DWI arrests are one of the most common arrests that occur in Texas. It does not matter your race, age, or socioeconomic class. If you are ever stopped for DWI investigation, then it is important to know what to do to protect you.
First, and foremost, act politely and with respect towards the officer. Keep in mind that officers must take care of their own safety during a traffic stop, and it is important that the officer understands that you are not a threat to their safety. Remember EVERYTHING is likely videotaped and a jury definitely will see this video if the DWI goes to trial.
Once an officer activates his emergency lights, immediately turn on your own emergency flashers and pull over at the safest and closest location for yours and the officer’s safety. While you are awaiting the officer to approach your vehicle, locate your driver’s license and proof of insurance and then keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer sees that you are cooperating. Thereafter, answer the officer’s questions clearly and to the point. Do not argue with the officer and don’t explain anything. If you can get by with just a ticket, then that’s the best of the worst alternatives.
When you are stopped by a law enforcement officer and they ask you if you have been drinking and they ask you to step out of the vehicle, the officer already thinks that you are Driving While Intoxicated. The officer has already stopped you for another reason (speeding, failure to use turn signal, failure to maintain single lane, or any other traffic violation). The officer will likely note in his report that you fumbled for your license and insurance card, that your eyes were glassy and/or bloodshot, and that he smelled the odor of alcoholic beverages emitting for your vehicle. Once the officer forms these opinions, you are asked to exit your vehicle the DWI investigation has commenced.
Thus, you need to protect yourself at your point, and the only thing that you can do to protect your interest is for you to decide to remain silent. Do not volunteer any information. Remain polite and do not argue. If the officer asks you if you have been drinking and then asks you to get out of your vehicle, then in all likelihood you are going to jail. Everything that happens after you get out of your vehicle is designed to bolster the officer’s opinion that you are intoxicated and to provide enough evidence to support the criminal charge against you.
The best advice that I can give you when you are stopped by a law enforcement officer and asked to perform any standardized field sobriety tests is “No thank you, officer.” This same answer should be given when you are asked to take a breath or blood test to determine your alcohol level.
While it may be intimidating, and you may have your driver’s license suspended, you cannot believe any law enforcement officer that tries to tell you that if you pass these tests he “may” let you go. Thus, you should not participate in any requests that the officer is asking of you. The chances of you passing any of these field sobriety tests are very low. Remember, the defense of your DWI case starts when the officer activates his emergency lights to pull you over. If you give the officer the evidence against you, then you are many times more likely to be convicted of DWI. Just say, “No thank you, officer.”
If there are no results for the officer to point to, then the jury will be left with less evidence upon which to base a possible guilty verdict against you. Thus, this is how you can vigorously defend yourself against an unfair DWI charge before even having to hire a DWI criminal defense attorney.
If you, a loved one, or a close friend have been arrested for DWI, then it is imperative that you hire an aggressive and experienced DWI criminal defense attorney who will fight for you and not just plead you out without a fight. Many attorneys do not have the experience defending DWI cases or even taking DWI cases to a jury trial. The hiring of your criminal defense attorney is the most important decision you can make after your arrest.
Scott Edgett is a trial attorney and the founder of The Edgett Law Firm, P.C., that is a law practice with one mission: Helping People. Scott Edgett realizes that bad things happen to good people and he wants to help. Scott is an experienced and aggressive trial attorney that focuses solely on Criminal Defense and Personal Injury.