Texas Teen To Serve Two Years In Jail Following Fatal DUI Crash

A Texas teenager, Ethan Couch, recently appeared in court after causing the death of four people in a fatal 2013 DUI accident. The night of the accident, Couch played “beer pong” with his friends. Some of his friends supplied the beer. As Couch drove his family’s pickup truck home that night, he lost control and caused an accident. Authorities found that Couch was traveling 70 mph in a 40 mph zone when he collided with a disabled people killing four individuals. It was also found that Couch had a blood-alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit for an adult. At Couch’s sentencing, his psychologist suggested Couch had affluenza and blamed Couch’s parents for teaching him a system that is far from rational. Ultimately, despite the attempted affluenza defense, a judge ordered Couch to serve nearly two years in jail.

Defenses to DUI

Initially, please be advised that you have a limited amount of time from the date of your arrest to successfully fight to keep your drivers license at your administrative license hearing. In short, the officer who pulled you over should have given you paperwork regarding the suspension of your driver’s license. You have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request an Administrative License Revocation (“ALR”) hearing, where you are given the opportunity to contest the suspension of your license or your license will be suspended automatically. Therefore, you must act fast to preserve your driving privileges.

Here is a short list of DUI/DWI defenses. This list is non-exhaustive. It is critical that you retain an experienced DUI/DWI attorney to determine which defense best applies to the factual scenario of your case. First, a very powerful defense exists when you are able to argue that your initial stop was unlawful. Per the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, holds that a police officer must have at least reasonable suspicion, based off of articulable facts, before pulling a vehicle over. The driver and passengers in the vehicle, once pulled over, are deemed “detainees.” If you were unlawfully pulled over, in violation of the Constitution, you may be able to suppress evidence that was obtained from the unlawful stop.

Second, if you are with police and not free to leave, you are in police custody. If police begin to ask you questions reasonably likely to reveal a criminal response, this is interrogation. If you are in both custody and under interrogation, the police must provide you with Miranda Warnings before questioning you. If they fail to do so, any response made may be suppressed from court.

There are several additional defenses including, but not limited to:

  • If the breathalyzer device was not functioning properly;
  • If your blood or urine sample was not properly taken or stored;
  • If the officer did not properly administer field sobriety tests;
  • If you have a medical condition that justifies poor performance on your field sobriety test;
  • If you have a medical condition that justifies your high BAC reading; and
  • If the officer’s report was wrong or incomplete.

Take Action

Again, there are several additional powerful defenses to a DUI charge in Texas. You may have a defense that ultimately dismisses your case. If you have been charged with a DUI anywhere in Texas, regardless of the circumstances, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced DUI attorney. At the Wheeler Law office, we are available 24/7. We offer a FREE consultation, with flat fee pricing and payment plans to fit every budget. Call us today at (940)-465-3178. Serving Denton, Collin, Dallas, Tarrant and surrounding counties.