Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
In Texas, driving while intoxicated is a serious crime with severe long-term consequences. As soon as you’re arrested for driving while intoxicated, call DWI defense lawyer Craig Dameron, so he can advise you appropriately, build your defense, and secure your driver’s license.
The phrase “driving while intoxicated” or DWI, is used to refer to a driver who has lost the normal mental and physical means to drive because they have alcohol/drug or a combination of both in their system. An intoxicated driver will have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams of alcohol per 201 liters of breath,100 milliliters of blood, or 67 milliliters of urine. Many factors affect your body’s capability to handle alcohol including gender, age, the number of drinks consumed, the amount of food taken and even your body weight.
DWI investigations are conducted in three phases: vehicle in motion, personal contact and pre-arrest screening. Personal contact ensues once you speak with the police officer. This phase determines the officer’s initial judgment of you and will also decide whether you’ll need the services of a DWI defense attorney or not.
Right from the get-go, a police officer is trained to consider everything you do. For example, an officer will consider how you look, the odor of an alcoholic beverage, movements, fumbling with your license or insurance, among other actions. The police have been well trained to build a case against you from the moment they step up to your car.
Bloodshot eyes and Slurred speech
Bloodshot eyes are often used as a tell-tale sign that you’ve had one too many, but more commonly can be caused by a medical reason, allergies, or simply lack of sleep. Slurred speech is often exaggerated. If the officer wrote that your speech was slurred but the video suggests otherwise, it could do a lot of damage to the credibility of the officer. Give the officer your license and insurance but admit nothing. You are not obliged to provide a reason for being out so late or how much you’ve been drinking. Many people talk too much, this gives the officer more information to use against you.
Pre-arresting is the third and final phase. If the officer observes some indicators that you were driving while intoxicated, they’re going to ask you to get out of the vehicle. This where you’ll perform a series of circus tricks called the standardized field sobriety tests. They are not only difficult to do when you’re sober, but they are designed to be difficult. Below are the three standardized field sobriety tests:
- The One-leg Stand
- The Walk and Turn
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
The officer will ask you to do them at a slight distance in front of his car. Be advised that this is the field of view of his/her dashboard camera and they will be making a video/audio recording of you. Also, be aware that most police departments in Tarrant County have issued body cameras to their officers, so you may also be recorded even when not in front of their police vehicle.
It is a known fact that balancing on one leg is difficult for many people to do sober, especially under blinding police lights and paralyzing tension. Everyone is nervous when pulled over by a police officer, especially when asked to step out of the car. Many officers may mistake your nervousness as intoxication. It is therefore pertinent that you get a good attorney that understands the science of lab analysis and the weaknesses that can be exploited there. The lab analyst will testify against you and you need a skilled attorney to attack those results and damage the state’s case.
Breath and Blood Test
The DIC-24 is a document that explains what happens to your driver’s license if you refuse to provide a sample or if you provide a sample over .08 following a DWI arrest. For a first time DWI, if you refuse to provide a sample, the DPS will want to suspend your license for 180 days. If you provide a sample over .08, the DPS will want to suspend your license for 90 days. If you are arrested for a subsequent DWI, the DPS will want to possibly suspend your license for one year for providing a sample over .08 or two years for refusing to provide a sample. The suspension will begin in 40 days after your arrest unless a license hearing is requested. Once the Administrative License hearing is requested, your temporary driving permit is valid until the Administrative Law Judge issues a decision in your case. If the DPS is authorized to suspend your license, we can petition for an Occupational Driver’s License.
Just about everyone has heard about no refusal weekends. No refusal weekends are times when the police will obtain a search warrant to take blood from an individual who is arrested for DWI and refuses to provide a sample. In Tarrant County, every day is a no refusal weekend. Most police departments in the Tarrant County are set up to obtain a search warrant on a suspected DWI subject any day of the week.
The consequences of a DWI conviction in Texas can be life-changing. You might face possible jail time, probation, driver’s license suspension, insurance rates increase, surcharges and other fees from the DPS, and even jeopardize future job possibilities. Penalties for a DWI are very serious and vary greatly depending on the facts of your case.
A first time DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. The range of punishment on a Class B misdemeanor DWI is 3-180 days in jail and up to a $2000.00 fine. If you are placed on probation, then you will have to pay probation fees in the amount of $60 per month and see a probation officer one time a month. The standard Tarrant County DWI probation requirements include but not limited to the DWI Education Programs, a substance abuse evaluation that may result in additional counseling, A Mother Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel, and community service hours. Other requirements may require the interlock device installed on your vehicle or even time in jail.
First DWI .15 or higher
If it is determined that you provided a sample over .15 you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty is very similar to a first time DWI, but many courts require you to have an interlock device on your vehicle as a condition of bond. If you are placed on probation, the interlock will be required for at least half the time of probation.
Second DWI conviction
If it’s a second DWI arrest, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, with the potential punishment range of 30 days in jail up to one year. The interlock will be a condition of your bond and will be a condition of any punishment. A second DWI arrest has extremely serious consequences in Tarrant County, Texas.
Third DWI conviction
A third DWI offense means you’ll be charged as a third-degree felony. The range of punishment on a third-degree felony is two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
If you live in Tarrant County, you need an experienced attorney familiar with the DWI process in Tarrant County. If you have been arrested, don’t wait to call. We need to request a hearing to contest the driver’s license suspension within 15 days from the date of your arrest.
Contact reputable Fort Worth DWI attorney Craig Dameron.