A DWI conviction will result in collateral damage for a lifetime. An experienced DWI attorney can mitigate the hardships.
“It is an intimidating experience,” explains Kevin Bennett, a prominent DWI lawyer in Austin, “and for most people who have been arrested in Travis County for DUI or DWI it is the first time they have been treated as a criminal. And this is the first day. All of the following days, that is, the rest of their lives, the impact and consequences will be profound. A single DWI arrest is a black mark that can affect current and future employment, family, and social relationships. And jobs that require a security clearance or a professional license will be jeopardized. The ability to borrow money for education or to buy a house can also be affected. My job is to defend and help my clients. Their legal rights should be fully exercised and my legal defense for a DWI arrest will focus on these rights and opportunities to minimize the damage to their lives.” Mr. Bennett is considered one of the best DWI lawyers in Austin given his considerable knowledge and experience in the field.
As an Austin DWI lawyer Mr. Bennett is very familiar with both administrative and criminal penalties involved in a DWI arrest and conviction. The most significant administrative penalty for first time DUI and DWI offenders is a180 day suspension of their driver’s license. Criminal penalties can be severe even for first time offenders. Fines can be as much as $4000 and jail time can range from three days to one year depending on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). And there are three years of license renewal surcharges from the Texas Department of Public Safety for $1040 per year.
The first defense that Mr. Bennett typically evaluates is the legal justification for stopping the vehicle. If there was no probable cause or an improper stop then the legal case against his client may collapse. There are procedures and rules that police officers must follow in a DUI arrest and a violation of any of these is grounds to challenge the arrest. And every arrest must be include a Miranda warnings for the accused.
The second major DWI defense utilized by the best DWI attorneys in Austin is broadly defined as the field “sobriety tests.” There are numerous types of “sobriety tests” and some of the more common ones are walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, finger to nose, number count, alphabet recitation, vertical gaze nystagmus, and horizontal gaze nystagmus. These are subjective tests and police officers routinely record them for use in a possible court case. If there is no video record then the entire event is based on the police officer’s opinion and judgment. That presents a huge subjectively problem if the officer is using one of the gaze tests, which is an involuntary jerking of an individual’s eye when the eye gazes to the side or up and down (usually following a pen held by the officer). The theory is that this involuntary jerking of the eye is exaggerated by alcohol consumption.
A third DWI defense employed by Mr. Bennett is challenging the accuracy of the more “scientific” sobriety tests, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and breathalyzer. Both have their limitations. Poor training and poor administration on the part of the police can greatly affect the accuracy or final results of these tests. Some critics state that these sobriety tests are only 65% to 77% accurate. These tests are chemical tests and are designed to measure the BAC in the saliva, urine, breath, or blood.
A fourth DWI defense is called “rising blood alcohol”. It takes time for alcohol to enter the bloodstream and if police officers take a blood sample an hour or two after an arrest then the results can be challenged in court. It can be argued that the BAC of the client was different at the time of arrest and the multi-hour delay allowed more alcohol to enter the client’s bloodstream.
A savvy Austin DWI attorney will apply a fifth DWI defense – a complete evaluation of the medical or health condition of the DWI client at the time of the arrest. There are many situations that could skew results of a field sobriety or chemical test. Some people may be taking medications, suffering from a lack of sleep, wearing contact lenses, or have another explanation as to why they performed poorly on a test. Or the officer’s instructions could have been confusing particularly to those whose native language is not English.
“I work very hard to help an individual keep his or her job. Often they need to drive to and from work and an ‘occupational license’ may be available. This is coupled with evidence of financial need and responsibility and there may be a requirement for an ignition interlock device to be installed in their car. Regardless, every DUI and DWI client I have worked with has exhibited regret or remorse and simply wants to move on with their life,” states Mr. Bennett, “and that is why they need the help of an experienced DWI attorney in Austin.”
Mr. Bennett defends individuals who are facing criminal charges stemming from DWI, assault, theft, drug possession and various other misdemeanors and felony crimes in Austin, Texas.
Contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett1411 West Ave #100