San Antonio DUI Lawyer
Texas DWI Defense Lawyer
Texas Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offenses are complex and to successfully defend the DWI allegations requires hard work. Kurt Gransee is a former DWI task force prosecutor with the Bexar County District Attorney's Office and through that experience as well as his 15-plus years doing Texas Criminal Defense he has gained extensive driving while intoxicated legal knowledge and trial experience. San Antonio DUI attorney Kurt Gransee has successfully handled over two-hundred DWI cases as a prosecutor and as a DWI Defense Lawyer. He has handled DWI cases in every Criminal County and District Court in Bexar County as well as in nearly every surrounding county. He has also successfully defended everything from DWI 1st offenses to felony DWI offenses to Intoxication Manslaughter.
Breath Test Refusals
A new marketing campaign by police agencies throughout South Texas and particularly San Antonio is the "No refusal weekend." This is basically a marketing campaign wherein the idea is implanted that you cannot refuse a breath test. You can refuse a breath test and the police officer can attempt to get a warrant to draw your blood. This has always been the law. The only real difference is that they have a judge available to sign the warrant and a nurse available to draw the blood. There are some limited circumstances wherein a police officer can get a blood draw immediately such as when someone is taken to the hospital as the result of a DWI accident. There is no blanket rule as to whether someone should consent to a breath test or refuse and risk a blood draw.
Field Sobriety Tests
Previously Bexar County would ask defendants to perform field sobriety tests in the jail or processing area while being filmed. This was often helpful to the defense and occasionally it would help the prosecution. It was often very persuasive to a jury. One significant problem is that Bexar County has quit filming suspects in the jail and processing area. Some criminal defense lawyers believe that the police stopped the filming because too many of those arrested looked sober.
Understanding DWI and DUI Charges in Texas
Driving While Intoxicated ("DWI") and Driving While Under the Influence ("DUI") in many States are the same thing with different names. In Texas DWI and DUI are not the same and have different punishments. DWI in Texas is more serious than a DUI. In Texas DUI for a first-time offender is a "class C" offense that will in most cases result in a fine and community service with no risk of jail being imposed. In Texas DWI is a "class B" misdemeanor for a first-time offender and can result in up to 180 days in jail. However, a DWI with a high alcohol concentration can be charged as a "class A" misdemeanor. For a defendant with multiple DWI convictions it is possible to get a lengthy prison sentence if the case is filed as a felony.
DUI is an offense wherein a minor is operating a motor-vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system. It is not necessary for the prosecutor to have a breath test to prove that the defendant consumed alcohol. Often their case will be based upon the officer smelling alcohol on the breath of the minor. A minor charged with DUI is likely to lose his or her license unless an attorney is retained. Furthermore, it may be possible with an attorney to win the case at trial, have the case dismissed, or at least settle the case so that the case can be sealed or expunged at a later date. It is not illegal for an adult to have a detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system when operating a car or truck as long as he or she is not intoxicated.
The Importance of Working With a Lawyer
A Texas DWI is a complex case that has multiple facets occurring, all of which can either help or hurt an individual's defense. It is necessary to hire an experienced Texas DWI defense lawyer so that the case is attacked on multiple fronts. A person charged with drunk driving should not hesitate to seek legal counsel from the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Rush & Gransee, L.C., in San Antonio, Texas, in order to protect his or her rights.
The first issue is to hire a lawyer within 15 days of your arrest so that the Texas Department of Public Safety ("DPS") will be notified that you want to contest them taking away your driver's license. This driver's license hearing is often referred to as an ALR hearing. If you cannot hire a lawyer within the 15-day deadline you need to notify DPS yourself of your desire to fight them taking away your license. The hearing is likely to be more than 30 days after the arrest. Therefore, by asking for the hearing you will give yourself some additional time to hire a lawyer. A lawyer is critical at this stage if you want to keep your license and it is possible that the hearing will be advantageous in your criminal defense.
If you do not request the ALR hearing to contest your driver's license suspension or if you lose a contested ALR hearing your license will be suspended from 90 days to two years for a DWI charge. Your temporary driving permit that the police gave you at the time of your arrest is valid for 45 days or until you have your requested ALR hearing. Even if your DWI charge is ultimately dismissed your license can be suspended because of the ALR hearing.
If your license is suspended it may be possible to obtain an occupational license. The Texas Occupational License will allow you to drive for work, school or essential household duties. If you have a prior DWI or have a high breath test, it is likely that your occupational license will require that your car be equipped with an ignition interlock.
In most of the more populated counties in Texas a DWI case will take more than six months to go to trial. Kurt Gransee of Rush & Gransee has had some cases reset for over two years awaiting trial and in some unusual cases it has taken almost three years to go to trial.
The Anatomy of a DWI Traffic Stop
In most Texas DWI cases the officer will stop a defendant for some minor traffic offenses such as speeding, weaving, failing to maintain a single lane, or taking a wide corner. It is important to carefully determine the basis for the stop. In some cases the officer will stop a defendant for an invalid reason. Invalid reasons include weaving within your lane or going slow when there is no posted minimum speed. If the officer stopped an individual for an invalid reason it is important to file a motion to suppress. If the motion to suppress is granted it will usually result in the case being dismissed and ultimately being expunged from your record if the statutory requirements for the expungement are met.
Some police cars will have on board videos which will record the stop, detention, and all of the police officer and defendant's interactions. In some counties it is possible to get a copy of the videotape or DVD so that it can be watched by you and your Texas criminal defense attorney at your leisure. It is important to carefully view and dissect the video. Often the officer's basis for the stop as indicated in his report does not coincide with the video. The video is often the defendant's best defense. In a recent Appeals Court decision the court ruled that the Judge in the Trial Court could dismiss or basically ignore the testimony of the arresting officer when it contradicts the video. Often the arresting officer in a DWI case exaggerates the level of intoxication of the defendant in the hopes of obtaining a conviction. This often backfires on the arresting officer and ends up helping the defense. Kurt Gransee of Rush & Gransee has gotten many "Not Guilties" because the exaggerations of the arresting officer are not matched by the video evidence.
Also, the videotape will often show that the officer did often not perform the field sobriety test properly. If the field sobriety tests are done incorrectly and are performed too differently from the standards set by the NHTSA then it may be possible to have the officer's field sobriety tests thrown out of evidence.
If a breath test is provided in Texas it is likely to be done with an Intoxilyzer 5000. There is a new updated model of Intoxilyzer that is not currently used in most Texas counties. A breath test over the legal limit isn't the end of the case and the state hasn't proven their case just by submitting a breath test over the legal limit of .08. Kurt Gransee at Rush & Gransee has had numerous cases dismissed prior to trial even though the defendant provided a breath test or blood test over the legal limit.
Sometimes winning a DWI case is built upon a lot of small victories. By getting little pieces of the prosecution's case thrown-out, the prosecutor may not be left with enough evidence to prove guilt. Or in some cases it is possible just to show the officer is exaggerating what occurred. Ultimately the goal is to protect your license and have the case either dismissed or to have the jury say not guilty.
DWI Consequences in Texas
If you are ultimately found guilty of DWI in Texas there will be many consequences. A first-time DWI conviction can result in a fine of up to $2000, up to 180 days in jail, a minimum of 24 hours of community service, and attendance at an alcohol counseling program. Furthermore, Texas Department of Public Safety will assess a minimum surcharge of $1000.00 per year for three years to maintain your driver's license. Of course your insurance is likely to increase dramatically.
On subsequent driving while intoxicated offenses in Texas, even if your prior DWI was not in Texas, the penalties and surcharges increase dramatically. It is possible to get a life sentence in Texas for a felony DWI.
Just because you are charged with a DWI offense does not mean that you are guilty, even if your breath test result was over .08. The test results may not be accurate or reliable, or may not have been legally obtained. We will aggressively defend and attack these allegations.
A skilled, experienced Texas DWI attorney can make the difference between going to jail or going free, or the difference between paying a high fine or a low fine. In other words, the ultimate outcome of your case may depend on the quality of your legal representation. We will use all of our experience, skill and resources to zealously advocate on your behalf to protect your legal rights and work toward the least restrictive outcome possible.
Contact a Texas DWI Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a DWI in San Antonio, Sequin, New Braunfels, Boerne, San Marcos, Jourdanton, Floresville, Kenedy, Hondo, Uvalde, or Cotulla, it is important to obtain competent legal assistance as quickly as possible. Contact San Antonio, TX, DWI attorneys Rush & Gransee, L.C., for quality legal advice and representation.
Click here for more information about Policies and Procedures.