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Kyle Lowe, Criminal Defense Attorney

Kyle Lowe Criminal Defense/DWI Attorney

Licensed to practice law since 1993 in New Mexico, and since 1997 in Texas, Kyle Lowe has been trying cases for 16 years. His only focus is Criminal Law. Beginning his career as an Assistant District Attorney in New Mexico, Kyle quickly worked his way up to Deputy District Attorney and became the designated DWI Prosecutor for the office.

 

In his 5 years as a prosecutor Kyle tried more than 60 cases to juries to include the first State prosecuted wiretap conspiracy case in New Mexico history...

 

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Posts Tagged ‘austin’

The Psychology of a DWI Stop

June 10th, 2009 by Kyle Lowe

The psychology of a DWI stop is an incredibly subjective thing.  One might suggest that there is a predetermined decision in the mind of a police officer, based on the time of day, the locale, the proximity of the vehicle to local bars/nightclubs, or the prevalence of previous DWI arrests in the same area, that a driver pulled over for a traffic infraction in that same area will be assumed drunk before the police officer even approaches the vehicle.

According to an article written by Shorstein and Lasnetski, whether a DWI arrest is made is not based on concrete, objective factors that can later be confirmed in court; rather, the decision to arrest for DWI will often be based on the perceptions, observations, conclusions and biases of the police officer.  Just about every police officer that has made a DWI arrest since the beginning of time will report that the suspect had bloodshot and watery eyes, emitted a strong odor of alcohol, had slurred or mumbled speech and failed the field sobriety tests if the driver submitted to them.  However, those conclusions are all very subjective.  How bloodshot and watery were the driver’s eyes compared to what they normally look like? What if the driver was in a smoky bar or staring at a computer screen all day? How strong is a “strong odor of alcohol”? What is slurred speech compared to how a person normally speaks?  Over the entire  period of the police encounter, how often must the driver slur his/her speech for it to be considered significant? Is the speech slurred due to alcohol or because the person is nervous? How the officer interprets these questions is very subjective.

The word “bias” is not used negatively here but as a natural and normal psychological phenomenon- a cognitive bias, and it is a significant factor. The human brain is wired to see patterns and draw conclusions subconsciously. While we would hope that a police officer would come to a conclusion of driving while intoxicated only after assessing all of the relevant data, humans have a psychological tendency to draw the conclusion and fit the data to conform to that conclusion. The human brain is also wired to avoid conflict.  In other words,  if we believe something to be true,  (i.e. we see something we believe conforms to a pattern we assume exists), we challenge ideas or perceptions that are inconsistent with our belief and automatically accept ideas that are consistent with our belief.  The human brain is much happier when ideas and perceptions are consistent.

During a DWI stop in Austin, Texas, if a police officer believes the driver is under the influence of alcohol, (i.e. that is the idea he/she perceives as being consistent with the pattern he/she accepts), the officer may interpret the subsequent evidence to conform to that belief.  As a result, these subjective factors like bloodshot and watery eyes,  slurred speech, an odor of alcohol and performance on field sobriety tests may be interpreted to be consistent with the “idea” of a drunk driver rather than what the facts actually illustrate.

To simplify, a police officer may have observed people commit traffic violations late on the weekends who turned out to be driving drunk hundreds of times or more. That officer, as humans are prone to do, will start drawing conclusions based on that experience. The next time that officer pulls a driver over in similar circumstances, his/her brain relates back to prior drivers who were drunk. The pattern is established.  We can all relate to the idea that we like to be proven right and we do not like to be proven wrong. It is intellectually uncomfortable to draw a conclusion only to find out it was incorrect. The defense mechanism our brains use to avoid that state of cognitive discomfort forces our brain to see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear and assume what we want to assume to conform to our primary belief– that the driver is driving while intoxicated- even if the facts tell a different story.  It is a psychological phenomenon that cannot be denied.  As a result, the police officer fits this next potentially drunk driver into the pattern that has developed and may interpret the data from the DWI stop to conform to that pattern and his/her conclusions.

So, what should you do if you are pulled over by a police officer who suspects you of  DWI in Austin, Texas? You cannot fight the instinctual operation of the human brain. You can, however, limit the information you provide to the police officer that can be interpreted unfavorably against you.  After you give your name, license, insurance and/or registration, you can politely ask for an Austin DWI attorney in response to any further questions or requests.  Keep in mind that anything you say or do can and will be used against you, and when you are dealing with so many subjective factors that are involved in a typical DWI investigation, the less you say and do, the better.

If you need an experienced DWI lawyer in Austin, Texas or the surrounding communities, contact Kyle Lowe at 512-750-5693.

Man Arrested for Austin DWI, Accused of Hitting Cyclist

March 4th, 2009 by Kyle Lowe

A 31-year-old man arrested for an Austin DWI has been accused of hitting a cyclist and leaving the scene, according to a KVUE news story. It happened late last month in Southeast Austin, near Royal Crest and East Riverside Drive.

An arrest affidavit said that the man got out of his car and asked the injured cyclist not to call the police. Just moments later, an Austin police officer tracked down the man and arrested him for an Austin DWI and failing to stop and render aid.

Get an Experienced Austin DWI Attorney On Your Side

If you’ve been arrested for DWI, or, like in this case, also accused of injuring someone, get an experienced Austin DWI attorney on your side. A DWI arrest is very, very serious, as is an accusation of injuring someone, so hiring legal representation is absolutely necessary.

Knowing your rights is key if you get arrested for an Austin DWI. Tell the police officer that you respectfully decline to provide any answers until you are able to consult with Kyle Lowe, you Austin DWI attorney.

Austin DWI Attorney Kyle Lowe

Austin DWI attorney Kyle Lowe has years of experience handling DWI cases in Austin. He knows how serious a DWI arrest is, and how it can be on your driving record for the rest of your life. If you’ve been arrested for an Austin DWI, it’s imperatve that you get Austin DWI attorney Kyle Lowe on your side. Contact him today for a free case evaluation.

Austin DWI Update: APD’s ‘No Refusal’ Policy

February 4th, 2009 by Kyle Lowe

While football fans were done watching the big game and out celebrating — or not, depending on who they were rooting for — the Steelers’ win on Sunday night, Austin Police Department officers were watching for drunk drivers.

From 9pm on Sunday until Monday at 5am, APD’s “No Refusal” policy made it so that drivers could not give “no” for an answer when they were pulled over for a suspected DWI in Austin. This meant, essentially, that if a driver said “no” to a breathalyzer test, Austin police officers would get a warrant for their blood.

Austin DWI blood draws are controversial: many are firmly against them, while others believe they’re a necessary step to keep drunk drivers off Austin streets. Plus, in court Austin DWI blood draws help prove whether a driver was intoxicated.

This isn’t the first time the Austin Police Department has instituted the “No Refusal” policy/Austin DWI blood draws. They’ve done it two times previously.

If you’re pulled over for an Austin DWI, you simply must know your rights.  Provide the Austin DWI officer with your driver’s license and proof of insurance, and be sure not to give any incriminating information. If the officer asks you any incriminating questions, be polite but firm in saying that you respectfully decline to answer any questions until you consult with your Austin DWI attorney, Kyle Lowe.

Austin DWI offenses are very serious, and they can be on your driving record for the rest of your life. If you have an Austin DWI offense, it’s imperative that you hire an experienced, competent Austin DWI attorney like Kyle Lowe to be on your side.