Simplifying Your Legal Issues

What to Do if You're Pulled Over for a DWI

It can happen to anyone. You have a few drinks and head home. You think to yourself, "I should be fine... I only had a few and it's been a while." Do you know if you are legally intoxicated? Intoxication is defined in Texas as not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. The truth is, that everyone is different and there is no magic formula to be able to tell if you are intoxicated or what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is without a blood or breath specimen. The best thing you can do at this point is increase your chances of beating a conviction.

So what can you do should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being pulled over after you've had a few?

  • The first thing you should do is to signal and pull over to a safe area.

  • Remain calm and be have your license and insurance ready to show the officer.

  • Avoid making sudden or furtive movements.

  • Politely decline to answer any questions about whether or not you have been drinking, speeding, swerving, or admitting any wrong doing. You have the right to remain silent as to questions regarding the commission of any crime.

  • Politely decline to take any field sobriety tests.

  • Decline any portable breath test. These units are prone to error and cannot be used in court, but they may provide enough probable cause to arrest you.

  • Make a decision as to whether or not you can certainly pass a breath test at the police station. In Hidalgo County, there are only a few police stations that have a breath examination device capable of producing results that are admissible in court. It will likely be at least half an hour or more before you are asked to give a sample of your breath. You may not want to take the exam if you aren't absolutely certain that you are under the limit. You will be arrested and your license will be suspended for refusing to submit a sample of your breath. Still, you must also consider that you will also be arrested if your BAC is over 0.08.

  • Politely decline the post arrest interview and do not waive any of your Constitutional rights!

  • Exercise your right to remain silent and ask for your attorney as soon as possible. While you may be arrested, you may also increase your odds of beating charges brought against you. Your first call should be to a loved one who can call your attorney immediately in order for them to attend your bond hearing. This may help you in getting a lower bond or even a personal recognizance bond.

  • As soon as possible, write down everything you remember from the time you were arrested, including time of day, where you were, road conditions, where you were going, the officer's name, why you were pulled over, whether you were sick or injured, and any other details that may help your attorney get you a favorable outcome.

It may seem counter-intuitive to allow yourself to get arrested, however, you are trying to avoid giving the State any evidence they can use to convict you. Breath alcohol devices are not perfect, yet they are sometimes enough evidence to prove you are guilty. Everything you do and say will likely be recorded by dash cam and/or body cam. It is imperative that you make sure you reach someone that can call your attorney as soon as possible so that he or she can attempt to save you money on a bond by requesting a personal recognizance bond, and to start building your defense while the events are fresh. Another thing that your attorney may help you do is to challenge the suspension of your license. You must challenge the suspension within 15 days or you lose the right to do so. If you or a loved one has been arrested, call us to schedule a consultation.