIs. He has spent hundreds of hours studying the science of breath and blood testing and is even certified to administer police balance tests. Call Ceja Law Firm today for a free consultation at any time over the holiday season.