Protecting Your Rights After A DWI Charge
When a police officer claims you were driving drunk, it can immediately impact your daily routine, cost you a lot of money and inconvenience your friends and family. A conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can lead to driver’s license suspension, hefty fines and even jail time. These penalties may be avoided or reduced with the assistance of an experienced McAllen DWI defense lawyer.
At The Sanchez Law Firm in McAllen, our DWI lawyer has spent more than 23 years in the practice of criminal law. Experienced attorney Sergio Sanchez provides assertive DWI defense to clients in McAllen, Edinburg and across the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). With the knowledge gained in the courtroom on both sides of the aisle, we can provide the detailed legal advice you need to make informed decisions. Your initial actions can affect criminal and administrative proceedings and help you potentially avoid unnecessary expense and lasting harm.
Don’t wait — Call 956-467-5766 for a free consultation to discuss your DWI concerns. We’ll explain how we will mount a strong defense to limit the penalties.
Get The Experience Of A Former DA On Your Side
From the moment you are arrested throughout your proceedings, our staff stands by your side to offer the aggressive defense you need to protect your rights throughout the life of your case.
We will carefully examine the events leading to your traffic stop, the arresting officer’s actions during the stop and the evidence against you to search for weaknesses or deviations from set policies that can be used as leverage to have the charges reduced or dropped altogether.
As a former district attorney, our lawyer is able to offer the insightful advice you need to understand the criminal charges against you, the options you have in defending yourself against them and what to expect from your proceedings. Note that options in defending against DWI charges, sometimes referred to as DUI charges, can vary widely. In many cases, it is not enough to choose one course of action to defend against these serious charges.
Comprehensive Analysis To Challenge Every Weakness In The Prosecutor’s Case
DWI defense lawyer Sergio Sanchez does not merely explain a possible list of DWI defense options and ask you to choose one path. When you work with The Sanchez Law Firm, we review every detail, analyze the evidence thoroughly, and raise every legal challenge possible. Our goal is to achieve meaningful results in pre-trial challenges. When trial is necessary, you will have the representation of a true trial lawyer who does the work to properly prepare for the individual facts and circumstances and present a formidable defense at trial.
Whether we are able to negotiate a favorable plea, or you would be better served to take your case to trial, you can rest assured that we will advocate to limit the harm done to your driving privileges, your wallet, your job and your future.
Typical Steps In A DWI Investigation
Every case is unique and may have variations in the course of the process. However, the routine DWI case often involves a series of basic steps, which may include:
The Traffic Stop
Most drunk driving arrests begin with some form of traffic stop. It may be an alleged broken taillight, weaving, speeding or any manner of allege traffic violation. It is critical for your attorney to review the basis of the original stop. Did the officer have reasonable suspicion to conduct the traffic stop? Was the stop constitutional — or did it violate your rights? These are examples of many questions that should be analyzed in every DWI case.
Request For Field Sobriety Tests
Police officers must have reasonable suspicion of drunk driving to ask a driver to submit to roadside tests. There are three tests that are recognized as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus test — this involves a process where the officer will ask the driver to focus on object, like a pen or a finger, and pass that object back and forth to track involuntary eye movements that have been associated with alcohol impairment. Note that intoxication is not the only cause of these involuntary eye movements, as many people suffer from nystagmus for other reasons.
- The walk and turn test — This test is often thought of as a balance test. While that may be a part of the test, the walk and turn test also involves “multi-tasking,” where the driver must follow instructions to physically perform the test, as well as count out load — a second task to occupy the driver’s attention. The driver is instructed to walk a line toe-to-heal, taking nine steps, then pivoting and returning toe-to-toe while counting the steps out loud. Police look for a wide range of alleged mistakes, including balancing issues, miscounting steps or missing a step, even failing to properly place a foot heel-to-toe with the other foot on the roadside terrain. Many believe that the physical performance of this roadside test, standing alone, is difficult for most people.
- The one-leg-stand test — This test also involves multi-tasking, as the driver is instructed to hold one leg straight out, while counting out loud, until the police officer tells the driver to stop. This is a complicated physical roadside test to allegedly test a driver’s balance. Again, physically maintaining balance on the roadside terrain, may be difficult for anyone.
Roadside tests may also involve a preliminary breath test (PBT test). This involves the use of a portable “Breathalyzer.” The portable breath testing machine results are typically not admissible as evidence, as the machines are unreliable.
The DWI Arrest
Members of law enforcement must have probable cause to arrest a driver on suspicion of DWI. Every element of the charge must have some level of support. The totality of the evidence, as well as every detail, requires detailed analysis from an experienced criminal law attorney. Factual discrepancies and a review of potential violations of your constitutional rights during these earliest steps in the investigation are vital to your DWI defense.
Evidentiary Blood Alcohol Tests
Once a driver is arrested, they are often taken to the police station, or other facility, for an evidentiary blood alcohol concentration test (BAC test). These can involve obtaining breath, blood or urine samples. For breath testing, Texas uses the Intoxilyzer 9000. A review of the process during administration the breath test, a review of the maintenance and calibration records for the machine, and police conduct throughout the process are important aspects of your DWI defense. Similarly, when blood or urine samples are part of the record, we will analyze the details related to the chain of custody of the sample, the crime lab records, and law enforcement conduct related to your constitutional rights, and challenge any and every flaw.