Anyone planning to go out for a New Year's Eve celebration in Harris County this year would be well-advised to arrange for a designated driver or a cab ride home, if they plan to do any drinking. The Harris County D.A.'s office has announced that they will have additional prosecutors on duty to deal with DWI arrests. The extra personnel will be on hand to assist with enforcing the No Refusal policy on drinking and driving.
Under the No Refusal policy, if a driver is pulled over on suspicion of DWI and refuses a breath test, prosecutors will prepare a search warrant compelling a blood test. The stated goal of the policy, to reduce drunk driving accidents, is understandable. Harris County has the most drunk driving deaths of any county in the nation, with 43 this year to date.
Those who are charged with DWI in Texas face serious consequences if convicted. The penalties include license revocation, heavy fines and possible jail time. For subsequent offenses the penalties are much stiffer. Anyone facing drunk driving charges in Texas needs an aggressive DWI defense lawyer.
An experienced DWI attorney will question every aspect of the state's case. In a blood test search warrant case, there may be an issue whether prosecutors had sufficient probable cause to obtain the warrant. In other cases, the notorious unreliability of field sobriety tests - the roadside balance and coordination tests officers give to DWI suspects - may give rise to a valid defense. And if breath test evidence is offered, defense counsel will review whether officers followed the required testing protocol and whether the breathalyzer machine was properly calibrated. A failure on either count can lead to an inaccurate test result and dismissal of the charges.
Source: KTRH.com, "Harris County Cracking Down on DWI," Corey Olson, Dec. 20, 2013