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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 ‘driving while intoxicated’

Austin DWI Attorney, Kyle Lowe, back on track with another DWI Acquittal

December 21st, 2010 by Kyle Lowe

After June brought a guilty verdict, Austin DWI Defense Attorney, Kyle Lowe restarted his win streak with another DWI acquittal in August.  His client was acquitted in Travis County Court of Law #7, Honorable Elisabeth Earle presiding.  Client was originally arrested for DWI in Travis County following a stop for Speeding on 6th Street.  Austin Police Department officers testified that from their stationary position near Whole Foods Market at 6th and Lamar, they clocked said client going 40 mph in a 30 mph zone.  The police officers went on to testify the following additional indicators of intoxication:  when stopped, a request was made for the client’s TX Drivers License at which time the client handed them a credit card; the officers reported that the client had low, thick-tongued speech, was slow to respond to questions, admitted drinking at least 3 beers and did not know the exact time of day.  During the field sobriety tests, officers testified that the client had 4 of 6 indicators on the HGN eye test, could not keep his balance while being instructed to do the walk and turn test, then, while performing the walk and turn, he missed the heel to toe motions, took 8 steps instead of the instructed 9 and turned incorrectly.  Further evidence offered by the officers was that the client had a delayed estimation of time during the Rhomberg balance test and, while performing the one-leg stand test, he swayed, used his arms for balance and put his foot down one time.

Under cross-examination, the Austin police officers revealed that they were conflicted as to whether the speed limit in the area the client was clocked was actually 30 or 35 mph.  Further testimony revealed that since it was actually a 35 mph zone that the client was clocked in, the officers would not have stopped someone unless they were exceeding the speed limit by 10 miles.  Additional cross examination led one of the officers to state that, although he was sure the client was driving while intoxicated, since the client exhibited only 4 of the 6 indicators on the HGN, there was a strong possibility that the client could have been below the .08 standard for intoxication as set forth by the NHTSA.  Further cross examination of the officer revealed that the client as well as many others who are not ultimately arrested for DWI walk 8 steps instead of 9 on the walk and turn portion of the testing.  Additionally, the officer testified that the client did fairly well on the walk and turn test as well as the one-leg stand.  Upon further questioning, one of the officers became noticeably frustrated with the questioning by Kyle Lowe.  The officer began turning red-faced with anger and became verbally aggressive and evasive while on the stand.  Following the officer’s testimony, the client then took the witness stand as did the client’s friend who had witnessed said client’s drinking that evening.  Following this testimony, the defense rested.

After 3 hours of deliberation and two and a half days of testimony, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of NOT GUILTY.

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.

How an Austin DWI Attorney Can Help You

January 26th, 2009 by Kyle Lowe

So you’re in Austin, Texas, you’ve been arrested and now you have a DWI on your record. You may have been told that the penalties for that DWI offense are going to stay with you forever. So how can an Austin DWI attorney help you?

First things first: An Austin DWI will in fact be on your record forever. What’s more is that it will have an effect on your insurance rates. However, by hiring the right Austin DWI attorney, those penalties could be wiped away.

A first Austin DWI offense can include the following penalties:

  • 72 hours to 180 days in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 1 year
  • A fine of up to $2,000

If you get a second Austin DWI offense, here’s what you’re looking at:

  • 30 days to 1 year in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to two years
  • A fine of up to $4,000

And a third Austin DWI offense can result in these penalties:

  • Two to 10 years in the state penitentiary
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to two years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

While these penalties are steep and underscore the danger of driving while intoxicated, an Austin DWI attorney realizes that every person is entitled to their day in court. A good Austin DWI attorney can work to minimize these penalties.

An Austin DWI attorney can undoubtedly help you, especially since it may feel overwhelming after you’ve gotten a DWI. Having someone on your side who will listen to you and fight for your rights is very important. If you have a DWI, don’t hesitate to contact experienced Austin DWI attorney Kyle Lowe for a free case evaluation.