Have you been charged with a DWI in Dallas, TX? Don’t delay in taking action. You are not only facing jail time and high fines, but also the loss of professional certifications and your ability to drive. With your freedom and rights on the line, it’s crucial to work with an experienced Dallas DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
The Edgett Law Firm represents Dallas residents facing DWI charges. Our defense attorneys have successfully handled more than 5,000 with the honest, reliable legal representation you deserve. Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation with a Dallas DWI lawyer to discuss your case.
How The Edgett Law Firm Can Help You Defend Yourself Against a DWI Charge
When you are facing a DWI, your freedom, rights, and future are on the line. Even a simple, first offense DWI can carry harsh penalties. Still, DWI charges only get more serious if they involve a child passenger, injury to another person, or subsequent DWI offense. You can be sure the prosecution will not have sympathy and will seek the maximum penalties allowed.
Hiring a Dallas criminal defense attorney from the Edgett Law Firm can help you protect your rights and build a solid defense to fight back against the charges you are facing. Our lawyers have 22 years of collective experience with more than 5,000 cases successfully handled.
We maintain a sterling reputation with local judges and prosecutors with extensive legal experience inside and outside of the courtroom. You can count on our legal team as empathetic advocates who will aggressively defend your rights.
When you hire the Edgett Law Firm to represent you in your DUI or DWI case, you can count on us to:
- Conduct a thorough investigation of your accident
- Gather evidence to strengthen your defense, including at the ALR hearing
- Look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you
- Negotiate with the prosecution to seek dismissal or reduction of your charges or a satisfactory plea deal
- Represent you in court
You deserve a vigorous legal defense against the charges you are facing in Texas’ criminal justice system. You will get it with the Edgett Law Firm. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case review with a Dallas criminal defense lawyer to discuss the details of your case.
What Is a DWI?
Texas Penal Code Section 49.04 makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Intoxicated is defined as not having the normal amount of physical or mental faculties due to a drug and/or alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
You may be charged with a DWI in Texas if you are intoxicated while operating a watercraft, aircraft, or amusement park ride.
There are other charges related to a simple DWI such as:
- DWI with a child passenger
- Intoxication assault
- Intoxication manslaughter
Note that the 0.08 legal limit only applies to non-commercial drivers 21 or older. For people under 21, a BAC of 0.02 or higher is sufficient for a DWI. Those with a commercial driver’s license can be convicted of a DWI with a BAC of 0.04 or higher.
What to Expect During a DWI Case in Texas
When you are charged with a DWI, you can expect a somewhat long and complicated legal process ahead. You can expect your case to proceed through the following stages.
DWI Arrest and Booking
When you are pulled over for a suspected DWI, law enforcement can administer field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer. The results of this test and other evidence like swerving or the smell of alcohol can be used to make an arrest.
You will be taken to the police station to process the charges and book you into jail. You will be searched and personal property will be confiscated. You will be left in a holding cell until you are released on your own recognizance or post bail.
After your release, you will appear in court for arraignment. This is your first court appearance and it can be your last if you plead guilty. Otherwise, additional hearings are necessary.
During arraignment, the judge will read the charges, ask if you need a defense attorney, ask how you plead, and announce future court dates.
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing
The ALR hearing is separate from the criminal case against you. After your arrest, your license will be taken and you will be issued a temporary license. You have just 15 days from the date notice is served – usually your arrest date – to request a hearing to contest the suspension. If you do not, your license will be automatically suspended 40 days after your arrest.
During this hearing, it is possible to have your license reinstated right away. It can also be an opportunity to gather evidence that can support your defense at trial. Your DWI defense attorney can cross-examine the police officer and his or her testimony will be transcribed for use at trial.
If you plead not guilty at arraignment, you must attend the preliminary hearing. At this hearing, the judge decides if there is enough evidence against you for a trial.
The prosecutor can call witnesses to show you should be tried in court. Your attorney can cross-examine these witnesses and argue against any other evidence the prosecution presents.
When the preliminary hearing is over, the judge will dismiss your case or send it to trial.
If the judge decides there is sufficient evidence, your case will go to trial. Your defense lawyer and the prosecutor will present opening statements and each side can present evidence, bring in witnesses, and cross-examine the other. After closing arguments, the jury will deliberate and decide whether you are guilty or innocent.
If you are found guilty or plead guilty, a judge determines your sentence. You may be subjected to license revocation, incarceration, high fines, ignition interlock device installation, car impoundment, and/or DWI school.
Penalties for a DWI
The penalties for a DWI conviction in Texas are harsh and begin before you are even convicted. Penalties will depend on whether it is a first or subsequent offense, whether minors were present, and whether there was an accident involving injuries.
The stakes are very high when you are charged with a DWI. You may be facing:
- Hefty fines and fees
- License suspension
- Ignition interlock device
- Scram bracelet
- License renewal surcharges ($1,040 per year for3 years)
- Enhanced penalties depending on the circumstances
- Consequences beyond legal penalties such as the suspension of a professional license and employment consequences
Is a DWI a felony in Texas? Depending on the circumstances, a DWI can be a misdemeanor or a felony.
- A first offense DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. This is punishable by a $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.
- A second offense is a Class A misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
- A third offense is a third-degree felony. This is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- A DWI Enhanced can be charged if your BAC was .15 or higher. This will increase even a first offense to a Class A misdemeanor.
If convicted, your license can be suspended for up to two years. You will need to pay an annual surcharge of more than $1,000 per year for a three-year period to retain your driver’s license. You may even be required to participate in DWI education or intervention classes and have an ignition interlock device installed at your expense.
Possible Defenses to a DWI Charge
You may feel hopeless when you have been arrested for a DWI. The prosecutor will be aggressive in seeking your conviction and there is little sympathy for driving while intoxicated. However, most people arrested for DWI do not have a criminal history and you are innocent until proven guilty.
There are many ways to fight your DWI. Our experienced DWI defense lawyers in Dallas, Texas use many techniques to fight for your freedom.
We carefully investigate your case and interpret the evidence against you. Examples of techniques that may be successful in your case include:
- Challenging the blood or breath test results
- Challenging the field sobriety tests
- Arguing your constitutional rights were violated
- Gathering evidence at the ALR hearing to help your criminal case
- Challenge the officers’ administration of the law and recollection of the events
- Challenge witness testimony
Field sobriety tests and chemical tests both have their flaws and should not be trusted with absolute certainty. Your lawyer may argue that the sobriety tests used were not admissible in court, flawed, administered incorrectly, or the results were not accurately measured. Even chemical tests – including blood tests and urine tests – can be defeated in court.
Contact a Dallas DWI Defense Lawyer for a Free Consultation
You do not need to face your DWI charge alone. At the Edgett Law Firm, we are here to help and serve as your advocate to fight on your behalf. We will help you build the strongest possible defense and seek a dismissal or reduction of your charges to protect your freedom and your rights.
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case review with a Texas DWI defense lawyer to get started on your defense. Our DWI attorneys proudly represent clients in the greater Dallas area, including those in Tarrant County, Collin County, and Denton County.