Tragically, a car accident in 2014 resulted in the death of four people. In that case, one of the drivers was taken into custody and charged with intoxication manslaughter for DWI and killing the four people in the other car. The facts of this case are stunning when viewed in light of the ever increasing pressure to throw the book at DWI suspects.
In this case, the man admitted to drinking before getting behind the wheel. He admitted to drinking a little more than two beers, and then a traditional african alcoholic drink. When his blood was finally tested, it came out at .14, just less than twice the legal limit. The question is, then, how was he declared not guilty by a jury?
Texas is a “Time of Driving State”
Under Texas law, a person is only considered DWI if he or she consumes alcohol beyond the legal limit, or the alcohol influences the driver at the time of driving. This means that when the police test a person’s blood alcohol content matters. For example, a person could drink several drinks, suddenly get in a car, drive for ten minutes, and still not be influenced by the alcohol or be over the legal limit. The reason? It takes time for alcohol to metabolize through a body and have influence on the driver.
This issue of alcohol metabolization and alcohol content is an ongoing debate among those charging, defending, and facing DWIs. The fact is, every person reacts to alcohol differently, and a drink of beer will have a different effect people of all different body types, frames, and metabolization rates. In addition to this, when the police take a blood test really does matter. If, as is what happened in this case, a blood test is taken nearly two hours after an accident, that test can not be relied upon in court to convict someone, take away his or her rights, and result in a permanent criminal record.
Reasonable Doubt is the Standard
DWI charges are criminal charges, and as such they are held to the reasonable doubt standard. This means that a person can not be convicted of DWI under the law when there is reasonable doubt that alcohol actually influenced his or her driving, or that the blood alcohol level was over .08 at the time of driving. This also means that it is important for DWI suspects to understand and defend their rights in court, so that they do not fall victim to an overzealous climate of throwing the book at DWI suspects.
Every DWI case is fact-intensive and requires thorough review and defense to ensure that no fact is left out that could result in reasonable doubt for the defendant’s case. This could involve when a blood alcohol test was taken, whether the police had evidence of alcohol use and influence beyond blood or breath tests, and any other mitigating circumstance. In addition to paying attention these facts, a DWI suspect needs the right legal team to defend the charges.
If you are charged with DWI, contact The Wilder DWI Defense Firm today. We will go over your case with you for free, and help you understand what your legal options are.