Anyone who has ever witnessed a bar fight knows that the consumption of alcohol reduces inhibitions and encourages violent behavior. Consequently, violence against police officers is particularly likely to occur during a DWI arrest. The Houston Police Department (HPD) has issued a written policy for police handling of violent DWI suspects. If you have been arrested for DWI in Houston amid allegations of violent behavior towards a police officer, the services of a skilled Houston criminal defense attorney could be critical.
The HPD’s Redaction Policy
The HPD has a policy of redacting (editing) its written policies before releasing them to the public. The purpose of the redactions is to conceal from the public any information which, if generally known, would endanger officers’ safety or allow criminals to evade prosecution. Although the HPD has edited a portion of its written policy towards violent DWI suspects, Mario Madrid has access to the unedited version (please see below).
HPD Policy for Violent DWI Suspects
The HPD’s policy toward violent DWI suspects is characterized by the following features:
- “Violent” DWI suspects will be handcuffed and taken straight to jail.
- The suspect will not be videotaped, as nonviolent suspects are.
- The suspect will not be given a breath test for the presence of alcohol or other intoxicants.
- The arresting officer will indicate on the police report that the suspect refused a breath test.
Obviously, a DWI suspect labors under several serious disadvantages when a police officer classifies him as “violent” – he cannot use a videotape or the result of a breath test to prove his innocence (since neither are generated in the first place), and he can be additionally penalized for “refusing” to take a breath test that was never offered to him. Even worse, the HPD policy fails to clearly define exactly what constitutes “violent” behavior.
Refusing a Breath Test in Texas
Houston has an “implied consent” law. Anyone who holds a driver’s license is presumed to have consented to a breath or blood test designed to detect the presence of alcohol or another intoxicant. Although you are entitled to refuse a breath or blood test incident to a DWI stop, the Texas Department of Public Safety will suspend your driver’s license for 180 days for a first offense, and for two years for a second offense within 10 years. Your refusal to be tested will not prevent the prosecutor from prosecuting you for DWI.
The Texas Department of Public Safety cannot suspend an out-of-state driver’s license. It will, however, notify your home state of your refusal, and your home state will deal with your refusal the way it would have dealt with it if the refusal had occurred in your home state.
Resisting Arrest in Texas
DWI defendants who are accused of acting violently during an arrest are often charged with resisting arrest, a criminal offense under Texas law. Unfortunately, you can be convicted for resisting arrest even if you can prove that the arrest was unlawful to begin with. The maximum penalty for resisting arrest is one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. If a deadly weapon was used, the offense is considered a felony, and the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Fighting Back against the System
Mario Madrid is an aggressive criminal defense lawyer with nearly 20 years of practice. He served as both a prosecutor and a judge before becoming a criminal defense lawyer, he is a specialist in Criminal Law and a member of the National College of DUI Defense Attorneys. If you have been arrested for DWI by the Houston police Department, call Madrid Law, PLLC at 713-877-9400 for a free initial consultation.