DWI charges are different than other criminal case in many ways. One of those ways is the very public campaign that is constantly being waged against the crime of Driving While Intoxicated. This public campaign is fought on several fronts, as a recent example from a neighboring state shows.
In New Mexico, the governor recently unveiled plans for a public advertisement campaign against DWIs. The public advertisements will depict what it is like to get pulled over for DWI, what consequences will be faced, and include a threat of heightened enforcement of DWI in the future. No doubt the advertisements will have scary sounding music in the background, and give the general impression of hopelessness.
Of course, such a campaign to influence public opinion is not uncommon. Most states, if not all, conduct these types of campaigns with the stated goal of reducing DWIs and keeping the public safe. But there is another side effect, unknown where unintended, that has a big impact on DWI prosecutions before a defendant even walks into a courtroom.
Under the terms, protections, and rights endowed to us via the U.S. Constitution is the right to a trial by jury for criminal prosecutions. This right is important for a number of reasons, including taking the power to convict from the government and putting it in the hands of a defendant’s peers. Can such a proceeding be fair if that same government is constantly flooding the public with messages that indicate once a person is arrested for DWI, he or she is as good as guilty?
No one here, or anywhere, is advocating for more drinking and driving. Far from it. What is most important when it comes to the criminal justice system is protecting the process that is used to ensure that only those actually guilty of a crime are convicted. This becomes an uphill battle for DWI defendants when there is a constant barrage of public campaigns that paints someone guilty before trial.
Police Make Mistakes
This is an important point of emphasis because police officers, like all of us, make mistakes. That means that just because a person is pulled over and arrested for DWI, he or she is not automatically guilty of the crime. Under our laws in Texas, a person must be proven guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This issue gets even more complicated once the police and prosecution have a scientist on the stand testifying that the defendant’s blood had x amount of alcohol in it at the time of arrest.
So, the question which remains for those accused of DWI is, what should they do? The first step anyone accused of DWI should think about is what kind of attorney will be defending the case. This is important because a defendant’s attorney is often the only person on a defendant’s side, and the best chance to turn the tide of public opinion that is so often decidedly against DWI defendants.
As you consider which attorney you will put on your defense, consider The Wilder DWI Defense Firm. Our name says it all. We are here to defend those accused of DWI. Whether you case needs an aggressive plea negotiation, significant pretrial motion practice, or a bare knuckle trial, we are the firm for you. Contact us today.