DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and DUI (Driving Under the Influence) are both serious charges that can have lasting impacts on your life. Just because you have been charged with a DWI or a DUI doesn’t mean that you will be convicted. An experienced lawyer is vital to fighting one of these cases. Andreea Ionescu is a former Harris County prosecutor who has used her years of prosecutorial experience to fight for her clients. As a top lawyer in Harris County, she is passionate about helping her clients understand their rights.
“Having to be charged with a DWI can ruin your entire life. I almost lost my job when they found out. Andreea helped me keep my DL and got me a good result on my case. I highly recommend her.” Kevin
Often, clients are confused by the intricacies of the DWI process. By learning more about the law, clients can be more equipped to understand the case against them and know how to handle a similar situation in the future.
What happens during a routine traffic stop?
DWI cases begin with a traffic stop. The officer must have a reason to conduct a traffic stop, such as a traffic violation or erratic driving. When the officer approaches your vehicle, if they have any suspicion of alcohol or substance abuse, they will begin their DWI investigation. When you are pulled over, it’s essential to keep calm and not become combative or argumentative. Trying to talk your way out of a ticket will also reflect poorly on you.
Traffic stops can be incredibly dangerous for police officers, so they will be on high alert as they approach your vehicle. As a result, it is critical to be polite, courteous, and stay in your car unless instructed otherwise. These stops will also be recorded by cameras on the police vehicle and on the officer’s body, so always act accordingly.
You are well within your rights to ask the officer to state the reason you were pulled over. The initial reason for the traffic stop can be vital in building your defense. The officer will ask you probing questions to establish rapport and try and get information about you that they can use in their case against you. Only answer questions regarding your identity—all other questions you can politely decline to answer.
If you have been charged with a DWI in Harris County, call Andreea Ionescu for your free consultation. She will review the traffic stop and the resulting DWI investigation to ensure all protocols were followed. Call 832-509-0222today and get Andreea fighting for you and your rights.
What constitutes a DWI Investigation?
Even the faintest of clues can lead an officer to begin their DWI investigation. The standard field tests can include: the HGN test, a one-legged stand, and the walk and turn. The officer will make these seem mandatory, but you are within your rights to refuse to do all three of these. These tests are not conclusive by any means and can be failed even while sober. Taking any one of these tests can lead the officer to presume your guilt, which can negatively impact your case.
The HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) test is conducted by the officer holding up a pen or other small object in front of you and asking your eyes to follow it while keeping your head still. The officer will check for a number of signs, such as your eyes jerking and not following the object smoothly. If they see enough warning signs, they will consider this evidence that you are driving under the influence.
There are many instances when the HGN test could result in a false positive, such as neurological, medical, or eye conditions. These need to be determined by a medical professional and not a police officer. Due to the risk of a false positive, it is best to refuse this test when offered.
A one-legged stand can seem simple enough to do, but can also easily result in a false positive. The police officer will ask you to stand on one leg and lift the other about six inches off the ground with your arms at your sides while you count until the officer instructs you to stop. Once you confirm that you understand the exercise, they will ask you to demonstrate the activity. While you are standing on one foot, they will be observing for signs of intoxication, such as swaying, using your arms for balance, or putting your foot down. Any of these will be considered a failure of the test, and you could be arrested.
Injuries to the back, leg, or middle ear can result in a failure of the test while sober. Because of the high likelihood of a failure of this test, this is often challengeable in court.
The Walk and Turn
The third of the standard field sobriety tests, the walk and turn, can be failed even in the best of conditions. Due to the high percentage of failure, it is highly recommended that you politely refuse to comply with this field test. Though it has been well-documented and widely-accepted that this is a flawed test, it is still used throughout the country as one of the approved field sobriety tests. A failure in the performance of this test could lead to a DWI arrest in Houston or the surrounding areas.
The officer will instruct you to stand heel to toe while they explain the instructions. While they speak, they will be checking your ability to balance. After you affirm that you understand the process, you will then be asked to demonstrate. You will walk heel to toe in a straight line with your arms at your side while you count your steps. If you fail to walk in a straight line, use your arms for balance, or take the incorrect number of steps, the officer can consider that a failure of the test.
“I hired Ms. Ionescu for a DWI case. She knows a lot about DWIs. She knows about all the tests and she explained to me how it all works. She got me the result I wanted. I recommend her to anybody who needs a DWI attorney.” Anonymous
If you are charged with a DWI after these field sobriety tests, know that experienced lawyers in Harris County, such as Andreea Ionescu, are ready to fight for your rights. As a former prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s office, she knows exactly how these cases should be handled and is quickly able to pinpoint any holes or weaknesses in the prosector’s case. Call 832-509-0222 today to speak to Andreea about your case.