Here in Texas, DWI violations come with heavy consequences for those who receive criminal charges. Not only do suspects face immediate revocation of their license if they fail a breathalyzer test, should they refuse to take the test altogether, they may lose their license anyway under the state’s implied consent law.
If you experience a DWI stop, understanding your options throughout the interaction is important, because the actions you take or do not take may significantly impact the way that the prosecution builds its case against you. You do have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test and lose your license, and doing so limits the evidence that the prosecution can use to prove your inebriation in court. However, if you do submit to a breathalyzer test and receive charges due to the results, you may have some cards left to play.
As with all criminal charges, it is very important to build a legal defense as quickly as possible. The state begins building its case against you immediately, and the longer you wait to defend yourself the fewer options you have available to defend your rights and protect your driving privileges.
Breathalyzers are not always trustworthy
Breathalyzers are essentially fancy measuring devices, albeit devices that may cost you dearly if the measurement is inaccurate. Like any other measurement device, it can produce unreliable results if the officer using one does not calibrate and maintain it regularly and operate the device correctly.
An uncalibrated breathalyzer is similar to a smoke detector that is too sensitive. Such a detector may constantly go off while a person cooks breakfast, whether or not there is any actual danger of a fire, simply because it is not properly calibrated, or is too close to a cooking surface.
Similarly, if the device does not receive regular maintenance, it may malfunction easily. The device may also produce inaccurate results if the officer who administers the test does not use the device correctly. In some instances, you may have grounds to suggest that your results are not reliable because of one of these reasons, either out of the negligence of the officer who arrested you, or because of intentional actions on the part of the officer.
Your arresting officer has responsibilities to you
Law enforcement do an incredibly important job and deserve respect for their service to the state and their community. However, not all officers in a given law enforcement agency play by the rules in every DWI stop.
If your officer treats you unfairly or violates your civil rights during the stop, be sure to consider this as you build your defense. The officer has a responsibility to keep your civil rights intact throughout the interaction. If the officer does violate your rights at any point during the stop, a court may agree to toss the charges.
Be sure to consider all your legal options and build a strong defense as soon as you can, to protect your rights and your freedoms in the coming year.