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DWI and Drunk Driving Myths Debunked

Mark Thiessen
DWI and Drunk Driving Myths Debunked

“If they don’t read you your rights, they have to drop their charges.” Nope.

“Just tell them you refuse the test and you’re good to go!” Not at all.

“State Troopers have to be wearing their hat or else it’s an illegal stop by the police.” Just plain ridiculous.

“You can’t spot an unmarked police car by its license plates.” No, it might be one of several ways to know.

“You can’t travel overseas with a criminal record.” Actually, you can in many cases.

DWI license suspension takes place immediately after you get pulled over.” No! You have 15 days to save your license.

Myths of all kinds still abound about the law. Specifically, there are a lot of drunk driving myths and DWI urban legends floating around. Your friends may be smart people, but unless they also happen to be lawyers, you probably shouldn’t take their legal advice, whether it’s about how not to get pulled over by the police or about DWI.

There are lots of dangerous drunk driving myths and misinformation about DWI, myths that can mislead juries, endanger drivers and distort the conversation about DWI in Texas. Get the facts every Texan should know about DWI, and spread the knowledge with your friends and family who may have the wrong idea.

Myth #1: It’s Illegal to Drink and Drive

You didn’t see this one coming on drunk driving myths, did you? Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you—it is perfectly legal to have a beer, a shot or a glass of wine and subsequently drive a car, just so long as you aren’t legally intoxicated and/or drinking while behind the wheel.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one caught off guard by this myth—this fact tends to trip up juries, cops and even suspects. In Texas, there’s something known as the “Time of Driving” rule, which stipulates that intoxication must be proven at the time of the stop/accident in order to successfully convict someone for DWI. Due to a phenomenon known as retrograde absorption, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of analysis might be higher than it was during the actual stop or accident.

Myth #2: You Should Always Refuse the Breathalyzer

Pay attention to this drunk driving & DWI myth as your freedom might depend on it.
Myth #2: do not blow is the best action to take when pulled over on suspicion of DWI. While this used to be good advice, enforcement policies have changed in much of Texas, and this former “rule of thumb” is now out-of-date. The new saying to memorize? Blow, don’t bleed.

“No Refusal Weekends” are now a ‘round the clock occasion in Harris County, and refusing a breath test while pulled over on suspicion of DWI will almost instantly turn into a DWI blood test. This is bad news for a number of reasons. First off, blood draws are more relied upon by juries than Breathalyzer results.

The Breathalyzers used by HPD are pieces of junk that yield all kinds of bad results. Blood draws—while not perfect—tend to be perceived as much more accurate, something juries and prosecutors will seize on during trial. Beyond that, something to consider as you’re deciding between a blood test or breathalyzer: the blood test will show results for many more things in your system than alcohol (i.e. drugs and medication), which could cause further complications to your case.

Second, the time of driving rules can make your initial refusal much more damaging to your case. In the time between the initial Breathalyzer request and the arrival of field blood draw, your BAC could increase, potentially bumping you into a higher DWI category.

Myth #3: The Only Way To Handle a DWI is a Plea Deal

Of all the drunk driving myths, nothing frustrates me more than seeing good people plead guilty to DWI based on shoddy evidence and bad police work. You don’t have to join the Texas DWI statistics. Contrary to popular belief, DWI charges can be fought and beaten in court, or dismissed outright—but you’ll never know without enlisting proper representation. Whether it’s a DWI, possession of a controlled substance, or even intoxication manslaughter, a skilled Houston DWI attorney is your best shot at protecting your freedom and reputation.

Fighting DWI charges is possible, but it requires a special set of knowledge and skills to debunk the bad science and cloudy laws surrounding DWI in Texas. Having won “Not Guilty” verdicts in cases involving both blood and breath analysis, I possess the unique expertise necessary to handle even the most complicated DWI cases. If you or a loved one have been charged with DWI, throwing in the towel early may not be your best option. Contact me and the team at Thiessen Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and let’s explore your options.

For even more Houston DWI facts and information, download our free eBook!

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