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There are several aspects of a Lubbock DUI case that make it unique. First, it is a crime that most people do not look at as particular violent or criminal. More people are charged with DWIs than any other crime in the state of Texas, minus traffic tickets. There are a small group of people who are arrested for violent crimes which people consider more severe, but with a DWI charge, individuals are less likely to consider it a serious criminal act.
Beyond that, there are many other aspects of a DUI case in Lubbock that make it unique. To understand such dynamics, it is critical that an individual consults with an experienced Lubbock DUI attorney as soon as possible.
The crime of DUI itself is considered an opinion crime. This means that it is the officer’s opinion that the person is driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. This is one of the most unique aspects of a DUI case in Lubbock.
Field Sobriety Testing
Another unique aspect of a DUI case in Lubbock is the presence and administration of field sobriety tests. There is sometimes controversial science behind field sobriety tests, yet the government uses them frequently. If a person did not perform well on the balance test, it does not necessarily mean they were drunk. There are many elements to contest when an individual is facing such a charge.
There may be situations where the individual is hurt, had a bad knee or back for example, and cannot do well with balance. This can impact their results during field sobriety testing. An officer may claim to take these elements into consideration, but it is often noted simply that the individual failed. This unique aspect of a DUI case in Lubbock can be contested with the use of an experienced attorney.
When it comes to field sobriety tests in Lubbock, one will often see some pre-exit questions, such as counting backward or saying the alphabet beginning at one letter. Further, an officer will ask that person for their date of birth, month and year only, or in some conditions, the date, month, and year.
One of the trickiest questions an officer may ask an individual is on the scale of 1 to 10, how intoxicated are they? Some officers will say, “with zero being none,” or “one being a little,” but then will not tell a person what the word intoxicated means.
Then, there are field sobriety tests, typically the Horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This is where an officer will ask an individual to follow a pen or some other stimulus as they move it from left to right. They can determine that if the person’s eyes twitch, then they are intoxicated. This method is quite far off from true science, which is one of the reasons that attorneys fight against these sobriety tests.
An officer may also administer a walk and turn or a one-leg stand test. At that point in time, the officer would have to make the decision to put the person under arrest. Some officers, usually Department of Public Safety, Lubbock Police Department, or Texas Tech Police Department, will use handheld portable breath test devices. Once they completed the three field sobriety tests, they will ask the person to blow into a PBT or Portable Breath Test in the field.
It is important to note that this number is not admissible in a criminal trial. The breath test at the scene is not an evidentiary breath test. It is used just to confirm that the officer has probable cause to arrest. It is also, from a scientific standpoint, a bad test. It is easily manipulated and can result in false positives.
In Lubbock County, oftentimes, there are special squads called Tango squads or the STEP program, whose focus is interacting with people who have been consuming alcohol and then doing field sobriety tests, making arrests, and removing those people from the road.
To best understand any other unique aspects that may come into play when handling a Lubbock DUI case, it is best that an individual consult with an experienced attorney immediately.
Severity of the Charge
DUI cases in Lubbock can range from a class B misdemeanor to a first-degree case. The prosecutors that work for the elected district attorney handle these cases. Many of those prosecutors have also been to field sobriety training classes and multiple continuing legal education classes on DUI law.
For a period of time, there have been special prosecutors that handle almost all of the high-profile DUI cases in Lubbock, including the intoxicated assault and intoxicated manslaughter cases.
In most cases, the district attorney’s office is prosecuting DUIs only if there are no facts in the case that an attorney can find or mitigate for the client to try and reduce the case. If any potential elements cannot be lessened, then the individual is likely facing a plea deal that they can either accept or refuse. A refusal then proceeds to trial.