Dealing with a DUI case can sometimes be overwhelming for every party involved. While not all DUI cases go to trial, it's still vital for those who get to a jury trial to know what to expect.
Generally speaking, all DUI cases can go to trial, which may involve either a judge or jury trial. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the DUI or DWI conviction, it's sometimes better to go for a jury trial to increase the person's odds of winning the case.
However, what happens when someone loses a DUI case? In essence, someone who loses a Texas DWI or DUI case gets a DWI or DUI conviction; as simple as that. Still, there are some vital factors that everyone must take into account in case this ever happens.
Criminal defense attorneys at the Sparks Law Firm can help anyone get the legal representation they deserve in DUI cases. As mentioned before, DUI trials can sometimes get complex, so getting a good DUI or DWI lawyer can ease the problem.
The following article covers what happens once someone gets a DUI or DWI conviction, as well as how a DUI or DWI defense attorney can help people fight these convictions.
What Is a DUI Case?
According to Texas Law, a DUI is also referred to as 'Driving Under the Influence.' Overall, it means someone is found driving under the influence of any illicit substance, such as drugs or alcohol. Overall, if the police officer responsible for making the arrest finds out that the driver's BAC (blood-alcohol content) level is at 0.08 or above, they may press charges.
It's vital to note that drunk driving or driving under the influence of any other illicit substances is considered a serious crime and can lead to a permanent criminal record, which can affect the driver.
What Happens If Someone Gets a DUI?
It mostly depends on whether it was a first offense or a second/third offense. Moreover, the consequences of drunk driving may also depend on the circumstances surrounding the arrest or stop.
People, in general, can expect to get their license temporarily or permanently suspended. Additionally, they could get a prolonged jail sentence in county jail, expensive trial fines, and others. While some Texas DWI or DUI cases involve only someone who was driving while consuming alcohol or drugs, it's vital to note that anyone who drives in that condition may experience some kind of impairment, which could lead to an accident.
Anyone who causes a severe accident can take a severe hit to their criminal record, as well as a more severe conviction. On the other hand, learn about what happens if you get a DUI under 21 if you are a minor.
What Is a DWI Case?
Most people tend to confuse DUIs and DWIs. While both of these terms are similar, they're slightly different. In essence, while a DUI involves driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, a DWI is known as 'Driving While Intoxicated.' This means that the person driving isn't fit for driving at all, which could endanger people on the road.
In a DUI, the person doesn't necessarily have to be fully intoxicated, although it still warrants an arrest from police officers. A first offense DWI may not be as severe, but depending on the circumstances, it may lead to severe DWI convictions.
On the other hand, if the person is going for their second offense DWI or higher, the prosecuting attorney may use that against them in a trial.
What Happens When Someone Gets a DWI?
The charges for a DWI conviction are a bit similar to those of a DUI. Overall, getting a DWI arrest can lead to temporary or permanent license suspension, fines, and jail time. Fortunately, you can learn how to get your CDL back after a DUI.
How Do Police Officers Administer Samples or Field Sobriety Tests for DUI Cases?
As mentioned before, if a police officer arrests someone for suspicion of drunk driving, they must administer some kind of test to ensure the person was, indeed, driving under the influence.
The police report the law enforcement agents send to trial often include the results of these tests, witness statements, and other evidence that may prove useful.
First, police reports may include field sobriety tests from the arresting officer. These tests include a group of three different balance, ability to drive, and coordination state from the driver. The main purpose of these tests is to determine if the driver is truly impaired for driving.
If the driver fails one of the three tests, the police officer may choose to provide a breath test or a blood test to confirm reasonable suspicion. Once the person receives their chemical test results, everyone involved in the case will know if the person was impaired for driving.
According to the Standard Field Sobriety Test guidelines, the three tests include: the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-leg stand, and the walk and turn test.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
When a person's eyeballs are rotated at high peripheral angles, they may experience an HGN, which involves an involuntary movement of the eyeball. If a person is intoxicated with any illicit substance, this involuntary movement may turn more aggressive, which is easily noticeable by anyone who looks closely.
Overall, the officer may ask the driver to follow an object with their eyes; these objects may be a flashlight, a pencil, or others. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines, this test has been at least 77% accurate in test subjects in the country.
As the name implies, in the one-leg stand test, the officer is going to ask the driver to stand with one foot in the air, typically at six inches or more off from the ground. Depending on the officer, they may ask the person to count down from a particular number, such as a thousand, until they ask them to put the foot down.
This test may last at least 30 seconds, in which the officer looks for any of the following indicators:
Putting the foot down involuntarily
Hopping to keep balance
According to the NHSTA, any driver who fails this test has a 65% chance of having a BAC level of 0.10% or higher, which is considered legally intoxicated in Texas law.
Walk and Turn
Overall, this is one of the longest tests the driver may take, although it still lasts a couple of minutes. Here, the officer may ask the person to take about nine to 10 steps in a straight line, heel to toe. Once the person reaches the end, they may turn around on one foot and take the nine or 10 steps back.
In that time, the officer looks for one of the following indicators to determine if the person is intoxicated or impaired:
Loss of balance
Beginning before the officer finishes telling the instructions
Not following the instructions
Taking the wrong number of steps
Using the arms -or hopping- to keep balance
Generally speaking, anyone who shows one or more of the indicators shown above may have a 68% chance of having BAC levels of 0.10% or more.
Failing the Test While Sober
It may sound weird, but it's entirely possible for someone to fail one of these tests while being 100% sober. Some of these reasons include age, physical impairments, and more. Typically, the police officer is going to ask the driver if there's anything that may keep them from completing these tests and make notes on the report.
In essence, it's extremely important for the driver to be honest here since that could help them significantly in court. Still, if the person cannot complete the test by any chance, they may still get tested for BAC levels through a breathalyzer test or a blood sample.
What Could Lead to Someone Losing a DUI or DWI Defense Trial?
Even if the arrested person hires great criminal defense attorneys, there may still be a chance of them losing the trial. In some cases, the evidence is too strong against the defendant, and avoiding a conviction at that point is much more challenging.
Generally speaking, some of the reasons why a person may lose a DUI or DWI case may be lack of evidence in their favor, failing the blood testing procedure, causing an accident, or pleading guilty.
Can Someone Fight DUI Claims In Trial?
Absolutely! There are many ways someone can get the right help and avoid or reduce a jail sentence. Overall, the best way to increase a person's chances of winning a trial is to get the right criminal defense lawyer. These people can help the defendant get legal answers for their case and come up with a strategy that may get the best outcome possible.
While most good criminal defense lawyers fight alongside their clients until the end of their DUI case, some DUI lawyers in Fort Worth avoid taking these claims to judge or jury trial since they believe the process is much more overwhelming.
Overall, these people tend to convince their clients to plead guilty in hopes of getting a misdemeanor DUI outcome. While entering a plea agreement is sometimes a good option to get a lesser DUI or DWI charge, it's not always the only way around the case. Moreover, someone who only enters plea agreements may decrease the chances of getting a favorable result in case of future convictions wince the district attorney may use that information against them.
Anyone who wants to consider all the options possible for their DUI cases must look for an attorney that is willing to take the case to trial if necessary.
Do All DUI Cases Go to Trial?
Taking DUI or DWI cases to trial may often be a great option, it's not always the best thing to do. Some lawyers, for example, consider factors like the potential penalties and the strength of the case. If the defendant's case is extremely weak, the lawyer may offer to enter a plea agreement. However, as mentioned before, it's not always the only option.
A good lawyer is always going to know if taking the case to trial is worth it or not. The best scenario, in this case, would be one where the defendant has a high chance of winning or can handle the consequences of the conviction. If the case involves a person's first offense, they may have a higher chance of getting a less severe conviction.
What Things Do Lawyers Consider When Building a Defense Strategy?
In essence, a lawyer could potentially consider one or more of the following factors when building a case:
Video or audio reports of the person driving (If available)
Conversations or testimonies
Breath or blood test results
Field sobriety test results
Is It Possible for a Lawyer to Fight Test Results?
Yes; a lawyer can (and may) choose to fight test results if they find any unusual factors surrounding the testing itself. If the lawyer finds out that the office didn't administer the tests correctly, for example, they may render them useless in court.
On the other hand, if the lawyer can determine that the blood test wasn't administered by a certified individual, they may get the jury or judge to doubt the results of the test. It's important to note that chemical tests must be provided by certified healthcare professionals. Moreover, these samples must be transported and kept under particular conditions so the results are valid.
A lawyer may find different angles to fight a person's case, and depending on how much evidence there's available, they may be able to get a favorable outcome in court.
Overall, What Happens If Someone Loses a DUI Trial?
Reaching the end of this article, here's an overview of what someone can expect if they lose a DUI trial in Texas:
Misdemeanor DUI (or Class-B Misdemeanor)
Jail time of up to six months
Temporary license suspension
Felony DUI Trials
Long jail sentences
Permanent license suspension
Hiring a DUI or DWI Lawyer in Texas | Sparks Law Firm
Fighting a DUI or DWI in Texas can be a bit overwhelming, especially if the person doesn't have anyone by their side. In these cases, hiring a lawyer may be the best choice they can make. The legal experts at the Sparks Law Firm may be able to find a good defense strategy for people in these cases, so anyone who may need further assistance with their case may contact this law firm today.