Offers From Prosecutors
General Overview of Plea Bargains
DWI cases can be difficult to negotiate. Prosecutor’s are sometimes ordered by their superiors to not offer non-alcohol related plea offers, or to only offer a standard plea deal that requires all DWI suspects conform to a pre-ordained set of penalties and restrictions.
In some counties in Texas the State Prosecutor will make a strict offer of plead guilty and they will not ask for extended jail time, or other harsh penalties.
How to get the best plea deal available
Not all cases are good for trial. There are sometimes reasons beyond your control that would require you accept a plea offer. Typically these are financial, educational, or work related situations. Some clients simply do not have the ability to fight their case through trial because of the impact a prolonged legal case will have on their lives, careers, or families.
Prosecutors do not offer more in a plea deal than necessary. Their job is to get the deal that is closest to what a defendant would get if they would simply plead guilty. Still a plea offer takes into consideration several factor including the cost savings of time and money to the Prosecutor’s office and Court by avoiding litigation and trial.
What Prosecutor’s respond to is information. Developing a defense requires that we carefully evaluate each fact of your case in light of the statutes and case law. Sometimes this will require us to hire an expert witness to explain complicated scientific evidence to the judge or jury.
These experts will often provide us with a written report prior to them coming to court and testifying. There are times that we may provide these reports to Prosecutor’s prior to trial in order to convince them that this case is not a good case for trial, and that it should be resolved through dismissal of the charges or a reasonable plea offer.
Fact investigation requires you to tell us where you were and who you were within the hours leading up to your arrest. These people can often testify that the impairment – or the level of impairment – that the officer describes in his report was simply not witnessed by anyone else who was with you on the day of arrest.
Medical conditions are also important components of defending you against a Texas DWI. The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are not valid tests for a large number of people – people who have suffered serious head trauma in the past, had leg, knee, ankle, or back injuries, people more than 50 pounds overweight, and many more conditions.
Also, people who have GERD or other gastrointestinal medical conditions are not good candidates for the DWI breath machines. A number of these conditions can fool the machine into believing your BAC is higher than it really is.
If the officer claims your driving was caused by impairment, then we need to examine whether your vehicle was in good working order. If there was a defect that made it difficult or impossible for you to steer in a straight line, or caused your vehicle to drift or sway, then this needs to be documented and explained.
Key Components of DWI Defense
The first essential element of a DWI case is you hiring a lawyer who has been trained in how to aggressively defend you. People used to think DWI defense was a simple area of the law. In fact, it is one of the most scientifically complicated areas of law to practice.
DWI defense attorneys have to understand not only how the tests were performed, but how the science behind those tests was developed.
The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests underwent extensive scientific testing. Much of the raw data from those tests has been lost or destroyed by the federal government. In recent years, the trend has been for teams of pro-government people have gathered together and changed the wording in manuals to state that the original data now means something different than it meant when it was first released.
For instance, although the original SFST manual stated that since the tests were scientifically validated they must be performed in exactly the same proscribed manner each time they are administered to a DWI suspect. That importance of that original study has now been downplayed by the federal government by their new claim that experience has shown that strict adherence to the scientific testing need not be followed in order for the officer to draw accurate conclusions about whether you are intoxicated.
The government did not release any new study or research material to back up this claim. Instead, they appear to have simply added that statement without any basis for verifying it is true and accurate.