DWI Driving While Intoxicated Criminal Defense

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

DWI and Criminal Defense

We Can Help You.

Being accused of a DWI is terrible on so many levels.  If you are reading this, then you are probably still trying to get over the shock of everything that just happened to you.   Getting pulled over and arrested, and taken to jail is pretty unsettling to say the least.  It's kind of traumatic.  Most people feel worried, or scared, or angry, or ashamed.  That's pretty normal.    All you can do now, is try to get through it,  and we can help you with that.  


It is a long, hard, complicated process.  We will keep you on track and we will guide you through it every step of the way.  You will know everything that is happening with your case.   You won't feel lost, and you won't have to worry about what to do next.  


If you are like most people who have been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated, then you probably have a TON of questions.   After we meet in person, you'll have a lot less anxiety because you'll know the process, and you'll know what to expect.    You'll know your options.  You'll know all of the benefits and consequences of each of those options.   You will not leave our office with questions about your case, I assure you.   


For those of you who want answers now, below are answers to some of the most common DWI questions that our clients ask us.   Plain language.  No Statutes.  No legal jargon.  No BS.   


These answers are not intended to be comprehensive, and the list is certainly not exhaustive.  Every case is different.  However, this will help you have a more informed conversation with any attorney you visit with.  When we have a chance to speak with you in person about your DWI, we will go over each of these in much more detail.  



WHAT HAPPENS AT THE BOND HEARING?

If we arranged your release with a Writ Bond, then you will have a bond hearing the "Monday after next" from the time you were arrested.  The fee you paid us to file the writ and arrange your release also covers our appearance with you at this hearing.  


A writ allows a bond to be set without you having to wait for a judge to set a bond.  This is the fastest possible way to be released from jail.  However, the judge still must have his opportunity to set your conditions of bond.  Basically, this hearing is for the judge to determine whether or not you will be required to have a deep lung device (breathalyzer) installed in your vehicle.  


The judge has some discretion, and every judge handles these hearings differently, but in many cases, the device is statutorily required.  For example, if this is a second offense, or if there was an accident, then the judge will order the device.  There are other reasons the judge could order it.  We can let you know more when we meet and talk about the facts of your case.



WILL MY DRIVERS LICENSE BE SUSPENDED?

Probably....but don't freak out.  We'll keep you driving legally.  


You have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing with the DPS.   If no hearing is requested, then your license will automatically be suspended 40 days after your arrest.   If you decide to hire us, we will request the hearing and let a judge decide if your license will be suspended or not.  


We'll fight with the Department of Public Safety to keep your normal license from being suspended, but here's the deal:       If the cops had a reason to stop you, and if they had a reason to arrest you, and If you refused the breath or blood test, and they got a warrant to draw your blood, then your license will be suspended for 6 months for refusing the test.  


If you consented to the test and your blood alcohol level is over .08, then your license will be suspended for 3 months for being over the limit.   Like I said earlier....don't freak out.  We'll keep you driving legally.  We'll talk more about an occupational drivers license when we meet in person.  


HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET THE BLOOD RESULTS BACK?

Well, that depends (the standard lawyer answer that everyone hates).   It might be a couple of months; it might be a year.  It depends on which lab ended up with your blood sample, and it depends on how backlogged that lab is.  It depends on whether or not the blood was tested for alcohol only, or if it was tested for drugs as well.  There are a lot of variables here, and there is no exact answer because there is not a regulated schedule for blood to be returned.   


THEY NEVER READ ME MY RIGHTS.  SHOULDN'T MY CASE GET DISMISSED?

No.  Sorry.   Unfortunately, television has given us an inaccurate perception of "Miranda Rights."   In short, officers never have to read you your rights during the course of their investigation.    If the police want to question you after you are arrested, then that's when they must read you your Miranda Rights.   In most DWI cases, all of the questions are asked before an arrest is made.    When we meet and go over the facts of your case, I'll be able to tell you if there is an issue with the reading of your rights or not, and I will explain exactly why or why not. 


I PASSED THE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS SO WHY WAS I ARRESTED?

That is exactly what we want to find out.   When you were arrested, everything was recorded.   There should be dash-cam video, and in most cities now, there will be body-cam video as well.  When we view the video, we will compare that to the officer's report and find out why the decision was made to arrest you.   


On a side note, you should never agree to do these tests.  You don't have to, and it is not required by law.   They are designed to fail.   They are administered to give the officer more probable cause to arrest you, and the recording will likely be used as a tool for a prosecutor to try to convict you.  There are a lot of ways to discredit field sobriety tests, so even if you didn't do well, it may not be as bad as you think.  


WILL I LOSE MY JOB?

It's possible.   We'll do everything we can to help you keep that from happening.   DWI is obviously a serious offense.   It has a lot of consequences that most people don't think about, and one of those consequences could be a negative effect on your current or future employment.  Depending on where you work, the type of job you have, your relationship with your boss, or if you have a professional license, a DWI accusation could be overwhelming.   We will discuss your job, your employer, your profession, and advise you on how to handle it.  


Some people have a duty to "self-report" an arrest to their employer or professional board.    You might want to check on this.   If so, let us know and we will advise you on how to do this.   In many cases, we will send a letter on behalf of our client which will satisfy the self-reporting requirement to a professional board, or will draft a letter for you to give to your HR department.   


WILL I HAVE TO GO TO JAIL FOR THIS?

Maybe.....but only if you are convicted or if you plead guilty.    There could be many reasons why you should NOT plead guilty, and have a trial instead.   We'll show you why we think your case should go to trial, or why a trial may not be the best option for you.   Ultimately it is your decision, but you'll have all of the information to make an informed decision when the time comes.


If a trial isn't an option, and if this is your first DWI, then you probably won't have to go to jail if you don't want to.  The alternative is probation.  However, in many cases, jail time might be right for you.    I know this might sound crazy, but it might be better for you to spend a couple of nights in jail instead of being under the State's supervision (probation) for a year or two.  


Just to give you an idea, probation requires classes, community service, fines, probation fees, travel restrictions, random urinalysis, you cannot drink for the length of time you are on probation, etc...  If you don't comply, then you could be punished with jail time, and if your probation gets revoked for violating the terms of your probation, you could possibly spend several months in jail.  


On the other hand, jail time might be as little as a couple of hours in a hallway at the jail.  We'll let you know if this might be an option for you.   Not always, but in many cases, this is the best way for someone to handle a conviction.  Most people want it over with so they can start moving past it.  This is definitely the right decision for many people.  


I'll explain this in more detail when we meet.  You'll know all the options available to you and I'll help you figure out which option is best and why.  


WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO GET THIS OFF OF MY RECORD?

Maybe.


If your case goes to trial, and you win, then you can have the arrest record expunged right away.    


If your case gets dismissed, then we can clear the arrest record 2 years after the date of the arrest.  


If you plead guilty to a DWI, then it still might be possible to have it non-disclosed, which hides or "seals" the record from public access.


As of September 1, 2017, it is possible to get some DWI offenses sealed from your criminal record if you meet all of the eligibility requirements.   


You CANNOT get a non-disclosure if:

-this is not your first offense; 

-your BAC was over .15;

-you were involved in an accident involving another person; or

-you've ever been convicted or placed on deferred for any other offense.


These are a few of the exclusions.  We'll talk more about this and possibilities of a non-disclosure when we talk about your case.   


HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST ME?

A LOT.  I'm sorry.  It's sickening.  A DWI accusation alone, innocent or guilty, is going to mean a financial stress for most people.   


When we meet, we will give you a break-down of the expenses that you can expect.  Every case is different, but we'll do our best to give you a pretty good idea of what you need to plan for.    This is not a fun conversation to have with our clients, but it is necessary.   We want you to know what to expect, so you can plan for it.  The better your planning, the less stressful it will be.   Below are some of the things that you can take into consideration when planning for the expense of a DWI.  This isn't quite everything but it'll give you an idea. 


While on bond, before a trial or plea:

-Bond fees / jail release fees;

-Impound fees;

-Time off of work to deal with court appearances and other appointments;

-State Filing fees for occupational license;

-DPS fees for occupational license;

-SR22 insurance (occupational license);

-Subpoena fees for the drivers license revocation hearing with DPS;

-Deep lung device rental fees (monthly);

-Supervision fees (if you have a deep lung device, you are under the court's supervision);

...and more


If convicted:

--If probation;

-fines;

-Court costs;

-Classes;

-Restitution (usually for blood testing);

-Supervision fees;

-Urinalysis (yes, you have to pay for this);

-DPS surcharges;

-SR22 (required for 2 years after conviction;

...and more


--if Jail

-Court costs;

-Restitution for lab testing, etc..;

-DPS surcharges;

-DPS fees for reinstating your drivers license;

-SR22 (2 years);

...and more




By now, either you love us or hate us.  Maybe you liked the info, or maybe it made you sick to your stomach.   Either way, you know more now.   We invite you to call and schedule an appointment to meet and talk more about your DWI case.  There is a lot more you need to know.  We can help.