D.W.I. Criminal Defense

Defending the D.W.I. case is a multi-step process that begins at “probable cause.” Each step in the process causes the case to turn in either a positive or negative manner. The following outline provides a comprehensive discussion of the process. It does not address every facet of the D.W.I. case but it does address each major turning point.

1.   Probable Cause for a stop. For a police officer to stop you, there must be some probable cause. Some articulatible reason for the stop. More often than not it is some traffic violation causes the stop. This is a good stop. Furthermore, if police believe that a crime has been committed or is in the process of being committed, they have the right to detain you further in order to complete their investigation.

  • Rude belligerent attitude doesn’t help but gets you arrested.
  • You do have to get out of your car if asked.
  • You do not have to do field sobriety tests.
  • You do not have to talk with police officers.
  • You do not have to walk any red lines in the station house.
  • You do not have to read about the Mockingbird in the station house.
  • You do not have to blow into a machine.

2.   Arrest. If the police officer believes that he or she has enough evidence to make a DWI charge, then the officer will arrest and transport you to either their station house or the county jail for further tests. It is here where they conduct further testing and the breathalyzer.

3.   Breathalyzer. You do not have to take the breathalyzer. You do not have constitutional right, but you do have a statutory right to refuse. If you refuse, you will deny the prosecution and the state vital evidence to their case. A very good idea. If you refuse, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended and the officers will confiscate the license. However, they will give you a temporary license, a paper license, that is good for 45 days.

4.   Driver’s License Suspension. Since you, hopefully, refused the breathalyzer, your drivers license will be suspended. You must petition the court to grant you an “Occupational License” which will allow you to drive during the suspension period. This requires the filing of a Petition for Occupational License, hearing on Occupational License, and Order Granting Occupational License. Further, an occupational license fee of $25.00 must be paid to the Texas Department of Transportation. At the end of your suspension period, the department will return to you your license upon payment of the reinstatement fee of $125.00.

5.   Administrative License Revocation Hearing. Because you refused to “blow,” you have a right to request an Administrative License Revocation Hearing which must be done within 15 days of your arrest. We advise that you should always request the ALR hearing. Criminal cases do not enjoy the “discovery” powers that civil cases do. There are no interrogatories, request for admissions, or depositions is a criminal matter. However, since an A.L.R. hearing is civil in nature, there is the power to subpoena the police officer to the hearing. This is an opportunity for you to question the police officer as to the reasons he made the stop, and to test his knowledge with regards to field sobriety testing. Further, the District Attorney is not present and is not available to “prep the witness.” Requesting an A.L.R. hearing increases the cost of your D.W.I. defense but it is a good idea.

6.   Investigation. Administrative License Revocation, copy the breathalyzer room tape, examination of the scene of arrest, interviewing your witnesses, reviewing the police report, etc. are all part of a complete investigation of your Driving While Intoxicated Defenses. If you have a good defense, then we recommend a jury trial. Investigation is part of getting prepared.

7.   Plea. If you have a good tape (assuming you walked the line), it is possible to reduce the DWI charge to Obstruction of a Highway.  Obstruction of a Highway charge is still a Class B misdemeanor but deferred adjudication is an option (unlike a DWI).   Deferred adjudication means that the court will not enter a finding of guilt.  After a period of probation, the obstruction of a highway charge will be dismissed and your record will only show deferred adjudication or no finding of guilt. If the D.A. will not recommend a plea reduction, you can still plea to the DWI.  Although several counties have the “standard deal,”  we have successfully reduced the probationary periods and fines.   In Dallas County, the standard plea is (1) no deferred adjudication, (2) 6 months in jail probated for 2 years, (3) fine, (4) court costs, and other court imposed probationary requirements including payment to crime stoppers, drug and alcohol awareness, and community service among other items.  Note:  Deferred Adjudication is not an option for DWI.  

8. Trial. If you wish to try the cause, we will try it before the jury. The jury will either render a not guilty verdict or guilty if the government proves their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If found guilty, punishment is usually assessed in the same manner as a straight up plea. If you are found not guilty, you are entitled to have your criminal records expunged. All documents relating to your arrest will be destroyed.

9.   Expungement of Criminal Records. If not guilty, have the records expunged. Remove the alcohol related contact from your driving record. Further, you do not want any subsequent D.W.I charge or other criminal matter to reflect this charge.

10.  Attorney’s Fees and Costs. Payment plans are available. We understand, you have to employ an attorney for your DWI defense (note: everyone has a right to represent themselves in a court of law – not a good idea) and attorneys are expensive.  One mistake, wrong place at the wrong time and now you are looking at a tab. That is why we take payment plans, Mastercard, and Visa.