In the state of Texas, A DWI is a serious criminal offense. Under the state’s Penal Code, you can be convicted of drunk driving if your BAC is at or above 0.08. Of course, as with other criminal cases, all defendants are innocent until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To obtain a conviction, a Texas prosecutor has the legal burden of establishing that the defendant is actually guilty of the charges.
While most people have a general understanding of the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ standard, many also overlook the implications. During a DWI stop, many drivers get the urge to defend themselves. Essentially, they try to talk their way out of the arrest, looking for the right words to say to convince the officer that they are not intoxicated. This is a serious mistake and can lead to significant DUI/DWI penalties.
If you have been arrested for a DWI in Austin, TX, you should not make any statements to law enforcement officers.
What You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You
When a police officer pulls over a driver in Texas and begins administering field DWI tests, starts asking questions about a DWI, or implies that the driver has been drinking, it means that they are conducting an investigation.
In fact, by this point in the interaction, that officer may have already decided in their own head that the driver is going to be arrested, regardless of the results of the tests. It is critical that defendants understand this key point: law enforcement officers are tasked with obtaining evidence.
Your statements are evidence. In general, nothing you say in your defense will be given much credibility by the officers. However, any accidental or intentional admissions of guilt or misconduct can and will be used against you in a court of law. Even worse, law enforcement officers and prosecutors may find ways to twist your words into something that you did not really mean. Statements that you may feel are benign or statements that you feel are in your defense may actually be deemed to be incriminating.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
The Fifth Amendment protects all defendants against self-incrimination. During an arrest, you have the legal right to remain silent. Not only should avoid making voluntary statements, but you have the right to decline to answer invasive questions being asked by the responding police officers.
You should always exercise your right to remain silent. Trying to talk yourself out of an arrest is extremely ill-advised. You are far more likely to talk yourself into a conviction. If you are being arrested or detained, then you need to keep quiet. Do not say anything that is incriminating or can be interpreted as incriminating. Once an arrest occurs, you should request access to your Texas DWI defense lawyer. You are under no obligation to give a statement to law enforcement. Your attorney can protect your legal rights and get you the best possible results in your case.