The “Community Caretaking” Exception and Drunk Driving Cases

June 15th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in DWI

Normally, a police officer requires “probable cause” to initiate a traffic stop or investigate a person suspected of DWI. But an officer may also engage in what is known as a “community caretaking” function. Basically, if the officer believes someone needs help, the officer can stop and offer assistance. And if the officer then happens […]

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Does an Illegible Signature On a Warrant Invalidate the Results of a DWI Blood Test?

May 14th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in DWI

If a police officer suspects you of drunk driving, they can ask you for consent to perform a blood test. Should you refuse–as is your constitutional right–the officer must then obtain a search warrant before proceeding any further. Texas law requires the warrant to be signed by a magistrate “in clearly legible handwriting or in […]

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Can I Be Tried a Second Time for DWI If the First Trial Ended in a Mistrial?

April 15th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in DWI

The United States Constitution states that no person may be “subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” In plain terms, this “double jeopardy” clause means you cannot be tried by the state twice for the same crime. So if you are acquitted by a jury of an […]

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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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When Are DWI Penalties “Enhanced” Under Texas Law?

February 14th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, DWI

In a Texas DWI case, prosecutors may seek an “enhanced” sentence against a defendant under certain circumstances. For example, if the defendant has a prior criminal conviction, that could lead to additional jail time if they are subsequently convicted of drunk driving. But such an enhancement is only justified when there is evidence presented related […]

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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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Do I Have to Go to Jail If I’m Convicted of a DWI in Texas?

December 12th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in DWI

In Texas, a first-time drunk driving offense is typically prosecuted as a Class B misdemeanor under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. Normally, a Class B misdemeanor refers to a crime that is punishable by either a fine of no more than $2,000, a jail term of not more than 180 days, or both. […]

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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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“Questionable Behavior” Can Lead to DWI Arrest in Texas

September 16th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in DWI

In Texas, a police officer does need definitive proof of drunk driving before initiating a traffic stop that ultimately leads to a DWI arrest. The law only requires “reasonable suspicion” that the defendant is possibly engaged in some sort of criminal activity. In other words, if the officer can articulate specific facts that led him […]

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