Driving while intoxicated is the most common criminal charge for the average law abiding citizen. Most people are not thinking about their blood alcohol content when they are drinking, and it can be extremely difficult to tell the difference between having a couple of drinks versus going over the legal limit. The blood alcohol limit to be charged with driving while intoxicated is also low enough that a person does not necessarily have to be extremely drunk or noticeably impaired to be arrested. It is now common for many law enforcement agencies to actively look for drivers who have been drinking, even if they are not driving recklessly.
Certain regions are lacking in transportation options, which means that driving everywhere is a necessity. The fact that it is legal for adults to either drink or drive means that the combination of the two acts will happen occasionally, with serious consequences. DWI charges carry license suspensions, heavy fines, and other conditions such as community service or probation. People who have multiple DWI convictions often lose their ability to drive permanently. Because these penalties are so severe, it is necessary to retain the services of an aggressive DWI lawyer who will do everything possible to help you avoid a conviction.
Local Judge Arrested for DWI
DWI charges are so common that even a local judge was arrested in McAllen. My San Antonio has reported that Judge Nora Longoria was pulled over by an officer in McAllen, Texas and charged with speeding and DWI. The judge was going 69 miles per hour in a zone where 55 was the speed limit, and video showed her stumbling and asking the officer to let her go when she was attempting the field sobriety tests. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct later issued disciplinary measures against her.
The Shortcomings of Field Sobriety Tests
At the start of a DWI investigation, a police officer usually has the driver attempt a number of physical tests. These are called field sobriety exercises or tests. Some common exercises are the walk and turn, finger to nose, and the horizontal gaze test. A seasoned DWI lawyer knows that these tests are often very difficult to perform on the side of a busy road, and many people have physical limitations that prevent them from performing well even under controlled conditions or when totally sober. The tests are also not conclusive evidence that a person is drunk and are just observations that are designed to help law enforcement collect information.
DWI Laws in McAllen
When a local prosecutor brings a case against someone for DWI in the McAllen area, Texas state law applies. The legal limit for alcohol in the state is a blood alcohol concentration of .08. While this can vary based on a person’s weight, height, tolerance, and other factors, for many people a .08 BAC can happen from just a few drinks. A first offense carries a fine of up to $2000 and along with possible jail time and a license suspension of up to a year. Penalties also increase for those who have already had previous DWI convictions. A third offense becomes a felony punishable by two to ten years in jail. These conditions can seriously affect a person’s ability to live a normal life, which is why an attorney with experience defending DWI cases is an important investment.
Contact the Tijerina Law Firm
If you have recently been charged with a DWI in the McAllen area, please contact the Tijernia Law Firm. The firm has over a decade of experience defending clients in all aspects of their DWI case. Mr. Tijerina is a former prosecutor who is familiar with all of the procedures in the local court system.