Fort Worth DWI Lawyer
Texas DWI & DUI Charges
In Texas, DWI (driving while intoxicated) is the more serious version of DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI-minor. While DWI is usually classified as a misdemeanor, you can still end up paying heavy fines and spending time in jail. Worst of all, the arrest and conviction can remain on your criminal record, and could affect future employment opportunities and result in harsher penalties if you are charged with another traffic violation in the future.
As a Fort Worth DWI lawyer with extensive experience challenging drunk driving arrests and charges, I discuss the possibility of having your charges reduced or dismissed. I have been practicing criminal law for more than 25 years and know where to start investigating in order to build a solid defense. I serve Tarrant County, Parker County, Johnson County, Hood County, Dallas County, and Denton County.
No criminal charge is “trivial.” Call (817) 857-6307 today and learn more about how to fight your DWI charges.
What is the Difference Between DWI & DUI in Texas?
If you are over the age of 17 and are found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater, you may face DWI charges. The only people who can be charged with a DUI or DWI-minor in Texas are minors under the age of 21 if any alcohol is detected in their system while driving.
Penalties for DWI increase for subsequent convictions:
- First offense – Up to $2,000 in fines and/or a maximum of 180 days in jail.
- Second offense – Up to $4,000 in fines and/or a maximum of 1 year in jail.
- Third offense – Up to $10,000 in fines and a maximum of 10 years in jail.
In most cases, DWI will be labeled as a Class B misdemeanor, but it can be elevated into a Class A misdemeanor if your BAC was .15% or greater. It could even be upgraded to a felony if someone was injured, killed, or if property was damaged in a resulting accident. Additionally, many DWI charges could face a license suspension and mandatory participation in a DWI education program.
Implied Consent & Field Sobriety Tests
In Texas, if you are arrested for a DWI or DUI/DWI-minor you are required to submit to a breath test or a blood test. According to Texas' Implied Consent Law, if an officer has probable cause to believe that you were operating a motor vehicle or boat while intoxicated and lawfully arrests you, then you have implicitly agreed to chemical testing. A breath test or blood test will be performed as soon as possible in order to determine your BAC (blood alcohol content), unless you refuse. If you refuse, the police will get a search warrant for your blood.
If you refuse testing, your refusal could be used as evidence against you in court. However, the officer must inform you of this in writing. If you decide to refuse testing, you must sign the statement to acknowledge that you are aware of the consequences. Again, a search warrant for your blood will be obtained.
Refusal will also result in a minimum 180 day suspension of your driver's license. The officer must also inform you that if you consent to testing and the results indicate a BAC above the legal limit, your driver's license will be suspended for at least 90 days. For minor DUI or DWI, any detectable amount of alcohol will result in a 60 day license suspension.
If your license is suspended as a result of refusing testing, you will be given a temporary permit that is valid for 40 days from the date of notice. If you want to challenge your license suspension, you have 15 days from the notice date to request a hearing. If you do not win the hearing, your license will remain suspended for 180 days. In either case you will need an occupational license to drive legally.
Additionally, if you refuse testing for a second time within a ten year period, your license will be suspended for two years. If you choose to request a hearing, contact Fort Worth DWI attorney Paul Previte to aid in your defense.
Although a recent Supreme Court ruling may invalidate the statute, there are several circumstances where an officer does not need your permission for testing if you are arrested. In most cases the police must obtain a search warrant for your blood if you refuse to consent to breath or blood testing.
Experienced DWI Legal Counsel
Even if you were given a sobriety test and found to be over the legal limit, these results can be contested. There are numerous factors that can influence the validity of the test. Additionally, the police may have had no probable cause to pull you over, in which case the very basis of your arrest can be called into question. Let me utilize my experience as a Fort Worth DWI defense lawyer to guide you through the defense process and provide you with an even playing ground when dealing with the North Texas court system.