At Blizzard & Zimmerman Attorneys, we are passionate about representing individuals who have been arrested for DWI Driving while Intoxicated or DUI Driving Under the Influence.
- We do take your case personally and push past surface-level representation to personal, passionate advocacy.
- We advocate for individual rights and personal freedoms.
- We care about the PERSON who enters our office at Blizzard & Zimmerman, not just the legal issue.
- We target root issues in our representation to HELP clients leave better than when they entered (See Holistic Lawyering).
Blizzard & Zimmerman Attorneys take your issue personally and deliver results.
Driving While Intoxicated DWI
If you’ve been arrested for DWI, the Texas Penal Code defines driving while intoxicated as:
- the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
The penalty for driving while intoxicated is that of a Class B misdemeanor (180 days in jail, and a $2,000 fine)
- If the blood alcohol level is .15 or more, it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
- If the DWI happens while a person under the age of 15 is a passenger in the vehicle, it is classified as a state jail felony, which can result in 180 days – 2 years in jail and a $10,000 fine
Results: DWI cases handled by Blizzard and Zimmerman Attorneys-
The Texas Penal Code defines Habitual DWI as:
A person who has been charged 3 separate times with DWI is classified as a habitual offender. Every time after your first DWI, the penalties get more and more severe.
- Second DWI
- 30 days – 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
- An ignition lock may be required for your car.
- License could be suspended for 2 years
- Third DWI
- 2-10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- No less than 160 community service hours
- License suspended for 2 years
- Ignition lock required once the suspension ends
- Rehabilitation program
- After third DWI
- There are no specific laws as to the penalties at this stage.
- There have been times where people convicted of more than 3 DWI’s receive life in prison
- You have rights under the United States and Texas Constitutions against unreasonable search and seizure as it relates to traffic stops. For example, it is not permissible for a Texas law enforcement officer to pull you over simply because he or she “thinks” or “suspects” you may have been drinking. Officers often pull people over after they have left a bar, even when they have not actually seen any crime being committed.
- Officers are required to have a reason to pull you over, such as a traffic violation. Officers often claim they saw violations such as:
- following too closely
- crossing the median
- failure to maintain control
- headlight or taillight violations
- If the traffic stop can be shown to have been inappropriately begun in violation of your constitutional rights, all evidence that was collected as a result of that illegal traffic stop can be kept out of court. This could result in dismissal of the charges against you.
- Another common constitutional violation occurs when law enforcement officer fails to properly follow the law regarding sobriety checkpoints. These checkpoints are designed to catch intoxicated drivers on the road by screening each passerby that goes through the checkpoint. However, law enforcement is expected to ensure that the checkpoint meets all of the constitutional requirements, otherwise any evidence collected is inadmissible.
- Field Sobriety test can be inaccurate and lead to false positives when a person has a physical or mental condition that may interfere with the testing, such as:
- difficulty balancing
- injuries to legs or feet
- natural nystagmus of the eye (or nystagmus caused by medication)
- advanced age
- The results of a field sobriety test can be challenged in various ways to show that the officer was inaccurate in his or her observations.
- It is common for blood to be taken from a DUI suspect following an arrest.
- In order to order a blood draw, police are required to have either your consent or a valid warrant. A person’s blood is subject to a higher level of privacy interest under the 4th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, therefore a violation of those requirements will result in the inadmissibility of the blood results.
- Reasons to challenge the drawing of blood are:
- False promises of leniency by law enforcement made to obtain the sample.
- Defective warrant used to get a blood sample.
- Threats made by law enforcement during the blood sample process.
- The blood sample was taken by individuals without the proper qualifications – a blood sample requested by police must be taken by a physician, qualified technician, chemist, registered nurse, or licensed professional nurse.
- The sample was improperly labeled or stored.
- Alcohol swabs to swab the skin prior to taking the sample.
- Police destroyed all blood samples and failed to preserve samples for retesting.
- Improper calibration of equipment used to test the sample.
- Failure to take a blood sample in a sanitary place.
- Breath test are another challengeable aspect in DUI cases as they can often produce false-positives.
- breathalyzer analyzes the amount of alcohol in your blood through the breath sample you blow into the machine.
- A breath test can detect the presence of alcohol when you have not been drinking, such as when:
- you recently used mouthwash
- you have taken certain medications
- you recently burped
- you have diabetes (detection of acetone in breath)
- Breathalyzers must be properly calibrated by someone with the correct licensing qualifications.
- Breath tests must be performed after a 15 minute waiting period or the results can be inaccurate.