A word about legal advice from unqualified sources.
It is a known fact that DWI is the most common criminal case in our courts today. But did you know that legal experts say that more innocent people are convicted of DWI than any other crime? (National College of DUI/DWI Defense Counsel website) When you examine the many 'DWI Myths,' you can begin to understand why this is so.
A fearful setting after your DWI arrest.
You are, no doubt, fearful about what might happen to you in the DWI system. Maybe your friends or family members are making jokes to make you feel better. Maybe they are telling you about 'old uncle Billy' who got a DWI 30 years ago, paid a lawyer five-hundred dollars to get it 'reduced.' (Those days are long gone, thanks to special interest groups). Maybe the crowd sitting down at the local bar brags over who has the most DWI's. Maybe your bail bondsman is telling you DWI is 'no big deal', just show up in court and get the case over with (so he can give your bail bond to the next guy A.S.A.P.) Excuse me, but that is all b.s. While some of it may be well-meaning, some of it not, its just the kind of hurtful 'disinformation' you will hear immediately after your DWI arrest. Do not listen to it.
- Myth or Fact?: 'There is no way to win a DWI case'. This is the biggest DWI myth of all time. Sorry, I've proven that myth wrong many, many times. Think about it. In the simplest DWI case, the officer has an 'opinion' you were intoxicated either by alcohol or a drug. This is an opinion by someone who does not even know you. Just think about it. This kind of hurtful 'opinion' evidence alone is sufficient to convict you, so best look out! Don't go at it alone, or even with a lawyer not worth his salt.
- Myth or Fact?: 'Always refuse the breath test, even if you've only had a small amount to drink'. This is the second biggest DWI myth of all time, and one perpetuated by a few lawyers who do not know what they are doing. An airline pilot who refuses the breath test can have his pilot's license suspended and will be fired from his job. Even if a person fails the breath test, a good DWI lawyer can raise so many questions about the breath testing instrument that the jury will probably not believe it standing alone. By the way, I do own my own Intoxilizer 5000, Model 6800 of the type used in all jurisdictions throughout the State of Texas. This is not a medical instrument but a police instrument, and it is very 'old tech'. There is no mystery about this instrument, its failings have been known for years and the State's own expert will have to admit to many of its failings. Did you know that the instrument has many 'weak spots' such as 'radio wave interference' and 'chemical interferants'? I have the studies at my office proving the instrument is subject to these errors.
- Myth or Fact?: 'The officer says I had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from my breath'. This is a DWI myth. The officer may have said it in his report, but it is just police b.s. written to make the report 'clean' to his/her superiors and to the prosecutors. Police dogs are trained to smell and identify certain types of contraband, but police dogs get their noses 'certified' to detect such odors. Think there is a certification for policemen to smell out alcohol? Certainly not! Could the officer 'see' that odor? How did he know it was coming from your breath? Can he say which alcoholic beverage it was? Can he tell how much you had to consume from smell? Trust me, he could not.
- Myth or Fact?: 'The officer's report said I had blood-shot, red eyes'. Yes, he probably said he saw the color 'red' at night too, but this is impossible to see at night. Of course, you could say that your eyes were not red. No, you cannot, because no person can see their own eyes, thus no one can dispute the officer on this point - so the prosecutor thinks. The question is, did the officer give you an opportunity to explain why your eyes looked that way? No he did not. Couldn't allergies, smoking, being around people who smoke, fatigue, etc., make eyes look that way? Now he is saying your eyes 'looked watery and glassy'. This is because you were alive, and not dead.
- Myth or Fact?: 'The officer did a test and says I had an involuntary jerking of the eye called nystagmus (HGN) which was induced by alcohol.' Oh, really? Where did the officer go to medical school? If that jerking was really involuntary, why didn't he see it when he saw your eyes were red and glassy? How can he tell it was not 'rotational or post-rotational' nystagmus caused by car lights on the highway? How could he tell it was not 'caloric' nystagmus? How could he tell it was caused by alcohol as opposed to the 40 other things that can cause nystagmus? Remember, this is a medical condition (intoxication) the officer is attempting to diagnose.
- Myth or Fact?: 'The officer says I was intoxicated because I did not walk heel to toe during the exercises and stepped off the line.' Really? How did he measure it? Doesn't the officer know that the standards allow a one-half inch 'gap' between heels and toes? Was that a 'real' or an imaginary line? Did the officer tell you to use his imagination or yours? It's a myth. We have the actual officer training manuals at our office for these tasks, as well as the validation studies.
- Myth or Fact?: 'The officer said I was intoxicated because I put my foot down during one of the exercises. I told him I had a bad back, bad knees, and I'm 66 years old.' Myth. Because of your age and limitations, the officers own training manual says he should not have even attempted any of the road exercises.
- Myth or Fact?: 'The officer says I failed the exercises conducted beside the road.' Oh, really? The officer's own training manual says that for the exercises to be valid, they must be conducted according to the standards. The standards call for the exercises to be conducted on a level surface that is well-lighted. That sound like the shoulder of the road where your tests were conducted? It's a myth.
- Myth or Fact?: 'The officer says I had slurred speech.' The officer asked where you were going, and you said 'home', exactly? Think about it, it is impossible to slur that word and most others. Has the officer ever spoken with you on any other occasion so he has a frame of reference on how you talk? Did he have to ask you to repeat any words? Do you have a minor hearing loss due to years of work at the plant? Slurred speech is probably a myth in your case.
- Myth or Fact?: 'The District Attorney issued a subpoena on the hospital blood test, so my case is hopeless.' Federal law typically prohibits the hospital from releasing this information. Also, the government has published studies showing hospital blood tests are not reliable evidence, and a good lawyer can move to have these suppressed. Your case isn't hopeless if this is all they have.
- Myth or Fact?: 'The officer drew a blood sample on me and had it tested at the crime lab for alcohol, so my case is hopeless.' Oh, really? Most officers are not qualified to take blood. If he did, chances are, he also used an alcohol swab that completely contaminated the sample. Chances are, he shipped that blood off by mail to another city for testing, and the blood was probably exposed to temperatures in the 90s in the mail truck. Natural biology can cause blood in such circumstances to ferment and produce false positive test results. Tests for drugs do not necessarily relate to the time you were driving. It's a myth.
DWI Reality Checklist - click here