Have you been arrested for DWI in Fort Worth or somewhere else in Tarrant, Dallas, Parker, or any other County in Texas? Perhaps someone who is close to you has been arrested for DWI? No doubt you are very concerned and alarmed. You are looking for answers. You need a plan that will arm you with peace of mind. Maybe you just got out of jail? Maybe a loved one is still in jail and you are trying to get them out? Getting a DWI is a terrifying ordeal that can have serious consequences. However, the main thing about a person's first DWI is the fear and uncertainty that accompanies the arrest. Many people who were recently arrested for DWI cannot fully comprehend exactly what happened. My main goal at this stage when a potential client calls me and explains to me that they got arrested for DWI is to ease their minds as much as possible by helping them understand the process. If you that person then decides to hire me to be their lawyer, my goal is to fight hard to obtain the best possible result. I take the representation of my clients very seriously. This page explains some of the most common questions that people ask me when I first speak to them.
What is Going to Happen?
The DWI Process can be a long road. If you have just been arrested, you probably don't feel very optimistic about your situation. Without doubt, being in jail can be a trying, troubling ordeal. You need the perspective that comes with having your questions answered. If you call my office, we can talk. If you want, we can sit down and I will answer all of your questions. There are many aspects and many moving parts to a DWI charge. Especially since you have not been through it before, and you probably have not had any contact with the criminal justice system at all. I am very sensitive to that reality. I know that you probably don't have any idea what will happen. I will sit down and explain everything to you clearly and patiently. We can sit down and discuss your situation for as long as you like. Much of the time, after people sit down with me and we discuss the situation, they feel much better about everything when they have a better idea how things will progress. I provide free and confidential case evaluations, and I can help you develop a plan for your defense. Here are some questions that clients ask me regularly:
- What will a conviction mean?
- What about jail?
- What will happen to your driver’s license?
- What about probation?
- I took a breath test, what does that mean?
- I took a blood test, what does that mean?
- Will I lose my job?
- What will I tell my employer?
- Will this stay on my record?
- How much does it cost?
What Will a Conviction Mean?
First of all, my primary goal in representing someone on a first time DWI is to avoid a conviction. A conviction occurs when a person pleas guilty or goes to jury trial and loses. There are many reasons for this. A DWI conviction is something that can never come off of your record, and it does not matter how much time has passed. Many charges allow for expunction or non-disclosure after a certain time has passed, but not for DWI. This is an unfortunate reality. Furthermore, once you get one DWI, the next one will be a second DWI. Hopefully it never comes to that and it will not for the vast majority of people. However, that is also a reality. Even though it’s a first time offense, the penalties for a first DWI can be serious. DWI is either a Class B or a Class A misdemeanor. A Class B misdemeanor means that the range of punishment is between 72 hours and 180 days in a county jail facility. If you are facing a Class A misdemeanor, that means that the range of punishment is up to one year. Keep in mind these are the maximum times.
What About Jail Time?
If you get convicted, probation is available for you. Probation is discussed more in depth below. If you were arrested, you have done either one or two days in jail. As is discussed above, the range of punishment on a Class B has a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and on a Class A is up to one year in jail. On a first time DWI, I feel confident that I can keep you from doing any more jail time than you already have.
What Will Happen to Your Driver's License?
When I get a new DWI client, the first step in the process is always to request the driver's license hearing. This is because there is a 15 day window in which the hearing can be requested. Once the hearing is requested, the suspension will be delayed until the hearing can take place. The license hearing is not something that my clients attend. The purpose of the hearing is to challenge the basis for the suspension. On a first DWI, the suspension can be either three months or six months. If you consented to a breath or a blood test and it came back above a 0.08 BAC, you will be looking at a three month suspension. If you refuse to take a test, you will be potentially looking at a six month suspension. This is regardless of whether or not the test is higher or lower than 0.08 BAC. If you do refuse, it is very likely that police will get your blood sample anyway. However, they have to get a warrant to do this. If you do lose your driver's license, we can get you an Occupational Driver's License so you can travel to work and for other necessities.
What About Fines?
There are fines and administrative fees that could be up to $2,000. Surcharge fees to get your driver’s license back could be $1,000 per year for three years. And that surcharge doubles if your BAC is 0.16% or higher. You will also be facing probation and higher insurance rates. You may be facing the cost of installing an interlock device on your car. A conviction will remain on your driving record, possibly affecting your job, or your prospects of getting a job.
The Right DWI Lawyer will Fight to Prevent a First Time DWI Texas Conviction
There are many ways to attack the case against you. You can attack the breath test, the police report, and other aspects of your case. It is possible to keep a conviction off of your record, or get the charges against you reduced.