Under Texas law, you can be convicted of a DWI if you were driving while your BAC was at or above the legal limit (0.08). In order to obtain a conviction, prosecutors will need to present evidence that proves your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Much of that evidence will come directly from police officers, including their statements and their reports.
This raises an important question: Can you trust the evidence that comes from the police?
Unfortunately, the answer is ‘not always’. While many officers do their best to serve the community, police misconduct and negligence occurs far too frequently in Texas DWI cases. If your Austin DWI lawyer can prove that police misconduct occurred in your cases, this may be helpful in beating a DWI charge.
Five Examples of Police Misconduct that Could Get DWI Charges Dropped or Reduced
1. Lack of Probable Cause
Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, law enforcement officers must have valid probable cause before they can stop a vehicle. As the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) notes, sobriety checkpoints are not permitted in Texas. In this state, officers can only pull you over if they have a valid reason to do so, such as speeding or weaving in and out of a lane. If you were stopped without probable cause, any evidence obtained after that stop could potentially be excluded from your case.
2. Failure to Follow Proper Procedures During the Stop
During a DWI stop, Texas law enforcement officers must follow certain basic procedures. If officers violate your rights during a stop, or if they conduct a BAC test in a manner that is likely to produce an error or a false result, the charges against you may be invalid. How officers conducted the stop is an issue that needs to be reviewed.
3. Inaccurate Police Reports
Police officers have a legal duty to produce reports that are fully accurate. This means that law enforcement officers cannot leave out relevant evidence that might suggest exoneration. A police report that contains false or misleading information could potentially lead to DWI charges getting dismissed.
4. Mishandling of Evidence
Police officers are trusted to handle evidence in a fair manner. If evidence is mishandled, either because it is fabricated, contaminated, or simply lost, that will seriously undermine the case of the prosecution. Many DWI cases are dismissed because officers have mishandled the evidence.
5. False Courtroom Testimony
Like everyone else, police officers must give courtroom testimony under oath. If an officer gives false testimony, then that raises very serious questions about the overall case. It could lead to your DWI charges being reduced or dropped.
DWI Defendants Must Be Protected Against Police Misconduct
The bottom line is that police misconduct is a serious problem. Texas law enforcement officers have a legal obligation to follow proper procedures and protocols. If your legal rights were violated, or the police substantially mishandled your case, you may be able to beat DWI charges. Your charges may be reduced or even dismissed outright. You should always work with a skilled Austin DWI defense attorney who can protect you against police misconduct.