How to Get Your Texas DWI Video
Many people arrested for DWI are not aware they they have the right to request video footage of their arrest. Before September 1, 2015, DWI arrestees did not have that right. That changed with the 84th Texas Legislative Session when Charlie Geren (the representative for District 99 (Fort Worth)) introduced House Bill 3791 (HB3791) on March 13, 2015. The bill passed the Texas House on May 5, 2015, and passed the Texas Senate on May 27, 2015. Governor Abbott signed it into law on June 19, 2015. What you may not know is that Mimi was a leading force among criminal defense lawyers fighting for this law. In fact, Mimi is the one who wrote this law for Charlie Geren to introduce!
Why would I want to request my own DWI video? Doesn’t my DWI Lawyer get it for me?
There are a few advantages to requesting your own DWI video:
- First, you can obtain your video from law enforcement even if your case has not been filed yet. Your DWI Lawyer can also request the video before the case becomes official. Otherwise, they must wait for the District Attorney to send the video as part of “discovery” for the case.
- Second, there are fewer rules if the Defendant obtains his own video. Criminal Defense Lawyers are subject to ethical rules established by the State, and to court rules. One such rule is that the criminal defense lawyer cannot disclose confidential information related to the case (such as the police report). A criminal defense lawyer is subject to discipline for rule violation, but (except in a few situations) you are only subject to moral obligation.
- Third, it gives you a glimpse of the officer’s perspective of the event. Whether the officer had justification is a matter for your criminal defense lawyer to discuss with you. Your criminal defense lawyer will also go over what the officer looks for during roadside examinations (e.g., the eye test). You are not expected to know what the officer wanted to see or why he made his decision. But, watching the video can help refresh your memory of the event or even correct a misunderstanding. For example, you may remember that the officer took blood and nothing else, while the video may show you refusing to a breath/blood test (which can have HUGE consequences on your ALR Hearing).
What does the law say?
Article 2.1396 (formerly 2.139 before the 2017 legislative session) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states:
A person stopped or arrested on suspicion of an offense under Section 49.04, 49.045, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code, is entitled to receive from a law enforcement agency employing the peace officer who made the stop or arrest a copy of any video made by or at the direction of the officer that contains footage of:
- the stop;
- the arrest;
- the conduct of the person stopped during any interaction with the officer, including during the administration of a field sobriety test; or
- a procedure in which a specimen of the person’s breath or blood is taken.
Basically, the statute says that you may request any video of everything from the stop to the blood draw (and anything happening after the draw if part of the same video).
How do I request my DWI Video?
Unfortunately, the statute does not provide a clear answer. The statute only mentions entitlement to make a request. The best advice is to hire a criminal defense lawyer to send the request for you. By hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you kill two birds with one stone. The criminal defense lawyer will request all possible footage under the statute. The criminal defense lawyer will be able to discuss what to look for in the video.
More about Mimi Coffey
When people look for a Top DWI Attorney or Best DWI Attorney, they look for experience, certification, and respect in the legal community. Mimi Coffey is a nationally-renowned trial attorney, board-certified in DWI by the NCDD. She has been practicing for over 24 years and is an author of multiple DWI Defense textbooks. She is also a national and state-wide lecturer on the law.
Mimi is also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI Lawyers for Wise County, DWI Lawyer Tarrant County, DWI attorney Dallas County, DWI attorneys Collin County and DWI attorneys Parker County. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in DFW, She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.