Tag Archives: DWI Attorney

Texas Drunk Driving License Suspensions

Nothing seems more confusing to North Texas drivers than the fact that when they are arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated) or drunk driving  in North Texas they face not only criminal DWI charges but also a possible Administrative License Suspension which is a civil procedure.

A North Texas administrative license suspension is initiated if the North Texas driver either fails a blood or breath test because their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher or they refuse to submit to a blood alcohol concentration test (BAC).

Drivers, under the Texas Implied Consent Law, have given their implied consent to submit to a BAC test when ask to do so by a Texas law enforcement officer. This is a mandatory requirement that drivers agree to when they choose to operate a motorized vehicle on Texas roads.

If you are arrested for your first drunk driving charge and you refuse to take a chemical test you will have your license suspended for 180 days. North Texas drivers who take the BAC test and have a BAC above the legal limit will face a 90 day suspension of their driver’s license. Keep in mind, these drunk driving administrative license suspension penalties are imposed regardless of whether or not you are ultimately convicted of a North Texas drunk driving charge.

What do you do if you are arrested for drunk driving in Texas?

If you are arrested for DWI in Texas the police officer will take your Texas driver’s license and give you a temporary driving permit. You can use this permit until the 41st day after the date it was issued to you.

To challenge the administrative license suspension you must request an administrative license review hearing in writing within 15 days after your license suspension. Keep in mind, if you have requested the administrative license suspension this request will stop the administrative sanctions until you have had the chance to plead your case before the administrative review board.

What happens at the Texas Administrative License Suspension Hearing?

The first step if you have been arrested for a Texas DWI is to contact a Texas DUI lawyer. DWI lawyers in Texas can use the administrative license review hearing to not only potentially avoid a Texas license suspension but the “discovery” phase in the administrative license hearing can allow you and your Texas DWI attorney to gather information about your upcoming DUI criminal case and the strength of the prosecutor’s DWI case against you.

The state has the burden of proof at the administrative license suspension hearing and there are several things they must prove to the court:

  • The police officer had probable cause to stop and arrest the driver for a Texas DWI.
  • The driver had actual physical control of the motorized vehicle and they were intoxicated in a public place.
  • The driver arrested for the Texas DWI was notified by the police officer in writing and orally about the consequences for not taking or failing the BAC test, and the driver refused to provide the specimen when asked to do so by the officer or they had a BAC which was above the legal limit: breath or blood test by registering an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater per 100ml of blood or 210 liters of breath.

Can I get my license back after the Texas Administrative License Suspension?

If you can prove that the police officer did not follow the requirements outlined above, the Department of Motor Vehicles will return your Texas license to you immediately.

If you lose your driver’s license at the Administrative License Hearing you must submit a special TDPS form and a reinstatement fee of $125 (cash, cashier’s check or personal check) to the Driver Improvement and Control Texas Department of Public Safety, P.O. Box 15999 Austin, Texas, 78761-5999 to have your license reinstated.

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What Happens to My License After DWI Arrest in Texas?

When you are arrested for a DWI in Texas, you face two separate hearings: criminal and civil. If you plead guilty or are found guilty in the criminal phase, you face fines and jail time among other penalties. If you are found guilty in the civil phase, you are looking at an Administrative License Revocation (ALR).

Implied Consent to take Chemcial Test

The civil case begins as soon as you are arrested. If you refuse to take the breath or blood test, your license will automatically be revoked for 180 days. Texas’ implied consent laws state that every legal driver agreed to submit to a chemical test request when they signed for their driver’s license.

The consequence for refusing to take the breath or blood test is actually greater than if you fail the test. A license suspension of 180 days if you refuse compared to a suspension of 90 days if you do not pass.

How can you prevent your license from being suspended?

When you are arrested and charged with DWI, the officer will take your license and give you a Temporary Permit that is good for the next 41 days. To challenge the ALR suspension, you MUST request an ALR hearing within 15 days from the date of your arrest. Once you request and receive a hearing date, you will keep the Temporary Permit until your ALR hearing has concluded.

If you fail to request the ALR hearing, your license will automatically be suspended on the 41st day following your arrest.

ALR Hearing for a license suspension

You can hire a DUI attorney to represent you at your ALR hearing or you can go alone. Many of the discussions revolve around police procedure and bureaucratic processes, and it is a good idea to hire an experienced DUI attorney.

The Department of Public Safety must prove that the police officer had a justifiable reason to stop you and probable cause to arrest you. They must also prove that the officer explained the consequences of refusing to take the breath or blood test and also the ramifications for failing these same tests.

At the actual hearing, the DPS hearing officer will likely only have the police report, lab results and a sworn affidavit from your arresting officer to read from. There will likely be no live testimony against you at this hearing.

The ALS hearing is important for two reasons: it protects your driving privileges, and possibly more important, it reveals the facts of your criminal case and gives your DWI attorney an idea of how to put together your defense for the criminal charge. The information gained through this hearing is invaluable to your defense, and is frequently helps determine if your DWI charges can be successfully defended against at trial.

A DUI attorney in your area would have handled hundreds or thousands of ALR hearings and would know the right questions to ask and the areas of weakness for the State. It would benefit you to take advantage of their knowledge, skill and experience.

When Is It Worth It To Fight My DUI?

Everyone who is arrested for a DUI must ask themselves: “Should I fight this DUI?” This decision will affect the rest of your life and should be carefully considered. The decision to make a plea or go to trial depends on several factors that are unique to each person and situation.

Did I have physical control of the car?

The first thing the prosecution must prove is that you were driving or had physical control of the vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest. If you had a normal experience of getting pulled over while driving, then this will be easy for the prosecutor to prove.

If you were involved in an accident, however, it may not be clear to the police who was driving because they showed up after the accident. Other circumstances that bolster your DUI case are multiple passengers, the owner of car is not who was charged with the DUI, and the keys are in ignition and not in anyone’s possession.

How Close to .08% Was Your BAC?

The prosecutor must prove you were over the legal limit when you were actually driving, not when the police got around to administering the chemical test. The closer you BAC was to .08%, the better your chances are of a successful result at DUI trial.

You usually take a breath, blood, or urine test anywhere from 30 min. to several hours after your DUI arrest. A person’s BAC rises and falls in the body. What if you drank a significant amount of alcohol shortly before you got into your car to drive? Your DUI attorney can argue that the alcohol did not have enough time to enter your blood stream to cause impairment while you were driving. You may have been over .08% at the time of the chemical test; but, there could be reasonable doubt whether your BAC was over .08% when you were actually driving.

Was the Breath Test accurately administered?

The breath test is subject to all kinds of challenges. The hand-held machine that police use on the streets is notoriously unreliable. There was a study conducted in Florida that showed that as many as 40% of breath test results were inaccurate.

The police do use a much more accurate machine at the police station, but if there were discrepancies between these two tests, this would show a weakness in the State’s case.

Were proper procedures followed for the DUI arrest?

Depending on your state, police are required to follow certain procedures when they administer chemical tests. For a blood test, did they clean the area with a non-alcoholic swab? For a breath test, did the police give you a fifteen minute observation period before they administered the DUI chemical test? Are the hand-held breath machines properly calibrated twice per week? Your DUI attorney knows all of the approved procedures and can challenge the validity of the DUI chemical test results if the police failed to administer the chemical test properly.

Should you plead guilty or risk taking your DUI case to trial? The honest answer is that it depends on the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest. You should consult with an experienced DUI attorney in your area. He can look at your DUI arrest and tell you the best course of action for you and your future

Should I plead guilty to my DUI charge?

First steps after a DUI Arrest

DUI attorneys attend school for many years and know the court system and its procedures. They are as familiar with DUI field sobriety and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests and they know their inherent weaknesses.

If you are arrested for a DUI, contact a DUI lawyer in your area who can offer you solid legal advice regarding your situation. Most DUI lawyers offer a free consultation and this meeting can help you understand the advantage hiring a capable DUI lawyer.

Be careful to avoid the attorney who meets with you briefly and guarantees a certain outcome. No lawyer can ascertain the totality of your DUI case until he has carefully reviewed all of the facts about your DUI arrest.

Does pleading ‘not guilty’ after a DUI make things worse?

Some people who have been arrested for DUI worry that if they fight the DUI charge, it will only make their situation worse by delaying the inevitable. However, this is how the justice system works; its fidelity is strengthened when people challenge it.

A DUI attorney will scrutinize the procedures used by law enforcement when they pulled you over, how the field sobriety and BAC tests were administered, and other factors. More often than not, there are weaknesses in the state’s DUI case against you that a skillful DUI attorney can recognize.

Even if you are convicted of a DUI, having an attorney can often minimize the sentence because he will know how to operate within the system to lessen the DUI penalties. There could also be alternatives (sober house, substance abuse program, etc.) which can be negotiated with the prosecution.

The potential impact of a DUI conviction on a person’s record grows each year as state legislatures pass tougher DUI laws in response to public pressure. A DUI conviction may, in some states, stays on your record for life.

Fighting a DUI could cost you more money, more time, and more hassle; the extra aggravation would be worth it if you walk out of the courthouse with a not guilty verdict and a clean record.

If you decide to plead not guilty, a DUI attorney can make sure that your rights are protected and that you are aware of what is happening during every part of the court process.

Choosing a New York DWI Lawyer

In New York, driving while intoxicated is a leading cause of death, making the penalties for drinking and driving quite severe.  For a first offense, you can expect a fine of about $300, to perhaps spend some time in jail, and to lose your license for 90 days. For a second DWI offense, the fines are larger at about $500, you may be in jail for longer, and you’ll lose your license for six months. The further you go, the worse it gets, and the more chance you have of getting a felony conviction. If you are a problematic drinker, or have a history of legal trouble, you might try a designated driver or calling someone. Anything other than driving is crucial. If you are arrested, it’s time to consult with an experienced New York DWI lawyer.

Why consult with a lawyer?

A New York DWI lawyer is crucial for your defense. You might think pleading guilty and moving on is best; that’s wrong. You should plead innocent and hire a lawyer way before your trial begins. A lawyer is a necessary part of this process.

What can a lawyer do?
A lawyer can question the charges against you, question what happened, and act in your defense. He or she can lower any fines against you, if not eliminate them. You can avoid losing your license, or at least  decrease the suspension. You can avoid jail time. A lawyer is an important part of this process, a voice in the court room for you.

How much will a DWI lawyer cost?
All New York DWI lawyers have different rates. Some charge hourly and some charge flat fees. No two DWI situations are exactly alike, but this will not be cheap. You will likely spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer, but again the advantages are numerous. If you have multiple DWI charges, you may face extended jail time and other very stiff penalties. So the price is relative. How much is your license worth? How much is avoiding jail time worth to you?

How do you hire one?
The New York State Bar Association has a website with a listing of lawyers at NYSBA.org, where you can find some of the most experienced DUI lawyers in the state. You can find them online. You can find them in the yellow pages. You can find them through referrals. But don’t settle on the first one you find; be picky. Consult with at least 5-10 experienced New York DWI lawyers, if not more, before settling on one. Factor in court room experience, price, how well you communicate with him or her, and availability. You want a lawyer experienced in DWI court, who knows what to question. You want a lawyer you can afford. You want to be able to talk to this lawyer, as he or she will guide you for weeks if not months through this process. And you want a lawyer who is available, not overbooked with clients.

What if you pick the wrong one?

If you pick the wrong lawyer, there is no New York law saying you must keep him or her. You must only pay the fees up to that point. So if you make the wrong choice, which does happen, fire your current lawyer and continue your search. You have enough options to do so.

What To Do After a DUI

If you are charged with a DUI, you may wonder what to do next. There is cause for worry. However, you have more options than you think. You should always consult with an experienced DUI lawyer, one who is local, one you can afford, and one you can communicate with. Let’s find out what to do after you get a DUI.

Hire a Lawyer
You always need an experienced lawyer. You may think you should simply accept the charges given to you. Never plead guilty to DUI charges. You want a lawyer experienced in the court room. You want a lawyer who you can work with for some amount of time. DUI charges are a long process. You may be in and out of the court room for months. However, you may be found innocent, or you may lessen the charges some.

Question Charges
You may face excessive fines, jail time, and a suspended license. This can change your life greatly. You may not be able to get to and from work without a ride. You may owe hundreds if not thousands of dollars. And you may face some excessive time in jail. You should always question these charges. Simply because you are charged with a DUI does not mean you are guilty. The breathalyzer test is not always accurate. Sometimes the officers infringe on your rights. Maybe you are never told of your rights but. In any case, you will have to fight for our rights.

Facing Charges
You have a better chance with an experienced DUI lawyer. As noted, you should question the charges. You may be found innocent. With DUI charges, you have to be at .08 or above to be charged with a DUI. If you are under age, the laws are different. What happens in court? Your lawyer will be negotiating for you. You have the option of judge or jury, but most court rooms use judges to make decisions on cases. You will be questioned on what happened, but even if you lose you have a chance in appeals court. In appeals court, if what happened in the original court case is found to be wrong, you may have a chance of being found innocent.

Moving On
Unfortunately, most DUI charges are not for first time convictions. Many of us make the mistake of being penalized for more than one DUI. The more DUI charges you get, the more penalties you get. You will face longer jail time. You will face more charges. You may lose your license for a longer period. If you get more than one DUI, you may be charged with a felony. You can move on. The best thing you can do is avoid getting that second DUI. Do whatever you can to avoid it. Call a cab. Ask a friend to help. If you are charged with further DUIs, it will be difficult to move on, but you always have a chance.

While you may think drinking and driving is a minor offense, thousands of lives are lost every year to it. By drinking and driving, you put others and yourself in danger. If you are charged with a DUI, it’s time to consult with an experienced DUI lawyer.

7 New York DWI Laws to Know

New York uses the term Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) for its drinking and driving laws. The problem is that DWIs are a leading cause of death. The answer is to avoid drinking and driving at all. You might get a designated driver. You might call a cab. You might simply stay where you are. You do anything but drive after drinking. If you do drink and drive, you risk being charged with a DWI. New York DWI laws can be quite complex, but this blog guide can help you with the basics.

First Offense

You might expect a first New York DWI offense to be quite lenient. Actually, you can expect a fine of at least $500, to have your license suspended for six months, and to spend up to a year in jail. If you make this mistake, make it your last, and be sure to hire an experienced DWI lawyer.

Second Offense
The second DWI offense gets even more serious. As in most states, if you receive a second DUI before a certain amount of time has passed – in New York it’s 10 years – you can be charged with a felony. Felony charges are the maximum charges you can get for a driving offense. You can expect larger fines, more time in jail, and a longer license suspension.

Third Offense
If you get a third or further offense, you can expect prolonged jail time, to lose your license for years time, and to get some big fines. If you are unfortunate enough to go this far, you are at the mercy of the courts, but you may not be guilty. You should always fight the charges, and should do so with a  DWI lawyer.

This term is driving while ability impaired, and means you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if not both. The charges are similar as a DWI. If you get caught smoking drugs, for example, you can be charged with this and also be charged with possession.

DWI and Prescription Drugs
Even legal drugs can lead to DWI charges. Even if you are prescribed medicine, if it affects your ability to drive you should not take it before driving. An officer still needs a valid reason to pull you over, but if your driving is impaired, you break a law, and are pulled over, you can be charged with a DWI and get subsequent charges.

Aggravated DWI

In the state of New York, the aggravated DWI charge means you were tested as having a BAC (blood alcohol content) level over .18. It’s illegal to be at .08 in all 50 states, but if you are even further intoxicated, you are a greater danger on the road, and are subject to serious charges.

Your Right to a DWI Lawyer

No DWI charge is final. No DWI charge means guilt is assured. You should hire an experienced New York DWI lawyer if you are charged with this crime, you should question the charges, and you should plead not guilty in court.

Where to Find DUI Help

If you are charged with a DUI, DWI, or OWI, where do you go for help? Should you immediately hire a lawyer? Can you somehow limit the charges against you with an effective defense? You have more options than you might think. The choices you make can, as drinking and driving is a serious offense, change your life.

Resources for DUI
Perhaps the best point of difference between today and 20 years ago is the fact that you have much, much more resources at your disposal. And perhaps the problem is that they are not all as good as you might think. With the internet, we are all six degrees apart, and can find information on a variety of subjects in a matter of seconds. This includes DUI law and defense strategies, but the problem is that DUI law is different in all 50 states. While the .08 BAC (blood alcohol content) level is the same for all 50 states, the exact charges against you vary. Some states charge you more by exactly how much you drink, so if you have a .12 limit, you know what exact charges you get. Some states are tougher on first offenses. Some call drinking and driving DWI, some DUI, others OWI. However, you can find many good, state specific resources online, especially government sites and sites of legal lawyers practicing in your state. This blog is an example of a resource you might study for how to defend against DUI charges.

Legal Help for DUI
If you are charged with a  DUI, it’s time to get legal representation. There are thousands of DUI lawyers, and sometimes you may consider going without a lawyer. Well, you should always get a professional. Yes, hiring a lawyer costs money, but it may save you time in jail, help avoid lengthy suspensions, and save you fines. If you do hire a lawyer, be critical in who you choose. Hire someone local, who understands state DUI laws, who you can communicate well with, and who has the experience in handling cases like yours.

Limit Charges Against You
If you hire an experienced DUI lawyer, you should be able to limit the charges against you. You can expect, depending on the nature of the charges, to face jail time, license suspension, fines, probation, and other problems. How do you limit these? You hire a lawyer immediately, long before your court date. You question the charges against you, such as the reason for being pulled over or the accuracy of the DUI tests. Finally, you go to court, make your not guilty plea, and use your lawyer to make an effective defense.

6 Important New York DWI Laws to Know

DWI laws change from state to state, making some study important. Even if you get a lawyer – and you definitely need a DWI lawyer if you’re being charged – you should be aware of basic laws. Why? If you don’t know what is happening in the court room, you won’t be able to make key decisions. This guide helps you make those decisions by going over 6 DWI laws you should understand.

New York DWI – The First Offense

Expect fines from $500 to $1,000. You might be charged with up to 1 year jail time. Finally, your drivers license will be revoked for at least six months. Why so hard for a first offense? One of the leading causes of death in New York is drinking and driving. But it does not mean you have no rights; you do.

The Second Offense

If you get a second New York DWI within 10 years of the first, you can expect major fines, a longer jail sentence, and a longer license suspension. Fines can be as high as $5,000. You may face up to 4 years jail time. And your license is often suspended for years. If you believe you were pulled over in error, that your rights have been broken, or that you were not under the influence, you need to speak with a lawyer.

The Third Offense
Now we are getting even worse. Expect penalties to be doubled in comparison to your second offense. If you get a third DWI within 10 years of the second, that’s a felony charge (technically a class d felony), and felonies are the worst driving penalties you can get. If you want to avoid long time jail, fines up to $10,000, and a lengthy license suspension, get legal help.

Aggravated DWI

While less common, we all know how sometimes you just can’t stop drinking. That applies most when you consider than an aggravated DWI means your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is .18 or higher. That’s not only dangerous to you, as much higher and you risk life, but it also puts others in grave danger. The more you drink, the more likely you are to be in an accident (some studies have pointed out you can be 10 to 40 times more likely to be in an accident if drink enough).

If you are arrested for being “driving while ability impaired” by drugs, the penalties are close to what you get for a DWI. If no alcohol is in your system, but drugs are, you can still be charged.

Your Right to Representation
Scared? There is one other important law to consider – that you have a right to representation. Simply put, not all DWI cases are the same. You may have been charged with a  higher BAC level than you had, or you may have been profiled by the arrest officer, or the officer lied about something, or a variety of other points. If you are charged with abusing substances and driving, your first move is to immediately hire an experienced DWI lawyer. Do not hire someone who does a “little of everything;” get a specialist in DWI law. And don’t wait until days before your trial to hire a lawyer; hire one as soon as possible.

Did You Hire the Wrong DWI Lawyer?

While the field of law is as complex as anything in the world, the DWI field is relatively simple to understand. If you want to avoid getting into trouble, avoid driving after drinking. If you are caught making this mistake, or are accused of drinking and driving, it’s time to consult with a DWI lawyer. But what DWI lawyer should you hire? It’s a critical decision. When you hire any lawyer, be as judgmental as you possibly can be.

This guide asks questions and gives answers on how you can hire the right DWI lawyer.

Be Frugal, But Be Open
Price is quite often your hardest decision. Look to any business, and you get low value for a low price, moderate value for a fair price, and varying values for high prices. Simply paying your lawyer more does not mean you get more, but paying him or her the lowest possible rates is dangerous. Be frugal in your spending, and avoid spending tens of thousands you don’t have, but also be aware you get what you pay for.

Focus on DWI Lawyers
Instead of hiring someone who has “some” experience in DWI law, get a lawyer who specializes. Finding a good DWI lawyer is not impossible. Look online and you’ll see blogs and sites like this one with lawyers who specialize in DWI law. That’s the kind of legal representation you need.

Save Time in the Hiring Process Online
To save time in your search, look online. To save time in interviews, be clear in any emails and phone calls on what this lawyer is capable of, what he or she charges, and how soon he or she can start helping you. But the beauty of looking online is you can see a lot: relevant experience, ways to get in touch, and valuable information on DWI law itself.

When to Fire Your DWI Lawyer
If you hired the wrong DWI lawyer, you need not continue to work with him or her. There is no law saying you can’t change lawyers. Because there are so many DWI lawyers, you still have many options. You do have to pay the lawyer fees up to that point, but don’t hold onto someone who’s failing.

Importance of Communication
If your DWI lawyer is not responding fast enough to emails and phone calls, you may want a new one. If your lawyer has no time to answer your messages, how can he or she spend days of planning and hours in court to protect your rights? Communication skills are vital, but that’s not what is taught law school, it’s what you learn on the job and in life.

Value of Winning

If you fire your DWI lawyer because he or she is not communicating with you, or is trying to raise fees, or is simply making legal mistakes, hire a winner with your second try. Remember that you stand to save thousands of dollars, weeks if not months in jail, and your driving rights. These are very valuable for all of us. If you stick with the wrong DWI lawyer, you risk all of these points and more.