Articles Posted in Drunk Driving

The United States and Texas Constitutions both afford protection against double jeopardy, which means a person cannot be tried more than once for the same crime. There are some exceptions to the rule preventing double jeopardy, such as when a suspect either explicitly or impliedly consents to a mistrial. In Ex Parte Elizabeth Ann Garrels, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas recently explained that while consent to a mistrial may be implied, a failure to object does not constitute implied consent. If you are charged with a crime it is important to retain an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to advise you of your available defenses and prevent you from waiving your rights.

Facts of the Case

In Ex Parte Elizabeth Ann Garrels, the suspect was allegedly charged with driving while intoxicated. A jury was chosen, which placed her in jeopardy for the purposes of double jeopardy. The officer who stopped the suspect testified regarding the circumstances surrounding her arrest. The suspect objected asking the court to preclude the officer from testifying on the grounds he was not disclosed as an expert in a timely manner prior to the trial, as required under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The state conceded the officer was not disclosed in a timely manner but requested a continuance rather than precluding the officer from testifying. The judge declined to preclude the testimony or grant a continuance and declared he would order a mistrial. The state objected, stating manifest necessity must be present for a mistrial, otherwise the state would not be able to try the suspect again due to double jeopardy. The judge ordered a mistrial regardless.

Law enforcement in Texas is constantly on the lookout for drivers who might show signs of operating their vehicles under the influence. If there is an accident, they will be even more vigilant in considering the possibility that drunk driving charges are necessary. When there is an arrest for DWI, it is critical for the driver to understand his or her rights. A conviction can result in major problems in the future and having a lawyer to plan for a defense is essential.

A 26-year-old man was arrested after he was allegedly drunk when he hit three teenage males with his truck. The accident happened in the evening. According to the investigation, the three teens were trying to remove a disabled vehicle from the road. They are ages 15, 18 and 19. The 15-year-old and the 19-year-old were pushing the vehicle, and the 18-year-old was steering it. The driver of the truck hit them as they moved their vehicle. The 15-year-old was seriously injured and was said to be in critical condition with injuries that are life-threatening. The other teens were not seriously hurt. The driver of the truck was arrested for intoxication assault. He reportedly was arrested previously for DWI in 2011 and 2013.

When a person is charged with DWI in Texas, there are severe penalties, if there is a conviction. If there have been past convictions, the penalties will grow progressively worse. The driver can face a license suspension, jail, fines and other penalties.

Texans and many around the country may have heard about someone with a drunk driving offense being ordered to have an ignition interlock device in their motor vehicle. If one is charged with drunk driving, they may be wondering what exactly is an ignition interlock device and who has to have one?

An ignition interlock device is an instrument that is essentially the same as a breathalyzer machine and can be installed in a motor vehicle. The device is designed to prevent someone who has consumed alcohol from operating a vehicle.

The ignition interlock measures the driver’s blood alcohol content and disables the vehicle’s ignition if the driver’s blood alcohol level measures over a certain amount. The device then initiates a lockout period after a failed test. The lock-out period will generally get longer with each failed test.

Underage drinking charges in Texas can have a serious impact on the life of a young person. Underage drinking charges can threaten the young person’s future, education and employment opportunities. Underage drinking, minor in possession of alcohol, underage drunk driving or drug possession charges are all serious charges for a young person to face, which is why they should be familiar with their criminal defense rights and options.

There are potentially serious consequences and charges associated with underage drinking; the purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol by individuals under the age of 21; or the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by those under 21, including a minor intoxicated in public. Potential consequences include a Class C misdemeanor charge; a fine up to $500; up to 40 hours of community service; loss of driver’s license up to 180 days; possible denial of a driver’s license, if one has not already been obtained; and mandatory alcohol awareness class.

The penalties for underage drinking and underage-drinking related charges can be significant and have a lasting impact on young people facing such charges. Additional underage drinking charges, such as underage DUI charges or others, can result in significant fines, longer driver’s license suspension or revocation and possible jail time. As is true of any criminal charges, criminal defense options apply when a young person is facing underage drinking charges.

Anytime you find yourself facing charges for driving under the influence it is a very serious and stressful situation. But, what if you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, but you aren’t old enough to legally consume alcohol? This is a whole different ball game. There are often very serious penalties and lasting consequences for an underage DUI charge.

In many cases involving DUI charges you will often here talk about the legal limit, blood alcohol content and other evidence that may be used to prove these charges. The thing about an underage DUI is that it involves a whole different set of legal standards. In fact, maybe you only had one drink and you were actually under the legal limit for a DUI, but where you are also under the legal age this doesn’t matter.

All states have the same legal drinking age, and all states likewise have zero tolerance laws for underage DUI offenses. These zero tolerance laws make it illegal for all drivers under age 21 to drive with even a slight amount of alcohol in their system. While the legal limit for drivers over 21 is 0.08, underage drivers could be subjected to DUI charges with a blood alcohol content anything over 0.00-0.002 depending on the state.

Drivers in Texas who are confronted with allegations that they were driving under the influence might be under the impression that these arrests take place only after a traffic stop on the road or after an accident. In truth, people who are behind the wheel anywhere and are deemed to be under the influence can face DWI charges. Regardless of the circumstances in which the drunk driving charges came about, everyone who is arrested for DWI must make certain that they take the necessary steps to plan for their legal defense.

A 21-year-old woman was arrested recently after she was allegedly under the influence behind the wheel at a fast food restaurant. The incident happened at around 1:41 a.m. An employee contacted law enforcement because the woman was slurring her words when she placed her order. The woman is also accused of almost hitting an employee with her vehicle several times and going the wrong way in the line. She then drove over a curb in the parking lot. She subsequently drove off, but law enforcement caught her. Officers state that she smelled of alcohol and there was a stamp on her hand to signify that she had been in an establishment that serves alcohol and the stamp was necessary to denote that she was of legal age to drink. After being given a field sobriety test, she was arrested.

Being arrested for drunk driving can result in harsh penalties, including a driver’s license suspension, fines and even jail time. It can also lead to other problems, such as higher insurance, civil penalties, the inability to get certain jobs and more. While these charges can be intimidating, simply being arrested does not automatically imply guilt. It is possible that there is a rational explanation for the person seeming to be under the influence. Law enforcement might not have adhered to the proper protocol when investigating and making the arrest. Or the person might be innocent. Having legal assistance is crucial from the time of the arrest all the way through to the conclusion of the case.

Driving under the influence cases are relatively common. You most likely know someone or even several people who have faced such charges. Everyone has a story and opinion about these types of cases and the best things to do under the circumstances. But no two people are alike and no two circumstances are exactly the same. Particularly when facing an arrest for driving under the influence you may be wondering whether or not you should take a breathalyzer.

As you might expect, there is no simple yes or no answer to this question. In most states it is your right to refuse to take a breathalyzer, but a refusal can come with some serious consequences. Although the police cannot require you to submit to a breathalyzer, driving is considered a privilege not a right, and as such a refusal can often result in losing your driving privileges.

Driving under the influence laws vary widely state to state, as do the potential penalties for failing to submit to a breathalyzer. On average, twenty percent of people nationwide who are suspected of DUI offenses refuse a breathalyzer. In some states you may face a suspended license or even jail time as a result of a refusal. The length of time for your license suspension may also increase for individuals who have had prior DUI charges or convictions.

People depend on driving for everything from their livelihood to their day-to-day activities. The ability to drive is crucial to most of our everyday lives. That is why when you are facing charges for drunk driving, a major concern is how long will I lose my license?

The answer to this is not always simple and straightforward, but can depend on a variety of factors and circumstances. DWI laws and loss of license penalties vary from state to state. In Texas, there are a number of factors taken into account to determine how long you may be without a license if you are charged with a DWI.

For instance, if a person is arrested for drunk driving and you fail or refuse to take a breathalyzer a driver’s license will be administratively suspended. The license may be suspended for 180 days for a first offense refusal or 90 days for a first offense failure and up to 2 years for second offense failure or refusal. If subsequently convicted of a DWI, this may result in additional license suspension.

A previous post on this blog talked about how Bryan and College Station, Texas, residents do not have to take field sobriety tests if they are pulled over for a DWI investigation. However, for a variety of reasons, many people choose to take these test anyway.

While perhaps a subject for a different blog post, suffice to say for now that while these tests are not always reliable indicators of whether a person is intoxicated, they can and will be used against a person in court.

It is important to remember also that one need not fail a breath or blood test to get charged with a DWI; if an officer forms an opinion, based on field sobriety tests and other observations, that someone is too drunk to drive, then the officer can make an arrest, and the driver can be facing serious consequences, including jail, even if it is a first time offense.

It has become so routine for police to conduct field sobriety tests after they pull someone over on suspicion of drunk or drugged driving, that these tests have become part of our common culture. Many Texans are probably at least somewhat familiar with the various types of maneuvers the police will put drivers through, such as making them stand on one leg and say the alphabet or walk in a straight line.

While these tests are common, some might wonder whether they are actually mandatory or if, on the other hand, a motorist can decline to take them. Some after might not find the test to be fair, and others may be worried that with their own physical limitations, they might not be able to do the tests well, even if they are sober.

Bryan residents might already know that if they refuse a certified breath test, they can face a license suspension and the possibility of other penalties. This is because as a condition of getting a license in the first place, Texans agree that if a police officer pulls them over to check for drunk driving, they will take these tests. If they don’t follow through, the law gives the state the right to take back the person’s driver’s license.

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