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If you were arrested for a second DWI, you should strongly consider calling a defense attorney. The penalties for DWI in Texas are harsh, and without representation, you risk jail time, fines, a license suspension, and more. For help building an El Paso second-offense DWI defense, reach out to a lawyer today.
Putting Together a Mitigation Packet
One of the first steps in defending DWI charges is putting together a strong mitigation packet. This includes information about the accused’s:
- Letters of recommendation
- Involvement in the community
- Family situation
With a DWI second, defense strategy typically involves some sort of alcohol treatment, such as AA or an outpatient program. Even though the person may have a condition of bond not to consume alcohol or drive a vehicle with alcohol in their system, the defense may want to move further. Some individuals agree to put on a SCRAM device so that the attorney’s office can prove to a prosecutor or a judge that they were not drinking alcohol during this time. Another option is to undergo repeated urinalysis tests in a lab to prove they have not been drinking.
Building a Strong Defense
When putting together a case, the first thing lawyers do is to look at the prior DWI. They want to make sure it is a valid DWI conviction, and there were no mistakes committed in the judgment or the defense’s representation. If it is a valid judgment, then a new conviction will be enhanced to a DWI second. Then, they seek to go through the same process as the first DWI. After mitigation, attorneys do a case evaluation to ensure they have all of the information. They gather police reports, videos, lab information, and test results.
Evaluating Video Footage
Lawyers perform a thorough investigation of each video by watching it from start to finish and rating how the police officer handles the interaction with the accused. They look for issues with the stop that may lead to evidence being excluded from the case. In some cases, the video evidence may not mesh well with the actual police report. Over the years, our office has seen videos in which the officer tells another officer that they think the person is intoxicated well before the field sobriety test started. We have also seen videos in which officers made derogatory comments about the accused.
Importantly, lawyers will obtain both squad car videos and videos recorded by each officer’s body camera. That body camera will show different audio and video angles. Sometimes, if one officer is turning off a body camera, the other may not, allowing a lawyer to pick up conversations relevant to the case. They want to look at how the officer conducted the stop, how the officer talked to the defendant, how the defendant responded, and how they exited their vehicle. We have had police reports in which the officer claimed the client struggled to stand or exit the car, but this was proven false by the video.
Examining Field Sobriety and Chemical Tests
On top of looking at discrepancies in the reporting and video footage, lawyers should look at the way the officer conducted the tests. Our office often sends the data to our expert, Dr. Platt, who handles does a review of the video. Dr. Platt provides a 20-to-30-page report on all the technical issues with the officer’s procedure and may testify if necessary.
The next step is to examine the procedure behind the chemical tests. The actual process is often more important than the result. Lawyers can examine every detail, from the way the blood is taken from the accused, to who draws the blood and what qualifications that person has. Blood draws must be performed in a very specific manner, and procedural mistakes could call the validity of the results into question.
Let an El Paso Attorney Help You Build a DWI Defense
If you were arrested for a DWI second, you should not risk appearing in court alone. There may be powerful defenses available in your case, but it can be difficult to identify them without help. Let a skilled attorney help you build an El Paso second-offense DWI defense.