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DWI FAQ

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I got arrested for DWI, What happens now?

Quickly find a DWI lawyer you like and trust. You have 15 days from the date of your arrest to begin to fight to save your driver’s license – if that deadline is missed, your license will automatically be suspended.

Can I get a DWI off my record?

No. A conviction for DWI will always be there. To get this arrest off your record you need a dismissal, reduction to a lesser charge, or a “Not Guilty” verdict.

Am I going back to jail?

Possibly. The answer to this question very much depends on the facts of your case and the way things end up. Talking with a qualified DWI attorney will clear up the questions you have, and alert you to potential pitfalls that are ahead.

I plan to plead guilty, why do I need to hire a lawyer?

Even if you want to plead guilty, you will want to get the best deal possible. Further, you need to be sure that every stone has been turned over and every option checked before you make a decision like pleading guilty.

Why did the Cops give me a “DIC-25”? What is it?

This is your temporary driver’s license. You will be able to drive with this form as your license, unless and until DPS revokes your driver’s license as a result of an Administrative License Revocation (ALR). To contest the ALR, you need to get an attorney within 15 days of your arrest.

Does a DWI arrest start a Civil case also?

Yes. A DWI arrest triggers two cases: (1) a criminal case, and (2) a civil case. The civil case is an effort to revoke your driver’s license. Both cases can result in separate or overlapping suspensions of your driver’s license.

What happens if I don’t get a lawyer within 15 days?

Unless you have contacted the Department of Public Safety and requested a hearing on the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) case, your license will be suspended for either 90 days, 180 days or two years – depending on the facts of the case.

What is an ALR hearing, and why do I need a lawyer?

An ALR (Administrative License Revocation) hearing is a Court proceeding where a DPS (Department of Public Safety) Prosecutor presents the facts of your case to a Judge and requests that the Judge revoke your license. You can represent yourself in this hearing; however, it will be extremely difficult to win without knowing the rules of evidence, the burden of the Prosecutor, the elements she/ he must prove, and how to contest whether or not the Prosecutor has adequately proven the case. The biggest reason to have a lawyer is not necessarily to try and save the license, but to get a free opportunity to depose the Police Officer that arrested you. This opportunity can, and sometimes does, result in killing the criminal DWI case before we ever go to court on it.

What are the "usual" probation conditions?

To learn more click here.

What "special conditions" go with being on bond for DWI?

This is up to each Judge. Generally, a Judge will require you to have an ignition interlock on any vehicle you drive. In extreme cases a Judge may require to you wear an ankle monitor called a SCRAM device that will continually monitor for alcohol consumption.

Will I have to get a breath test device on my car?

Yes. While on bond for DWI you will have to get a breath test device on your car. Additionally, if you are on probation for DWI there is a very good chance the Judge will order you to have one. We can sometimes avoid this requirement, and will do everything possible to do so in your case – if the facts present that opportunity.

How much will all of this cost me?

Much of the cost of a DWI comes from the conviction. If convicted, you will be ordered to pay the court costs and a fine. If you are placed on probation, you will be made to pay a supervisory fee ($30 – 60/ month), fees for Court ordered classes, and fees for chemical testing in your case. If there was an accident, you will be required to pay for the damages (both to the vehicle and the person(s) involved). DPS will also add a “surcharge” to your license, which will be $1000 – $2000 per year for 3 years. You will also be required to file an “SR-22” policy of insurance for two years: $3000. Also, you should expect an increase in your auto insurance rates. Finally, there is the cost of lost time at work, travel expenses, repayment of appointed attorney’s fees, bonding fee and paying to meet conditions of bond (interlock device, etc).
In short, the cost of hiring a DWI lawyer is not only just a fraction of the total cost, it can be the one portion that makes everything else go away.

How should I choose a lawyer?

To learn more, click here.

Will they "reduce" a DWI charge to reckless driving?

That depends. Each jurisdiction is different and each has a specific way that they handle DWI cases. Further, it also depends on the facts of your case in assessing what determination the Prosecutor will make.

What if they never "read me my rights"?

This is common in DWI cases. Depending on the facts of your case, some of your answers to the Officer’s questions may not be admissible in Court. The answer to this question turns on exactly what happened when the police arrested you.

What if this is my 2nd DWI arrest?

You will likely be charged as a DWI second offender. Because of the stepped up punishments for a second offense, and the potential exposure if you were to be charged with DWI 3rd in the future, you want to be very selective in hiring your attorney. To learn more about DWI 2nd, click here.

How long will a DWI stay on my record?

A DWI conviction will always be on your record.

Can I "expunge" my DWI?

No. A conviction for DWI cannot be expunged. However, a DWI can be expunged if the case results in an acquittal or dismissal under certain circumstances.

Why should I hire a "local" attorney to represent me?

There is an old saying: “Law is local”. The idea is that lawyers (here Judges and Prosecutors) are most comfortable with lawyers they know and trust. This matters to you, because when there is an issue that is a close call in your case, you will want the decision maker to give full faith and credit to your lawyer.

I would not take a breath or blood test. Is my license suspended?

It will be suspended 40 days after your arrest, unless you request a hearing within 15 days of your arrest.

I failed the breath test. Is my license suspended?

It will be suspended 40 days after your arrest, unless you request a hearing within 15 days of your arrest.

I took a blood test. Is my license suspended?

After the blood is tested (which can be up to 90 days), you will get a letter in the mail that says your BAC was over .08 and your license has been suspended. You will not get a letter in the mail if your license is not suspended. The letter will be sent to the address on your license.

Can you get my case dismissed?

It is possible, but unlikely. Criminal cases rarely get dismissed. Typically they only get dismissed because something was done improperly, or a material witness has become unavailable. While dismissal is the goal, this cannot be done in most cases – but it does happen. Each case is vastly different, and requires its own analysis.

What is an "Occupational License"?

An occupational license is a Court ordered driver’s license that allows a person on bond to drive to and from work, school, home, etc. Typically, an ignition interlock device is going to be required for an occupational license to be granted.

What is an "SR-22"?

A form we will get from your auto insurance company that proves you have the necessary insurance. This form must be submitted with the request for an occupational driver’s license. Also, this form must be filed with DPS for 2 years following a conviction for DWI.

What must be proven for me to be convicted of DWI?

To learn more, click here.

What are the penalties for DWI in Texas?

To learn more, click here.

What if I have a prior DWI?

To learn more, click here.

How long can a prior DWI be used against me?

A prior DWI conviction(s) can be used against you for the rest of your life. Further, if you have two prior DWIs and then are charged with an Intoxication Manslaughter, it will almost certainly be made a felony murder (which increases the punishment range from a maximum of 20 years to a maximum of life).

How long does it take to fight a DWI case?

Generally speaking, anywhere from 6 – 18 months. It can be faster, it can be longer, but most cases are resolved in that window.

How do I decide if I want to fight my DWI?

To learn more, click here.