DWI Charges are Not Always Alcohol Related

A Texas Court of Appeals for the Sixth District in Texarkana recently handed down a decision about a DWI case that did not involve alcohol in any way. It serves as a reminder to each of us of how broad DWI law is in Texas. It does not matter if a person is drunk or not, if the police can make a case that the person is intoxicated from drugs or prescription medications, that person will face the same consequences.

What Happened in This Case

This case involved a woman who, on Valentine’s Day 2014, left an argument that ended in a breakup with her then boyfriend. After leaving she got into an accident by driving into a guardrail and crashing her car.

Soon after the accident the police showed up and began investigating the woman for a possible DWI charge. The woman admitted to taking some regularly prescribed medication on the day before the accident, but the police suspected she was under the influence of the medications due to her demeanor, reactions, and communication. The police testified that the woman was acting in a disoriented manner. Of course this was on Valentine’s day after a breakup, but the police attributed it to her medication.

The police called the boyfriend, the person she just broke up with, and he allegedly told the police that she had taken a lot of pills. Think about that piece of evidence for a moment and ask yourself whether the boyfriend was in a position to act objectively at that point in time. In addition to talking with her now ex-boyfriend, the police administered several field sobriety tests they later claimed she failed.

Police Make a Case

In lieu of arresting this distraught woman on Valentine’s day, the police sent her to the hospital to get help. At the hospital she was screened for drugs, but none were found except for an undefined amount of opiate. Of course, opiates can remain in the urine for days after ingesting them. Nonetheless, the woman was charged with DWI and convicted after a trial by judge.

Following the woman’s trial she appealed the decisions. The woman’s appeal surrounded one key issue, whether there was enough evidence at trial to actually convict. This is a difficult standard to prove on appeal. In the first instance, most appeals are rejected and lost. Courts rarely overturn convictions unless there was a clear error made by a judge or prosecutor at the trial phase, and this case was no different.

The judge issued his opinion that pointed out the discrepancies in what happened, but ruled that the evidence was enough to sustain a conviction. This is typical of what happens in appeals cases, no matter how compelling a person’s story or facts are.

Defending and Protecting Your Rights From Day One

As soon as a person is arrested on suspicion of DWI, the defense should begin. That is why having a good attorney who knows DWI law in Texas and has experience at every level from investigation to trial is so important. At the Wilder DWI Defense Firm our team of professionals will ensure that your rights are fought for and protected. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DWI contact us.