Frequently Asked DWI Questions
Answered by Our Dallas DWI Lawyers
The Dallas DWI attorneys at Hamilton Grant PC are backed by over 25 years of combined experience handling cases just like yours. Take a look at our answers to the most frequently asked questions surrounding DWI charges. For further information, reach out to our aggressive team of DWI lawyers today.
Call (214) 225-7117 right away to discuss the details of your case. Our lawyers also represent clients in Fort Worth, Denton, Austin, McKinney, Collin County, and throughout northern Texas.
The police took my driver's license. Is my license now suspended?
No. You have 15 days from the day you are served your Notice of Suspension to request a hearing regarding your driver's license (called an ALR hearing). If you do not request a hearing, your license will be suspended on the 40th day after Notice of Suspension is served. If you consented to a blood draw, the police will not normally take your driver's license. Notice of Suspension will be mailed to you if DPS receives a blood test result of .08 or greater. You only have 10 days to request a hearing once you receive a Notice of Suspension letter from DPS.
I was ordered to install a deep lung device (DLD) on my car as a condition of bond. What do I have to do and is that my only option?
In certain circumstances a DLD may be required while your case is pending. There may be alternatives that would work for you that a skillful and competent attorney from our firm can discuss with you.
What happens with a first DWI in Texas?
If you've been accused of driving while intoxicated, you will go through administrative and criminal processes. The administrative process is to determine whether your driver's license should be suspended and is not concerned with your guilt or innocence. If the Department of Public Safety determines that you were lawfully arrested and refused or failed a chemical test, your driver's license may be suspended for 180 days (for refusing) or 90 days (for failing).
The administrative penalties are separate from the criminal punishments you could face. Upon a conviction for a first-time DWI, you may be fined up to $2,000, incarcerated for 3 to 180 days, and/or lose your driving privileges for up to 1 year.
How bad is a second DWI?
If you were charged with a second DWI, the potential penalties you may face substantially increase.
First, if you refused or failed the chemical test, you may face a lengthier administrative driver's license suspension – the one imposed by the Department of Public Safety before your case is completed. The first time you refuse a blood or breath test, you may lose your driving privileges for 180 days. But the second time you do so, you'll be without your driver's license for 2 years. If you failed the chemical test (meaning you had an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher) within 10 years of a prior refusal or failure, the administrative driver's license suspension jumps from 90 days to 1 year.
And those are just the administrative penalties. If you're found guilty of a second DWI offense, you also face harsher criminal punishments. A first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor with a minimum term of confinement of 3 days and a maximum of 180 days, a fine of up to $2,000, and/or a driver's license suspension for up to 1 year. A second offense is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a minimum jail term of 1 month and a maximum of 1 year, a fine of up to $4,000, and/or a driver's license suspension of up to 2 years.
How long will a criminal case last?
There are many factors that determine how long a case will last. Cases that are on the trial docket will take longer to resolve. The majority of our DWI cases are resolved within six months to one year in Collin County and eight months to two years in Dallas County.
Will I go to prison or jail for a DWI conviction?
The punishment will vary depending upon the circumstances of your case and whether this is your first, second or subsequent offense. By working with a defense lawyer and fighting your charges, you have the chance to avoid a conviction and therefore keep your freedom.
What is the first thing I need to do after a DWI arrest?
Because a lot is at stake in a DWI case, there are certain actions you should take immediately to help protect your rights, future, and driving privileges.
First, exercise your right to remain silent. As with any criminal matter, whatever you say or do at the beginning of your case can have substantial impacts on the outcome.
Next, contact a skilled attorney to discuss your situation and legal options. With a thorough understanding of everything that happened from your stop to the charges being filed, your lawyer can determine what defenses can be mounted and what steps to take to resolve your case.
Then, request an Administrative License Revocation hearing. Your attorney can also represent you at this proceeding and fight hard to contest the suspension of your driver's license.
Finally, work closely with your attorney to aggressively challenge the drunk driving accusation.
How can an attorney help me?
An attorney can begin working to protect your rights and interests by challenging the prosecution's case and the evidence against you. This may include challenging field sobriety test results, breath test results or blood tests results. An attorney's representation would also include presence at any and all court appearances, including trial.
Why did they give me a refusal if I blew into a breath test machine?
If a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, they may ask you to blow into a portable breath test machine. They may have you provide multiple samples on the roadside before arresting you for the offense. Note that this Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) is not the one drivers must take under the implied consent law. The PAS essentially serves as a way for the officer to establish probable cause for your arrest. You can refuse this initial screening without facing administrative consequences.
After you've been lawfully arrested, the officer might ask you to submit to another breath test. You are required to take this test. However, believing that you had already satisfied the testing requirement when you blew into the machine on the side of the road, you might refuse to provide another breath sample. This refusal may lead to the suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days.
Do I need to go to the DMV?
If you've been arrested for DWI and you refuse or fail a chemical test, you face an immediate driver's license suspension by the Department of Public Safety. To contest this action, you must request an Administrative License Revocation hearing. Depending on whether the arresting officer confiscated your driver's license on the spot or you received a notice in the mail of your driver's license suspension, you have 15 or 20 days to request the hearing. If you do not, the loss of your driving privileges will take effect 40 days after you were notified of the suspension.
However, if you do request the hearing, you can present your case in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to fight to maintain your driving privileges. If the ALJ sides with you, you may keep your driver's license. However, if they determine that the Department of Public Safety proved the case, your driver's license suspension will be upheld.
Can a lawyer represent me at my ALR hearing?
Yes. Your lawyer can contact the Department of Public Safety to schedule your administrative license revocation hearing (ALR hearing) and can represent you at your hearing in order to help you reach a better outcome. Your driving privileges are extremely important, and a skilled lawyer's representation at your hearing may help you keep them.
What are some penalties associated with a Texas DWI conviction?
Specific penalties may vary, but in general a defendant may expect to face: imprisonment, probation, community service, driver's license suspension, fines, surcharges and more.
Can a DWI conviction on my record affect my ability to find employment?
It is highly probable that having a DWI conviction on your criminal record will mean that you may have difficulty finding employment. When a potential employer conducts a pre-employment background search, your DWI conviction will show up. Many employers do not like to hire employees who have criminal records.
Contact our Dallas DWI lawyers today to learn how we can help you.