Why DWI is an “Opinion” Crime
DWI is an “opinion” crime because the decision to arrest someone is entirely under the flawed judgement of the officer administering the tests.
For many law violations, there are set standards that do not fluctuate based on the opinion of law enforcement. Violations such as running a stop sign, theft, assault, or rear ending another driver are all violations that are not solely determined by the immediate observations and discretion of a police officer. It is for this reason that our Houston criminal lawyers commonly refer to a DWI as an “opinion crime.”
Why DWI is an Opinion Crime.
In our decades of experience, we have noticed that in DWI cases, initial guilt is typically based on the sole discretion, and opinion of the officer, who pulls over a driver suspected of driving drunk. For purposes of determining drunkenness, the officer plays the role of judge, jury and executioner, making the decision to send you to jail for a DWI purely off of his or her observations. This decision is usually made within a matter of minutes, but has ultimate consequences of determining whether a person will go to jail or retain their freedom.
Flaws with field sobriety tests
To determine whether a driver is drunk, officers will administer a field sobriety test. This is a test created and standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The test contains three separate examinations:
- The one leg stand
- The walk and turn test, and
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus, which is commonly referred to as the eye test.
All of these tests are designed to assess the inebriation level of a suspected drunk driver. The problem with these tests is that the results of these tests are subject to the discretion of police officers, leaving your fate to the personal opinion of the officer who pulled you over.
What is legal and illegal when it comes to drinking
We also refer to DWIs as an “opinion crime” because it is not, per se, illegal to have one alcoholic beverage and then operate a vehicle. But it is illegal to do so when you are drunk. Drunkenness is gauged differently to different people. For example, having two drinks at a bar can cause one person to experience impaired driving while another may feel perfectly fine to drive. Whether or not the driver decides to commit the crime is determined by their opinion of their faculties after consuming alcohol.
Experience matters in DWI
Lack of experience on behalf of a police officer administering a field sobriety test, and an incorrect observation can cause an officer to be 100 percent wrong about a driver’s level of intoxication. The opinion of the driver that led them to get behind the wheel after drinking and the opinion of the police officer who may be incapable of accurately determining the level of a driver’s inebriation causes catastrophic results and yields many unnecessary charges for DWI; this requires the assistance of a skilled DWI lawyer to work your case.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI, contact Trichter & Murphy today for a free consultation with one of our expert DWI lawyers in Houston.
DWI Field Sobriety Tests – The Walk and Turn
Houston DWI Specialist attorney Gary Trichter explains why you should politely refuse to take The DWI Walk and Turn field sobriety test.
How DWI Field Sobriety Tests Are Designed for Failure
DWI Field sobriety tests are not designed to help you, they are designed to fail you. Before he was a Criminal Defense DWI Specialist Lawyer, Attorney J. Gary Trichter spent seven years in law enforcement. Officers are told how to use the standardized Filed Sobriety Tests without using their own judgement and looking at what is fair.
Impaired Driving Versus Drunk Driving
Houston DWI Attorney Gary Trichter explains the difference between impaired driving and drunk driving and what’s “normal” driving for most people as defined by Texas law.
Public Intoxication Versus Driving While Intoxicated
What’s the difference between being publicly intoxicated (PI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI)? Houston DWI Attorney Gary Trichter explains that you actually have to more intoxicated to be P.I. than you do to be DWI.
The ALR Hearing
People arrested for DWI don’t realize that they have two cases: The first is DWI which is a criminal case against them and the second is the Administrative License Revocation hearing which is a case against their license. You have a right to a hearing to save your license! Exercise it!
The Dangers of an Open Container in DWI Offenses
The simple answer is just don’t have an open container of alcohol in your car while you’re driving. If an officer pulls you over for a traffic violation, it can lead to much more serious charges. Here’s why..
The Flaws of Breath Test Devices
The old days of using a breathalyzer for DWI testing are gone. Today, most law enforcement agencies in Texas use an Intoxilyzer. Here’s why that’s unjust.
The Problems with DWI Blood Tests
The DWI blood test is not the gold standard for DWI testing that people think that it is. It’s quite flawed–like most of the DWI tests administered by law enforcement.
The Role of A DWI Criminal Defense Attorney
The job of any criminal defense attorney is to ensure that the rights of his or her client are fully protected. DWI Lawyer Gary Trichter outlines what you should expect when you hire your attorney.
The Skills That Make A DWI Specialist More Effective
There are many skills that make a DWI Specialist more effective long before a client walks in the door. We are constantly learning and studying both the current and new science behind breath and blood testing.
The Unfairness of DWI Roadside Exercises
When an officer asks your to exit your vehicle and perform field sobriety tests, the cards are stacked against you already. The officer doesn’t tell you what he’s looking for or how you’ll be graded. Houston DWI Attorney Gary Trichter explains why these test are unfair and why an attorney who understands DWI can help you.
To Take or Not to Take the DWI Breath or Blood Tests
Taking the breath or blood tests administered by police during a DWI arrest is a huge mistake. The breath test is inaccurate and it doesn’t save the evidence for later testing. Watch my video to understand what DWI specialist lawyers in Houston know that can hurt your case if it’s in the hands of another lawyer.
Video DWI Guide: What if I have a prior conviction or pending multiple offenses?
For those with prior DWI convictions or pending multiple offenses, the prosecution can use those to make your current DWI conviction more harsh. That’s why you need a DWI Specialist who can help increase your chances of a favorable outcome in your case.
Helping Clients with Drinking and Addiction Issues
DWI isn’t just a legal problem–there could be a social or a health issue that needs to be addressed. As a DWI law firm in Houston, we want to make sure we protect our clients’ rights, but, as fellow human beings, we also want to get them the help they need to fix what’s broken.
Let us start fighting
for you now!
Harris County DWI Lawyer
When you need a Harris County DWI Attorney, our aggressive team is standing by to help. If you've been arrested in Bellaire, Houston, Katy or surrounding areas, call us now.read more
Montgomery County DWI Lawyer
If you've been arrested, call a Montgomery County DWI Attorney to defend you and try to get your license back. We can help you if you've been arrested in Conroe and The Woodlands.read more
Fort Bend County DWI Lawyer
Call us when you need a Fort Bend County DWI Attorney to fight for you. We can help you if you've been arrested in Sugar Land, Missouri City or surrounding areas.read more
Bexar County DWI Lawyer
Arrested in San Antonio or anywhere in Bexar County? Call a Bexar County DWI lawyer when you've been wrongly arrested in Alamo Heights or Universal City, we can help.read more
Let us answer your Texas DWI Questions
Texas DWI Questions
- What is a DWI 3rd or more and the potential punishment?
- What is a felony DWI?
- What is DWI 2nd and the potential punishment?
- How long will a DWI arrest or a DWI conviction in Texas stay on my record? How will it affect my automobile insurance rates?
- What is an administrative license revocation (ALR), and why is it important to have an ALR hearing?
- What are the penalties for a DWI in Texas?
- What is DUI and its potential punishment?
- What is DWI and its potential punishment?
According to the State of Texas, a DWI third offense is when an individual is arrested for DWI and has previously been convicted two times of DWI. If you are convicted of a third DWI, this third-degree felony can result in A fine up to $10,000 Betwe ...read more
Felony DWI in Texas charges are very serious and can have a major impact on your life beyond just the punishment stated. A felony conviction can disqualify you from voting, obtaining certain jobs, renting certain apartments, and owning a firearm. T ...read more
DWI 2nd is a serious charge. According to the State of Texas, a DWI 2nd charge is when you are arrested for DWI and have previously been convicted once of driving while intoxicated. There is no limit to how old your previous conviction may be in orde ...read more
A DWI conviction produces a permanent record. It is also important to note that a DWI probation, which is also a final conviction, will remain permanently on your criminal record. If, however, your DWI conviction case results in a dismissal, then the ...read more
The best reason to request an administrative license revocation hearing or ALR hearing, first and foremost, is to try to save your driver’s license. The ALR Program is “a civil administrative process unrelated to criminal court proceedings, i ...read more
The penalties for a DWI in Texas DWI are: The First-Offense conviction with less than a .15 BAC includes the possibility of a fine not to exceed $2,000.00 and/or a jail sentence from 3 days to 180 days, and a driver’s license suspension of 90 to 36 ...read more
Before 1983, DUI meant driving under the influence of drugs or narcotics, but now it only pertains to minors. In Texas, it is never permissible for minors to have any alcohol in their body and drive. DUI punishment as a result of a charge does not re ...read more
DWI is a criminal offense which prohibits you from operating a motor vehicle in a public place while “intoxicated” is defined as having lost the normal use of either mental or physical faculties, or having a .08 alcohol level in either your breat ...read more
Past Results from actual DWI clients
Television reporter with spouse was in a one-car accident after hitting a tree. .20 BAC — Case Dismissed
President of brokerage firm was arrested driving home after a meeting with colleagues. Registered a .19 blood test. - Not Guilty.
Business owner was arrested for DWI while driving home after company birthday party. - Not Guilty.
College student was arrested for DWI on beach over spring break. Failed blood test. - Not Guilty.