In Austin, as in Houston, police officers have an extra incentive to make DWI arrests: time they spend in court counts as overtime. Therefore, even if a police officer charges you with DWI and you are acquitted, they still make extra money just by showing up. In some cases, officers are making more than their yearly salary in overtime pay alone.
Defense strategy or unnecessary conviction?
Now, this overtime incentive is being used by some as a defense strategy to explain why an officer might have made a particular arrest in the first place. But in cases where a charged person's legal defense is not strong or nonexistent, an officer's impulse to make more money could end in a damaging conviction.
Showing up for the hearing
Someone who challenges a DWI charge can see their charges dismissed if a police officer fails to show up for their hearing. Therefore, technically it's in a defendant's interest if the police officer doesn't show up. But is a financial incentive the best way to encourage police officers to show up for these hearings? At what point does an incentive to show up become an incentive to make frivolous arrests for the overtime pay?
If you've been charged with DWI, you don't need to accept the harshest consequences of the charge, and you shouldn't be charged so someone has a little extra spending money for the holidays. DWI is a serious charge that can have lasting negative effects on your life if not handled by a seasoned criminal defense attorney who knows their way around such cases.
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