Why should Texas drivers hire a lawyer after a drunk driving arrest?

On behalf of Stephen H. Miller at Stephen H. Miller

Some drivers who are charged with DUI may choose to forgo hiring an attorney, but obtaining legal representation may affect the outcome of their cases.

Each year, numerous people across Texas are arrested for drunk driving. In fact, the Texas Department of Public Safety reports that 70,569 people were arrested for DUI in the state in 2014 alone. As is the case with other criminal allegations, those who are charged with drunk driving in Texas are entitled to an attorney. However, many choose not to obtain legal representation. When making this decision, it is important for motorists to be aware of how a DUI lawyer may affect their cases.

Understanding of the state’s laws

There are a number of complexities involved with driving under the influence charges in Texas. For instance, most people know that they could be charged with drunk driving if their blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, level is .08 percent or higher. The Texas Department of Transportation points out, however, that motorists may also be considered intoxicated if they are impaired as a result of consuming alcohol.

Attorneys who focus their practice on this area are generally familiar with the ins and outs of the laws. Therefore, they may help ensure that motorists were not incorrectly charged.

Calling the evidence into question

Drunk driving arrests and convictions are often based on evidence, including the results of breath tests. There are numerous factors that may affect the outcomes of such tests. These may include improper calibration; the amount of time between when you were allegedly drinking, driving and when the sample was obtained; the training and qualifications of the test administrator; consuming certain types of foods; and some medical conditions.

DUI lawyers are familiar with many of these factors, and know who to challenge them in court. Thus, they may be able to create uncertainty about evidence that might have otherwise seemed sound.

Questioning traffic stops

With few exceptions, law enforcement officers must have a just reason for stopping motorists. This may include a traffic infraction or probable cause that a driver is intoxicated. If law enforcement stops a person without reason, the stop and subsequent DUI arrest may be deemed invalid. Having familiarity with the circumstances under which motorists may be stopped, DUI attorneys understand when and how they might call the legitimacy of a traffic stop into question.

Familiarity with the penalties

The consequences for drunk driving in Texas may be harsh. According to the state’s Department of Transportation, a first offense may result in a maximum fine of $2,000, a driver’s license suspension for up to one year, an annual driver’s license retention fee for three years, and between three and 180 days in jail,. These penalties are enhanced for motorists who have previously been convicted of drunk driving.

While some of the consequences people might face are mandatory, there are more lenient options for others. Lawyers who focus their practice on DUI defense know what these options are, and when it is appropriate to seek a lesser penalty. Therefore, they may be able to help their clients to mitigate the consequences of a drunk driving arrest.

Protecting drivers’ rights

Due to the penalties they could face if convicted, DUI arrests may have life changing implications for motorists throughout Texas. As such, it may benefit those facing drunk driving allegations to obtain legal representation. An attorney may help ensure their rights are upheld, as well as establish a solid criminal defense.