Playing Politics With DWI Cases?

A prominent Texas attorney and political booster is accusing the Harris County District Attorney of playing politics with his DWI case. According to reports, the new DA in Harris County is asking the court to reopen a DWI case that was dismissed last year and was recently expunged. It is a continuing chapter in the saga that is Texas politics and DWIs.

This case began last year when a prominent Texas attorney was arrested and accused of DWI. He vowed to take his case to trial, citing several irregularities with the case, and it was eventually dismissed by the last Harris County DA. What caused people to take notice of this case was the people involved and the circumstances of the dismissal.

Case Dismissed

Late last year, as the old DA of Harris County was leaving office, the prominent Texan’s DWI case was personally dismissed by the DA. According to the prosecutor’s office, the suspect finished all the the requirements of a diversion program, and his case was dismissed as part of an agreement with the prosecution. But the man whose case was dismissed simply stated that the case was dismissed because of the irregularities of the case.

Soon after the case was dismissed, critics came out to say that the irregularities were how the case was handled, and that this prominent, influential Texan was getting preferential treatment. They cited the fact that a DA rarely if ever personally dismisses cases, and that the man in question had been a member of a defense team on Texas’ recent governor’s criminal case.

Now, in light of all these developments, the new DA is trying to reopen the case and make the man face the charge of DWI. Of course he is crying politics, and now wants the entire matter to be put to rest. It might be put to rest because there are several reasons why the state is not at liberty to simply reopen criminal charges once they have been dismissed.

The Right Against Double Jeopardy

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects each of us from being put twice in jeopardy of the same crime. What this means is that the state only gets one bite at the apple to convict someone, and if they fail to do so, cannot keep bring charge after charge for the same alleged conduct.

In practice, this usually means that once a jury is empaneled and the prosecution backs out they cannot bring a case again. Or when a jury acquits a suspect of a crime the state is then blocked from bringing a case. But other times, such as when a jury is hung, the state can bring charges again. What makes this case special is the fact that the prosecution dismissed the case pursuant to an agreement with the suspect. In this case it would be difficult for a judge to allow a case to be reopened since the prosecution already had their bite at the apple.

Defending Your Rights

Charges of DWI are probably one of the most high-profile of crimes covered by the news media and politicians. It is easy to score political and public points with this crime because of the lack of public sympathy for those accused of DWI. But this cultural position does not dismiss the rights that those accused of DWI have. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm our number one job is to defend those rights. If you are accused of DWI contact us today for a free consultation.