Five Non-Intoxication DWI Defenses

| Feb 6, 2020 |

Frequently, intoxication, or lack thereof, is the only issue in a DWI case. However, even if the defendant was drunk as a skunk, Parker County prosecutors might be unable to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A solid DWI defense makes it much easier for a Weatherford criminal defense attorney to successfully resolve these charges. That resolution could be a dismissal, a plea to a lesser-included offense, or a not-guilty verdict at trial.

Unlawful Stop

Before they detain motorists, police officers must have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Frequently, this reasonable suspicion is unrelated to DWI. Most drivers cannot travel more than a few blocks without rolling through a stop sign, changing lanes without signalling, or committing another traffic infraction. More subjective stops, such as erratic driving or furtive movements, do not always hold up in court.


In Texas, “driving” is synonymous with “operating” in this context. Even if the defendant is literally asleep at the wheel, DWI charges could still hold up in court. That’s assuming the car was driveable at the time. If the defendant did not have the keys or the car was not driveable, that’s another story. The driving element is also hard for the state to prove in DWI collision cases. There must be a witness who saw the defendant driving or operating the vehicle at or near the time of the crash.

Lack of Probable Cause

Before they request chemical samples, officers must have probable cause to believe the defendant was under the influence. Generally, the field sobriety tests provide such proof. However, sometimes defendants refuse to perform such tests or overanxious officers skip them. Probable cause is more difficult to establish in these situations.

Public Place

The defendant must have operated the vehicle in a public place. Apartment complex, shopping mall, and other parking areas are not public places. It does not matter if they have two-way streets with street names and traffic control devices, like stop signs. They are still private property. The space in front of a private dwelling, especially if it is adjacent to the driveway, is in a gray area.

Chain of Custody

These issues normally do not arise in Breathalyzer cases. The gadget analyzes the sample and then discards it. But chain of custody could be an issue in blood draw prosecutions. Frequently, samples must travel from clinics or hospitals to police labs to police stations to courtrooms. A gap in the chain of custody casts doubt on the sample’s validity.

Solid DWI defenses often come from unexpected places. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. Convenient payment plans are available.