A number of my clients charged with DWI have heard of Harris County’s DIVERT program. DIVERT is a good program for some cases, however I don’t think it is something to choose immediately. A good DWI lawyer needs time to thoroughly investigate the facts of your case to get you the best outcome possible. I always advise my clients of the DIVERT program but until I can investigate their case I cannot say if it is the best option. If DIVERT is the best option for a client, I attend the divert screening with my client and make sure they completely understand all of the requirements. Upon completion of the DIVERT program, the DWI case is dismissed. The client can file an expunction two years from the date of completion and have the case expunged from their record.
Harris County is taking advantage of its no-refusal program this Fourth of July weekend. This means if a police officer suspects someone is driving while intoxicated or boating while intoxicated and asks them to submit a breath test or blood test, they cannot refuse. The police will obtain a search warrant and require the suspect to provide a breath or blood sample.
This no-refusal policy does not apply to the field sobriety tests that officers perform at the scene or at the station. Field sobriety tests commonly consist of the horizontal gaze nystagmus, commonly referred to as the pen test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand. Officers ask motorists to perform tests while looking for “clues” to provide evidence showing the motorist is intoxicated. They do look for any signs showing the motorist may not be intoxicated. It is often difficult for a court to prove a driver was intoxicated when they have refused to perform any of these sobriety tests.
So remember Houston, if you are drinking this holiday weekend, have a designated driver.