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Common Mistakes Police Make in Houston DWI Cases

Published: Jun 17, 2019 in Criminal Defense, DWI

When the police make a mistake in investigating or arresting you for DWI (driving while intoxicated), your lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed before you go to trial. If your case does end up going to trial, these mistakes may give you the ability to defeat the charges or obtain a favorable plea deal. If the police pulled you over without reason, arrested you without probable cause, or failed to read your Miranda rights, you should speak with a lawyer immediately about your defense.

At The Law Office of Ned Barnett, our years of experience have shown that our effectiveness as advocates increases when our clients don’t talk with the police, and call us as soon as possible after their arrest. To schedule a free and confidential case consultation with a Houston DWI lawyer, call (713) 222-6767 today, or reach out through the online form.

Police Mistakes Do Not Automatically Mean You Will Get Off the Hook

Many people mistakenly believe that evidence of the police’s failure to follow legal procedures will result in the automatic dismissal of their case, but this not true. The dismissal of a case will require the intervention of a skilled attorney who can raise these issues before the judge in a timely manner. Usually, these issues should be raised at the preliminary hearing – meaning in the early stages of the criminal justice process.

In the context of DWI cases, we usually see the police making the following types of mistakes:

Traffic Stops Without Valid Reasons

To legally pull you over, the police must first observe you breaking the law, or driving in a way that strongly suggests you are intoxicated.

Arrests Without Probable Cause

At the roadside, the police must observe enough facts about your appearance and demeanor that suggest that you are intoxicated.

Performing Illegal Searches of Your Car

For the search of your car to be legal, the police must either have your consent or probable cause to believe that they will find illegal contraband or criminal evidence inside.

Failure to Read You Your Miranda Rights

When they arrest you, the police must inform you of your rights to remain silent and obtain the counsel of a lawyer.

Not Following BAC Testing Procedures

The machine that is used to measure blood alcohol content (BAC) from your breath must be properly calibrated and maintained. If the police obtain a blood sample, they must demonstrate that trained medical staff obtained it, and that your sample was properly labeled, stored, and analyzed.

These types of mistakes do not mean that you will win your case. Instead, your lawyer’s best option is to ask the judge to remove any evidence that was obtained as a result of these errors. This tactic is called filing a motion to suppress. If the judge agrees that the police pulled you over without a valid reason, for example, then they will order the suppression of all the evidence obtained as a result of the traffic stop, which includes your statements to the police, their observations, anything they found in your car, and the results of a subsequent BAC test.

Once the motion to suppress is granted, your Houston DWI lawyer will review the remaining evidence in the case. If the prosecutor still has evidence to use against you, it may be necessary to go to trial, or to negotiate a plea agreement. Often, the prosecutor’s remaining evidence is so minimal that your lawyer may be in a position to request the dismissal of the charges. If the motion to dismiss is successful, your case may get dropped because of a police mistake.

Call a Houston DWI Lawyer for Help

For a police mistake to have a positive influence on the outcome of your criminal case, you and your lawyer must act fast. You can do your part by contacting an attorney as soon as you can after your arrest. The rest will depend on the assertiveness and abilities of your lawyer. For this reason, you should seek out a reputable criminal defense attorney with a track record of success in DWI cases. Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767, or reach out online to learn more about how we can help.