I got a phone call from an out-of-Stater last week about our old blog post- the Austin Bar DWIÂ list from 2010.Â While talking, I realized that we had neglected to post (or see, lol) the list from 2011.Â Not that there's that much difference, but we do have an appearance from Antone's as well as the Yellow Rose.Â As before, it has more to do withÂ the area and time you're driving than any other factor.Â If you're driving home from happy hour at the Dog & Duck Pub at 5 p.m., you're a lot less likely to get arrested than leaving Oilcan's at 3 a.m.Â Here's the top 20 Austin DWI arrest bars for 2011, according to Fox Austin
Every time I meet with a new client on a DWI case, I am reminded of all the different things I think people should know about DWI, and what they actually know.Â The State spends a great deal of money to give you the impression that you have no rights or choices when you are suspected of DWI.Â In reality, every citizen still maintains valuable rights vital to the defense of a DWI charge.Â Beyond rights, there are a number of things everyone should commit to memory in case they are ever charged with DWI.Â Think this doesnâ€™t apply to you?Â Even if you drink responsibly, drive, and get pulled over, more likely than not you will be arrested.Â Whether the charge sticks is another question, and the following simple rules can go a long way toward making sure it doesnâ€™t.Â With that in mind, I offer the following top 10 dos and donâ€™ts for DWI cases in Texas:
For years, I Â have privately held a theory about how I think people choose a lawyer to represent them in a criminal case or DWI. Â It's not flattering, but it is what it is... Â I think it's like choosing a dentist. Â You don't really want to have to go, but you can't ignore it, so what do you do? Â You pick one and you go see them, and if they don't completely turn you off, you go ahead and hire them because you're clueless and they seem smart enough (and you don't want to have to see another one). Â The thought just kills me, but I still go to that same dentist and I have no idea if his work is great or awful, but I think he's all right. Â Just like lawyers, they're all expensive so how do you know if you should pay a premium or is a cheaper one just as good? Here's my perspective, for what it's worth. Â I'm not going bargain hunting when I look for a dentist, or an electrician, or a babysitter, or anything Important. A criminal charge is just not something you can afford to skimp on, not in this job market, in this age of electronic data, and certainly not if you have plans for your future. Â If you are charged, you should look for a trial lawyer, even if you don't even think you would go to a jury trial yourself. Â
I KNEW it!! Â Here they come again with their shiny needles, the better to stick you with! Â Well, I can't say it's any surprise. Â I mean, APD does so many no refusal weekends (or blood warrants, as others say) that it's like keeping up with your relatives' birthdays. Â Let's see, New Year's, Super Bowl weekend, so now Mardi Gras. Â Interesting that Valentine's Day is still sacred, I suppose they don't expect a lot of people driving around drunk. Â So drink up, lonely people, you own Valentine's!
This is actually old news, but I've started seeing some of these lately so it's relevant. Â Back in September the legislature passed a new law affecting DWI's, for enhancement purposes. Â As things were, all regular DWI first offenses were class B misdemeanors, which carried a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail and up to a $2000 fine. Â In their wisdom, the legislature decided that if a DWI breath test is done (or blood) and the result is .15 or over, the charge will now be a class A misdemeanor, which doubles the max penalties from a class B. Â So your new exposure is a year in jail and $4000 fine. Â
Fortunately it DIDN'T happen in Austin, at least not yet. Â This only slightly stale news story comes to us from Wyoming, a shade more conservative than Austin by most accounts. Â I apologize in advance for not disclosing in the title that this incident did not actually occur in Texas, but it's a hot enough issue so it's bound to come up.Â
I'm sad that the Statesman beat me to the punch, but glad to see I wasn't the only one annoyed by the Austin Police Chief's involvement in the dismissal of radio host Jeff Ward's DWI.Â According to a Statesman article last night, it looks like now the Austin Police Union is a bit irritated as well.Â Let's review:Â high profile radio host is stopped for DWI, but he knows Chief Acevedo, who is a frequent guest on his show.Â Host has his fiancee call the Chief on cell phone from the scene of the stop, and then the Chief accepts a call from him at the jail.Â Chief reviews Ward's case with police brass, then personally calls the County Attorney's office to point out problems with the case.Â Ward was arrested Thursday night, and County Attorney declines to prosecute the case by Monday morning.Â Case closed.
Recently in Austin, a local radio personality was stopped for speeding and subsequently arrested for DWI.Â Jeff Ward was pulled over Thursday evening after emceeing an eventÂ at theÂ downtown Austin Hilton.Â He admitted to having one beer at the event, and was asked to perform a Field Sobriety Test to determine if he was driving while intoxicated.Â After performing the tests, he was asked to take a DWI breath test, which he refused (these Austin criminal defense lawyers advise you to do the same).Â Based on the officer's observations and judgment,Â the Austin Police Officer arrested Mr. Ward for DWI and took him to jail.Â Again, this is Thursday evening.
Once again, the Austin Police Department raised the ante on drunk drivers by initiating TWO no refusal nights over this Mardi Gras week.Â As announced in theÂ BlotterÂ on March 3, policeÂ stationed a magistrate at the DWI processingÂ BATBUS from 9 pm to 5 am on Saturday night, March 5.Â