How do you handle DWI cases?
I approach each DWI by preparing for all of my client’s legal problems because criminal cases entail every aspect of a person’s life.
DWI cases are intense. In each case, I learn all of the facts and circumstances that happened at the time of the arrest including the DWI stop, the events leading up to the DWI stop, and the events after the arrest. All of that information impacts the level of offense that the prosecutors will charge and the best strategy to employ. I conduct a thorough review of the evidence. I review the police reports, and talk to other passengers in the vehicle. I also learn about what the client wants to have happen and what is at stake for the client. This is important to have a full picture of the events surrounding a DWI arrest. With this understanding, I am best able discuss my client’s options and form the best strategy.
What other effects does a driving while intoxicated case have?
All criminal cases impact multiple aspects of a person’s life. The arrest will likely appear in background checks. One of the most difficult parts of a DWI for clients is the loss of a driver’s license while the case is pending. Additionally, clients are concerned about what will happen to them in their criminal case. This includes jail time, fines, fees, and driver’s license suspension. Many clients do not know they have more than one court case.
For more information about the consequences of a driving while intoxicated conviction read through our FAQ page.
How many court cases does a person have after a DWI arrest?
Once the police arrest a person for DWI, the person has two cases. The first is the criminal prosecution. The second case is a license suspension. The criminal prosecution can have numerous consequences fines, fees, license suspension, strict probation conditions, and/or jail time. Because of these risks, most people only focus on the criminal prosecution. The second case is a license suspension. The administrative license suspension can be neglected if the attorney is not careful. Following an arrest for driving while intoxicated, a person will automatically lose their license. However, this will not happen if the person requests a hearing within fifteen days. The person will have their license until an administrative law judge determines that the searches and seizure were legal. Although one of these cases can result in jail time and expensive fines, an attorney should prepare for both cases.
Is the administrative hearing important?
Yes. I believe that the administrative license revocation hearing is important. The judge may allow the person to keep their license while their criminal case is going on. Secondly, this hearing is the first time an attorney can question the State’s witnesses under oath. This will lock the witness into this testimony. When I know the testimony of the arresting officer, I am able to prepare for trial more thoroughly.
Where are these court cases taking place?
Prosecutors filed driving while intoxicated cases in the County or District where the offense occurred. For instance, a person will go to court in Fort Worth if the arrest occurred in Tarrant County.
Administrative license hearings are assigned to a SOAH court close to where the arrest occurred. There are SOAH locations in Dallas and in Fort Worth.
What paperwork do you like to review?
In addition to police reports, I need to review the temporary driver’s licenses that the police issued at the time of my client’s arrest and any paperwork from my client’s bondsman.
After a DWI arrest, the police issue a temporary driver’s license. This driver’s license provides important information about the length of driver’s license suspension. The temporary license also lists the deadlines to contest a driver’s license suspension. Clients need to know this information, so they can plan to act accordingly.
The bondsman paperwork is important because maintaining a good relationship with the bondsman can make DWI cases easier. Bondsmen have strict practices to lower the risk of losing their assets to satisfy the bond. As long as the client follows these practices, the client will not have to find a new bondsman during their case.
Some attorneys are bondsman; can you write a bail bond in my DWI case?
I believe that it is my job to zealously and ethically represent my clients. In many cases, interests of bondsmen and attorneys do not conflict. However, the interests of a bondsman and attorney can change. This is because the attorney owes a different and more strict ethical duty to the client. Bondsmen have risked a lot of money. Lawyers need to protect their client’s interests at all times. I do not write bail bonds because I believe it could conflict with my client’s interests.
Can I get my records sealed, expunged or hidden?
Convictions for driving while intoxicated cannot be expunged, and cannot be hidden with an order of non-disclosure. However, the court can always order the records expunged if the charges are dismissed or if the jury or court acquits the person.
What constitutes driving while intoxicated?
In Texas, a person commits the offense of driving while intoxicated if the person operates a vehicle in a public place while they are intoxicated. Under the law, a person is intoxicated if the person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. Additionally, a person is considered to be intoxicated if the person does not have normal use of their mental or physical faculties because the person has introduced alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, or a dangerous drug into the person’s body.
Why are DWIs treated differently from other offenses even if it is the first offense?
There are several reasons including the highly technical investigation methods and the large amount of scientific evidence. Also, there are mandatory minimum sentences, a first DWI conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 72 hours in jail and a mandatory driver’s license suspension period if a person is convicted of DWI.
Moreover, even without filing an appeal to a higher court, a DWI case can consist of as many as three different proceedings. They are as follows:
- The prosecution of the criminal offense of driving while intoxicated;
- An administrative hearing to contest the suspension of the driver’s license if requested by the arrestee in the time period required by law; and
- A civil proceeding to request that a civil court issue a person an occupational driver’s license If the administrative judge suspends the license.
Can the police stop my vehicle without any reason?
No. The police at a minimum must have a reasonable suspicion, which is a suspicion based upon facts and not a mere hunch.
Can a person always refuse to provide a blood or breath sample?
In many cases, a person can refuse to provide an officer with a blood or breath sample. However, under some circumstances, a person may not have the ability to refuse to provide a blood sample. For instance, if the police officer obtains a warrant, or suspects another person was injured, there is a passenger in the driver’s vehicle the driver has been convicted of two or more DWI offenses, the person may not decline to provide a blood sample.
If I refused to give a breath or blood sample or perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, will the State have to dismiss the case?
No, but without physical evidence of intoxication the prosecution will be more difficult for the State. This is especially true if the arrestee appears to be speaking coherently and balanced when walking as shown on a digital recording if one is taken by the police.
What do I do without a driver’s license?
A person does not necessarily have to walk everywhere after being arrested for DWI. As discussed above, a person can contest the suspension of their driver’s license or file a civil proceeding to request an occupational driver’s license because they have an essential need to operate a vehicle in order to get to work or carryout essential household duties.
FAQ DWI BLOOD DRAWS
Why did the police officer take my blood?
One of the ways the prosecutor can prove someone was intoxicated by showing the person had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above. The results of the blood test will provide the prosecutor of evidence to help prosecute a DWI.
A bunch of time passed, doesn’t it only matter if I was intoxicated while driving?
- In DWI cases, the person must be intoxicated while driving. Blood alcohol is changing throughout a night out. To prove this, prosecutors will argue any number of things. Usually, they will try to use algebra to show that, even if the driver’s blood alcohol is rising, the driver would have had a BAC above .08 while driving. There are a total
Could I have refused to give a blood sample?
During DWI investigations, police take blood samples in one of two ways. Either the arrestee will voluntarily provide the sample during the course of the DWI investigation, or submit a sample pursuant to a warrant. So it depends on the individual situation.
Is there anyway to defend against this at trial?
Yes. The procedure for a blood draw is very specific. If this procedure was not followed or if the wrong hardware was used, a trial court may not let it into evidence during a DWI trial. Also, if a lot of time has passed, it may not be evidence of intoxication while driving. Your individual situation
Felony DWI in Fort Worth
A person’s criminal history can be used by the prosecution to enhance offenses. DWI is no different. A person’s prior history can increase the level to a higher misdemeanor or even a felony. There are a number of factors that impact whether the State can seek to enhance a DWI.
Only the offenses of Driving while Intoxicated, Flying while Intoxicated, Boating while Intoxicated, and Assembling or Operating an Amusement Ride while Intoxicated can be enhanced under section 49.09 of the Texas Penal Code.
A DWI Can be enhanced to a felony of the third degree if the state proves that the person has been previously convicted
Once of the offense of Intoxication Manslaughter;
Two times of any other offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating an aircraft while intoxicated, operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated;
The date of the previous convictions is critical to determine whether an enhancement is proper. Also, section 49.09 of the Texas does not prevent the prosecution from seeking other enhancements permitted by the penal code in DWI cases.
A felony of the third degree is punishable by between 10 and 20 year incarceration and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00.
The decision of a prosecutor to charge a case as a felony enhanced DWI does not mean that an enhancement is proper. Also, like all offenses, the decision of a prosecutor to charge it does not mean a person is guilty of the offense. Many cases have weaknesses and mistakes. The facts and circumstances of your case critically determine the proper defense. To meet with Brian J. Newman to discuss your DWI case and begin your defense call 817-231-0023.