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I personally bring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) manual to every DWI case. I have every manual from 2004 until now. I stack them up on my desk, and when I cross the officer, the first question or one of the first questions I ask is, did you bring your NHTSA manual? They almost never do. I then tell them to feel free to use any one of mine and pick out whichever one to use in terms of the investigation. I see the NHTSA manual as the Bible for DWI protocols and arrests. Therefore, when I’m cross-examining the officer at trial, I do it almost verbatim from that manual. So, when they don’t know the manual well enough, especially if they are hard-headed, I like that more because it shows that they didn’t follow procedure.

I don’t think a jury holds that as much against them, but I use it as the Bible, and almost my entire cross examination is with the manual in front of me. Everything I ask generally comes from the manual. If they argue against me and say that it doesn’t say such things in the manual, I’ll ask to approach, and ask them to read it and see if they want to revise their answer. In closing, I use it to tell a jury that I know every manual, and how it’s changed from year to year whenever it’s updated. I know it like the back of my hand because it’s my job, and that’s why I ask those officers those tough questions. In reality, it’s difficult when they don’t know how to do standardized field sobriety tests in an absolute correct manner.

One of the manuals states that if any of the elements are changed, the validity is compromised. And so, I ask the officers about that, and if they remark that they are supposed to follow the procedures, but that it’s not really a big deal, I tell them that the validity is compromised. The manual says very clearly that if any of the elements are changed, the validity is compromised, and so they have to do it the same way every time, all of the time, but the reality is that they almost never do.

How Can My Attorney Use Breathalyzer Maintenance Records To Defend My DWI Case?

The training records would show whether the officer was certified to operate the breathalyzer machine, which they should be a certified Intoxilyzer operator. The breathalyzer that is commonly used is the Intoxilyzer 5000, but now we use the 9000. The maintenance records for the Intoxilyzer, whether it is the 5000 or 9000, are important because it shows if it’s in working order. The records can show if anything happened to cause it to give false positives. The number of times a person blows into the 9000 can be obtained through a histogram. The histogram can be easily printed out by the police when any breath test is done.

However, they will not release or make it where the histogram is immediately and readily available to give to a defendant through discovery. But, those will just show if the slug detectors were working. It would detect if there was a variance between the alcohol that was measured between the two-breath test, which is a critical factor. All the maintenance records, however, would and could show that, including the histogram.

What Personal Medical History Should I Share With My DWI Defense Attorney?

Any relevant personal medical history should be shared with your DWI defense attorney. If the defendant has a bad knee or ankle, hip problems, or any kind of physical injury that would be relevant as evidence, it should be shared with your DWI attorney. If you have any physical ailments, it could affect the physical portion of the field sobriety tests or with how you were operating your vehicle, which can be independent of intoxication. For instance, if you have a knee problem, and they’re asking you to do the walk and turn or stand on one leg, having a physical ailment will play a role and affect the results. Also, in regard to breath tests, if you have a history of GERD, which is acid reflux, the Intoxilyzer is not designed to decipher that.

If you have GERD, you can have small amounts of alcohol constantly sent back through your throat, and that condition can give a very high false-positive reading on the breath test. Therefore, it is essential to provide that kind of medical history, whether it is GERD or some other physical impairment, to your attorney.

Can The Arresting Officer’s Background And Conduct Be Used To Defend My DWI Case?

The arresting officer’s background and conduct can be used to defend your DWI case. In Texas, you can get an officer’s TCOLE record. The TCOLE record provides all of the officer’s training, certificates, and experience. Officers should update their training every two years. If they don’t train at least every two years, they may not be administering sobriety tests correctly. If they have a background in getting reprimanded, that’s also very important. Is there a D.R.E.? A D.R.E. is not an easy certification to get, but it means that they’ve taken more time to learn how drugs and alcohol affect the body. Getting the arresting officer’s professional background and contacts are recommended and incredibly useful. An officer that’s been doing his job for 30 years who has 15 or 16 different updates, will know more about how investigations and arrests should be conducted. If you have someone who is newer, he or she might not have done everything correctly. Alternately, someone who is older could be prone to cutting corners because they’ve been doing it so long. They might take it for granted because they’ve been on the job for a long time. Thus, it differs from officer to officer, but it is always important. We get a TCOLE almost immediately before we get hired, and then right toward trial, we get an updated one as well.

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