What to Do When Stopped for DWI in Houston and Harris County
Elsewhere, we covered what to do if you are arrested. Driving While Intoxicated arrests are entirely different and worthy of their own discussion. We hope that you are reading this for information prior to being arrested because too often Mr. Pham has clients who have already dug their own grave, legally. It is vitally important that, if you are stopped for DWI, you follow the following six steps.
When a Houston law enforcement officer pulls you over, he will ask you to get out of the car. You are required to do this under the law. He will also ask you for your license, registration and proof of insurance. You are also required to do this. THIS IS ALL YOU HAVE TO DO.
Rest assured, however, that the officer will ask for more. Undoubtedly, he will ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests. These usually include walking a straight line, possibly reciting the alphabet backward, etc. While you are not required to perform these tests, and you should not, they can and will be used against you in court. Too often, Mr. Pham’s client come to him and proudly proclaim that their DWI case should be dismissed because they did not take the breath test. While not taking that test may or may not be good advice depending on the situation, you can be just as easily convicted on your performance of the field sobriety tests.
Remain silent. You have the right under the law. Use it! In virtually every DWI case that Mr. Pham has tried, the officer has testified that the suspect had “slurred speech.” While it is statistically impossible for this to be the case, it is nevertheless what they say.
Ask permission to leave. Remember, the officer can only detain you for as long as is necessary to obtain your information and to cite you for any other offenses that you may have committed (speeding, etc.) Beyond that, if you have not given him any other reason to detain you, you should be free to go.
Always assume that you are being videotaped. This can be either a good or bad thing. If you have followed Mr. Pham’s instructions, the videotape can be your best friend. For example, if the officer detained you longer than was necessary, the video tape will show that. So many times, Mr. Pham has tried cases where the officer testified that his client had slurred speech, but the video tape indicated that he or she never said a word. However, if you spoke to the officer and took his field tests, it can be the video tape that will seal your fate in a trial.
If you are arrested, be polite and remain silent. When you are released, immediately contact a criminal defense attorney who specializes in DWI. There is hope for prevailing in a DWI case in Houston. Mr. Pham has the success record to show it.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for a DWI offense, and you want an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer, contact Houston DWI attorney Michael H. Pham at (713) 236-7791.