If You Have Been Arrested for Driving While Intoxicated . . .
I. So What Happened to You?
If you were recently arrested for DWI, you were probably pulled over by an officer who claimed you were driving poorly and asked for your driver's license and insurance. After smelling alcohol (they always say they smelled alcohol), he asked you to do a series of field sobriety tests. The most common ones or the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (the officer made you look forward while moving a pen back and forth in front of your face), the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test. Despite the fact that the officer had no idea how you would normally perform those tests, he demanded perfection from you. Failing to be perfect probably led to your arrest for DWI, and the whole incident may have been videotaped by an in car camera. More than likely, you were then taken to the Wise County Jail (or the appropriate jail for the county of the arrest). It is possible that you again performed the field sobriety tests and were videotaped while you did so. Probably, you were also read a very confusing warning. This warning, called a DIC-24, told you, in a very convoluted way, that your driver's license "will be suspended" for not less than 180 days if you fail to provide a sample of your breath for analysis and for not less than 90 days if you provide a breath sample that is determined to have an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater. Depending on you decision, you then blew two times into a machine (its called the Intoxilyzer 5000) which attempts to measure the alcohol level of your breath. Assuming your detention continued, you spent the night in jail until the following morning when a judge came, read you some rights, and set a bond amount. More likely than not you contacted a bonding company and you were released.
It was a miserable experience.
II. So What Happens Now?
There are two separate procedures that are going on. One is the criminal case for DWI that will be referred to the County Attorney's office. (If you had two prior convictions for DWI, the case becomes a felony and would be referred to the District Attorney's office.) First time DWI is a Class B misdemeanor and carries with it a range of punishment up to 180 days in the Wise County Jail and up to a $2,000 fine. The second procedure that is ongoing involves your driver's license. Make no mistake about it: if you do nothing your license will be suspended by DPS if you refused to take a breath test or if you took the test and failed it. This suspension normally takes place on the 40th day after your arrest. To see the cover page from a recent article in the Texas Bar Journal discussing the unfairness of the driver's license hearing, click here.
III. What Can We Do For You?
Our representation involves a defense for both the driver's license
suspension and the criminal case.
We will file a notice to contest the suspension of your license, obtain copies of the police report, and attend the suspension hearing which, normally, takes place in Fort Worth. If we deem it necessary, we will also subpoena the arresting officer to attend that hearing so we can learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the case. In the event you license is suspended, we will file the appropriate paperwork to obtain for you an "essential needs" license that will allow you to drive, in a limited capacity and if you qualify, during the suspension period.
Concerning the criminal case, we will analysis the facts to determine the merits of the case. If we believe there is a reasonable possibility that your initial stop or arrest was illegal based upon the law, we will file a Motion to Suppress in order to get some, or all, of the evidence thrown out of court. We will also attend all hearings and negotiate with the prosecutor in an effort to obtain a satisfactory result. If necessary, we will try the case to a jury so that an impartial group of people can review the police officer's decision. (A list of some favorable jury verdicts is located here). Every case, of course, is different.
As a final note, the stakes of a DWI conviction became greatly increased in 2003. For any DWI arrest after that date that
leads to a conviction (even probation), DPS will impose a minimum fee of
$1,000 per year for three years in order for the individual convicted to
keep his driver's license. This is in addition to any fees and fines
associated with the criminal case!