This guest post was written by a friend and colleague of mine, Mike Howard. Mike defends people charged with both state and federal crimes in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. For more information about Mike, his practice, and criminal law topics, check out his website MikeHowardLaw.com. He also blogs about interesting criminal legal issues at MikeHowardLaw.com/news.
I've known Mike since we were in law school together at SMU Dedman School of Law in the early 2000s, and having known him well for over 15 years, I can say without hesitation that not only do I refer others in need to him, but if I or a loved one had need for such representation he'd be my first call.
If you find this post informative, I encourage you to check out his website and review the excellent resources there. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips, Mike!
With the summer upon us and holidays like July 4th coming up you may be planning on going out and having a good time with friends. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's a good time to talk about our top DWI tips.
- Order a Lyft or an Uber. The best way to avoid a DWI is to not drive. If you think there's a chance you could drink while you're out, don't even take a chance you could get behind the wheel. Order a ride from your favorite ride sharing service so you can relax and have fun. It's best to plan ahead so you don't make a bad choice after you have a few drinks and your judgment is clouded.
- Be polite and respectful. If you do find yourself pulled over, you're almost certainly being recorded from the moment the police first see you, so everthing you say matters. If you're polite and respectful, best case scenario the officer gives you a break and lets you off with a warning... worst case scenario you will be putting your best foot forward with the court, the prosecutor, and the jury.
- Watch what you say. In most DWI stops the officer will ask you if you've been drinking or how much you've had to drink. THe less you say here the better. Remember that anything you say WILL be used against you here, so answering "5 beers" will absolutely come back to haunt you. The more information you give the officer here, the more he or she can hurt you. If you tell the officer how many drinks you had, when the first drink was, when the last drink was, what and when you ate, he or she can use that against you in court. If you feel like an officer is leading you down the path towards a DWI arrest, you can politely say that you're not comfortable answering any questions without your lawyer present.
- You can refuse to take the sobriety tests. Many people can't pass the sobriety tests even when they haven't had 1 drink. The reasons for this are almost limitless: poor balance, tired, overweight, age, weather conditions, improper footwear, physical problems. Lots of people take these tests not realizing that they have a right to refuse. The office can't testify that you failed if you don't take the test at all. You can politely tell the officer that you're not comfortable taking any tests without your lawyer present.
- You can refuse breath or blood tests. A lot of people agree to a breath or blood test because they don't realize they have the right to say no. You can politely tell the officer that you aren't comfortable taking any tests without your lawyer present. They can get a warrant but only if they have legal justification and even then sometimes they won't go to the trouble.