Is “Necessity” a Possible Defense to a DWI Charge?

October 19th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

Drunk driving is considered a “strict liability” offense in Texas. This means that your mental state is generally irrelevant. The prosecution does not need to prove that you intended to drive drunk. The state only needs to prove (a) that you were legally intoxicated and (b) you were operating a motor vehicle. Court of Criminal […]

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Will a Court Dismiss a DWI Case if the Arresting Officer Admits They Lacked Probable Cause?

September 16th, 2021 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI, Understanding Texas Law

Normally, a police officer must have “probable cause” to arrest someone on suspicion of DWI or drunk driving. If the officer does not have probable cause, then the arrest is illegal. But can a judge determine probable cause existed even if the arresting officer later admits in court that he did not? This may seem […]

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Can the Police Detain Me on Suspicion of DWI Based on an Anonymous Tip?

March 19th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

Misdemeanor DWI arrests in Texas often begin with a traffic stop. A police officer must first have “reasonable suspicion” that a traffic violation has occurred to initiate such a stop. This is a lower standard than either the “probable cause” required for arrest or the “beyond a reasonable doubt” necessary for a criminal conviction. Put […]

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Is an Incorrectly Administered HGN Test Admissible as Evidence in a DWI Case?

January 20th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

In deciding whether or not to charge a person with DWI, Houston-area law enforcement officers will often rely on the results of a horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. This is where the officer displays a penlight in front of the driver’s eyes and asks the driver to follow said light as the officer moves it […]

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How Swerving in Traffic Can Lead to a DWI Conviction

November 14th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

A Houston police officer only needs “reasonable suspicion” of DWI to stop and pull you over for further investigation. One thing that can lead the officer to form such reasonable suspicion is observing other traffic violations. For example, if you are swerving in-and-out of different lanes while driving, that could form a legal basis for […]

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How Excessive Noise Can Lead to a DWI Charge

October 17th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

Most DWI arrests in Texas begin with an unrelated traffic stop. Assuming the officer has formed a “reasonable suspicion” that the driver has broken some law, any evidence later discovered of drunk driving is potentially admissible in court. Loud Car Stereo Created “Reasonable Suspicion” for Officers to Initiate Traffic Stop This includes something as seemingly […]

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How a Prior Drunk Driving Conviction Can Affect a Subsequent DWI Trial

January 16th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

Texas DWI laws provide for a number of sentencing “enhancements” based on the circumstances of a particular case. For example, if you have a prior DWI conviction and are arrested for drunk driving a second time, the new charge can be bumped up from a Class B to a Class A misdemeanor. This is more […]

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How Does an HGN Test Affect My Chances of a DWI Conviction?

September 19th, 2018 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

If a law enforcement officer suspects you of drunk driving, you will likely be subjected to a number of tests. In addition to the well-known Breathalyzer, the officer will also likely administer one or more field sobriety tests, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. This is where the officer waves a small object in […]

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Can a Police Officer Question Me About Drunk Driving on a Drive-Thru Line?

August 17th, 2018 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving, DWI

Many Houston-area residents are still confused about their legal rights when confronted by police on suspicion of DWI and drunk driving. From a constitutional standpoint, the police must advise you of your rights to remain silent and speak with counsel before interrogating you in a “custodial” setting, such as after you are placed under arrest. […]

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Should I Testify at My Own Drunk Driving Trial?

July 16th, 2018 by Tad Nelson in Drunk Driving

Most people know they have the “right to remain silent” when accused of a crime. This includes offenses like DWI and drunk driving. If a police officer asks if you have been drinking, you do not have to answer. Similarly, prosecutors cannot force you to answer such questions in court–and no judge or jury can […]

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