Tag Archives: DWI Lawyer

Five Mistakes People Make After Their DUI Arrest

Mistake #1 – Not hiring a DUI attorney

DUI laws are complex, so are the procedures and court processes. Depending on your state, you could have to be prepared for two hearings: your criminal case in court and your license revocation hearing at the DMV.

DUI attorneys are experienced in handling hundreds to thousands of cases and they know the right questions to ask to take advantage of weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case. They will know all of the procedures that the police are required to follow and can negotiate with the Prosecutor to possibly get your charge reduced or dismissed.

You could be facing possible jail time, thousands of dollars in DUI fines, and untold hours of DUI School and/or Community Service. A DUI attorney knows what to do to minimize DWI penalties and help you fight your DWI charge.

Mistake #2 – Not taking the DUI seriously enough

A DUI conviction is not a situation where you pay a fine and put the matter behind you. A DUI conviction will follow you the rest of your life and could affect current and future employment, insurance rates, and your ability to drive legally in your state.

The DMV will keep the DUI conviction on your driving record for the rest of your life. You are facing thousands of dollars in increased auto insurance rates, not to mention possible jail and probation.

Mistake #3 – Assuming you cannot win your DUI case

Most people think they do not have a chance to beat their DUI charge at trial. Maybe they failed the breath test, or there was an open can of beer in their car and they think nobody will believe them.

The case against you may not be as strong as you think. Your DUI attorney knows the guidelines that police are required to follow when they stop you, when they administer field sobriety tests, and most importantly, when they oversee your chemical tests.

Did you know that there are many factors that can skew the breath test results? Did you know that the portable breath test devices used by police are notoriously unreliable? A simple fever can produce a ‘false high’ result. Your DUI attorney can raise serious questions about your breath test result in court.

Mistake # 4 – Not fighting the revocation of your license

Every state has different procedures that govern what happens to your license after a DUI arrest. Many of them have a short window for you to file the proper paperwork to contest your license suspension. If you do not petition for a hearing, you will automatically lose your license. Your DUI attorney can help you with the process in your state.

Mistake # 5 – Taking the Prosecutor’s first offer so you can ‘put the matter behind you’

Negotiating a quick plea bargain with the Prosecutor may not be best; it is simply the fastest way to get rid of your DUI case with the least amount of work. If you accept a plea at this stage, you are admitting guilt and opening the door to all of the DUI penalties and DUI fees of the DUI conviction. You lose the opportunity to let the judge rule on constitutional challenges and you don’t force the State to prove its DUI case against you.

These are only five of the most common mistakes made by normal people who find themselves charged with a DUI. Most of the more harmful mistakes can be avoided by hiring an experienced DUI attorney in your area.

Texas DWI Penalties

If you have been arrested for DWI or driving under the influence in any city in Texas, including Austin, Arlington, Dallas, Houston, Caldwell, Calhoun or Callahan County, you may need the assistance of a DUI lawyer.

Did you know that it is illegal in every state to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher? Did you know that if a police officer does not think you can safely operate your vehicle you could be stopped and arrested for driving under the influence in Texas regardless of your blood alcohol concentration level?

A Texas DUI arrest can have severe long-term consequences including: severe penalties, probation, jail time, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device and mandatory alcohol education classes.

If you have been arrested for a DWI in Texas, whether it is your first DUI arrest or you a multiple DWI offender, a DUI lawyer in Texas can help. Most DWI lawyers offer a free initial consultation so they can review all of the DWI evidence for your DWI case before deciding on a plea.

Penalties for DWI in Texas

First offense

The first DWI arrest in Texas is a Class B Misdemeanor and penalties can include the following:

1. Up to 180 days in jail
2. Fines up to $2,000
3. Potential community services for at least 24 hours but not more than 100 hours

Second offense

1. A condition of release by the court may include a mandatory installation of a deep lung machine in the suspect’s car.
2. Fines up to $4,000
3. Jail confinement of no less than 72 hours but no more than one year
4. At least 80 hours of community service but no more than 200 hours
5. License suspension for at least 80 days but less than two years

Third offense

The third DWI arrest in Texas is a third degree felony and penalties can include the following:

1. Fines up to $10,000
2. Prison term for two to ten years
3. Mandatory installation of a deep lung air device is usually ordered as a condition of bond or release
4. Community service must also be completed for 160 to 600 hours
5. Suspension of a driver’s license for 180 days to 2 years
6. Mandatory alcohol treatment programs

Hiring a DWI Lawyer for a DWI arrest in Texas

Texas most frequently uses the term DWI or driving while intoxicated, but regardless of the term used, there are very serious consequences for a DWI arrest. Drivers who are arrested for DWI may also face an Administrative License Suspension in addition to criminal charges.

Drivers who have been arrested should contact a DUI lawyer as soon as possible. DUI lawyers can review the DWI arrest and evaluate whether or not the law enforcement officer followed all the standard procedures and whether the machines which were used to test for DWI were correctly calibrated. DWI arrests have serious consequences and you should not fight your DWI arrest in Texas alone.

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.

Why Hire a New York DWI Lawyer?

Driving while intoxicated is never smart, and unfortunately the mistake will cost you. A DWI (or DUI) lawyer is important because he or she can help you avoid prolonged license suspension, fines, jail time, and other penalties. What should you look for in a DWI lawyer? In the state of New York, a leading cause of death is drinking and driving. The penalties are stiff because of this, making an experienced lawyer essential. This guide explains the costs of drinking and driving, how to prepare a defense, and more.

The Penalties for a First New York DWI
You can expect, without a lawyer, for the maximum penalties to be enforced, even if you plead guilty to the charges. If you plead guilty, you are making it clear the tests were correct, the arrest was correct, and you deserve punishment. A first New York DWI can mean up to a year jail time, fines from $500 to $1,000, a minimum license suspension of 6 months, as well as mandatory alcohol screening and evaluation.

Multiple New York DWI
The more drinking and driving charges you get, the greater the penalties. For example, a third DWI means a felony charge, the highest punishment you can get. You can get jail time from 10 days to as much as 7 years. You face fines of at least $2,000, and can expect a license suspension of a minimum of 1 year.

What does a lawyer do?
A New York DWI lawyer can allay your fears and help you make a strong defense. There is so much involved in a DWI laws and punishments that it’s crucial to get an experienced lawyer. He or she defends you in court, questions the arrest, challenges any BAC (blood alcohol content) tests, and can help you either defeat the charges or get lesser penalties.

How much will it cost?
DWI lawyers can cost more money than you might have. Don’t worry; many are willing to negotiate with fees. Generally you can expect to pay in the thousands for an effective defense. However, the value is clear: spending $5,000 to $10,000 can mean the difference between getting fines or not, keeping your license or losing it for years, and perhaps most importantly avoiding jail time. The costs are relative. And most DWI lawyers offer a free consultation or case review. Ask for references, costs, and how they might defend your case.

Resources for Finding the Right DWI Lawyer
Looking online is perhaps the best way to get a New York DWI lawyer, where you can search from thousands. It can also show you who has experience,who offers free first consultations, who you can afford, and how they actually defend you. You can also ask for references from other lawyers, or even look in the phone book. But if you’re reading this guide, you can use the web for finding your lawyer

Police Evidence in DUI Cases

DUI cases involve abusing drugs or alcohol and driving.  The root cause is most commonly drinking. However, simply being charged with a DUI does not mean guilt is clear. Police collect evidence so that you can be prosecuted in a court of law. What evidence is used?

Your Driving

Your driving is how the majority of DUI cases begin. An officer may become suspicious if he or she notices a car crossing lanes late at night. Or an officer might see someone pull out of a bar going very fast. Officers are trained to look for DUI offenders who swerve between lanes, run stop signs, speed up and slow down, barely avoid accidents, and more. The more damning evidence comes later.

Your Speech
If you can barely put two words together – especially with alcohol on your breath – an officer will obviously have some cause for the arrest. If you had not been drinking but are nervous and speak oddly, it may also lead to more tests. Right when he or she walks up to your car, the common question is “have you been drinking” and the answer is about more than a yes or no: the officer wants to hear you speak.

Field Sobriety Tests (And Little Known Facts)
Walk backwards, hold one foot in the air, count from 99 down, say the alphabet backwards—these are what field sobriety tests do. An officer is likely going to give you a breath test, but the field tests can be used as evidence in court too. Most states have no law saying you have to take field sobriety tests. Though, remember this is different than a breath or blood test, which you will be penalized for not taking.

Breath and Blood Tests
If after some tests the officer has some suspicion of drinking or abusing drugs, the breathalyser test is given. This can seem to be quite damning evidence. However, the blood test is the most accurate test of blood alcohol content. Breathalyzers, though usually accurate, are subject to user error. Even though police officers are trained in using them, errors occur. Also, breathalyzers are the same: there is no separation between man and woman, 100 pound teenager or 250 pound adult.

What You Say
“You have the right to remain silent” is legal lingo with a point. You should bite your tongue and say nothing upon arrest, guilty or not guilty. You will have your day in court. If you confess, you have just given more evidence to the prosecution.

Who can help?

You need an experienced DUI lawyer once you’ve been charged. Every piece of evidence brought against you can and should be questioned. As noted, breathalyzer tests have a history of mistakes. If you have a long record, you face serious charges. And even for first time offenders, license suspension, fines, and even jail time are common. Your lawyer is crucial in avoiding the maximum penalties, and you might be able to disprove much of the evidence and win a not guilty plea.

When Will Your DUI Be a Felony?

Since over 10,000 people die due to DUI every year, it’s understandable state laws are adapting to the growing problem of drinking and driving. One affect of the stiffer laws is being charged with a felony. There are many questions concerning this issue, but for now let’s consider what infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies mean.

An infraction is a minor charge, such as a speeding ticket.
A misdemeanor, a more serious charge, is the term used when there is the potential of a year or less jail time. You may face 30 days in jail, for example, after being charged with your first DUI.
A felony, on the other hand, means you face a year or more jail time.

As you can see, there are differences between felonies and misdemeanors and felonies, namely jail time. However, you also face stiffer penalties on other levels, including: longer license suspension, higher fines, and longer probation.

So which one will you be charged with, a misdemeanor or a felony? It all depends on the state and what exactly happened. It also depends on how effective the defense is. Sometimes charges for a felony fail to stick, such as when you get a second DUI, but misdemeanor charges are made.

Most DUI cases come with misdemeanor charges. Rarely will you be charged with a felony for a first or second DUI. It’s important to note that misdemeanors themselves can be quite strict. You might face months in jail for one charge, while a different charge leads to no jail time.

Felony charges most commonly occur when someone is hurt or endangered. If a death results from a DUI you face a felony, if not vehicular homicide. If you have a long record of DUI charges, you get in an accident, and someone is severely hurt, you often face a felony.

Simply being in an accident where someone is hurt after doing some drinking is no guarantee you will be punished with a felony. A strong DUI defense can at the least lessen your penalties. Defenses can be based on whether you truly were over the limit, whether you made the mistake causing the accident or not, and how the arresting officer acted.

Felony charges for DUI cases may not be common, but with over 10,000 deaths caused by drinking and driving every year, they happen often enough. If you’re unsure of how the legal process works, it’s time to consult with professional legal counsel. Understanding the full scope of misdemeanor or felony charges is something a lawyer can best explain to you.

Questions On DWI

DWI charges can mean jail time, fines, license suspension, probation, and life changing problems.

DWI law is quite complex, from the moment you are pulled over to your court case. That’s what can make an experienced lawyer invaluable, and that’s what leads to our first DWI question.

Do you need a DWI lawyer?
Yes, you always need a lawyer if you’ve been charged with a drinking and driving offense (or charged with operating a vehicle while using drugs). Simply put, it can keep you out of jail, lessen license suspension charges if not eliminate them, stop fines, and more.

Is any lawyer good?
Not all DWI lawyers are equal, unfortunately, though just because one is quite cheap in price does not mean you’ll lose, and higher priced DWI lawyers do not guarantee a win. The best method is to go somewhere in the middle, to pay for value, but to understand that spending tens of thousands in defense is just unrealistic.

How much do DWI lawyers charge?
Costs are either based on flat rate fees for defending DWI or on hourly. You can typically estimate lawyer prices beforehand and get a good idea of who you can afford. If they charge an hourly rate and give an estimate on hours, you can easily compare this with others. If a flat rate, that’s easy to compare too. But note value: if they have experience in and out of the court, in winning, that’s valuable.

What is the difference between DWI, OWI, and DUI?
Different states have different terms. On this blog, we typically use DUI, but generally DUI has the same intent as OWI and DWI: to punish those who drink or abuse drugs in excess and drive. DUI stands for driving under the influence. OWI means operating while intoxicated. And DWI means driving while intoxicated. Each term used the same blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of .08%, has similar charges in terms of jail time and fines and suspensions, and has similar defenses. The only major differences are between state laws.

What should you do if pulled over?

You will likely be asked to take a breathalyzer test if the officer believes you’ve been drinking. This is pretty much the same across all states, where if you refuse you can immediately have your license suspended. If you’re pulled over, the less you say the better. This is not to say you don’t cooperate; only you avoid incriminating yourself.

How do you make a DWI defense?
You make a DWI defense with a DWI lawyer. Yet it’s more complex than that. DWI penalties can be quite stiff, but defenses can be very effective. How you act during the arrest, what your BAC level reads in the breathalyzer and potentially with blood tests, what the officer does, and how good a lawyer you hire all make complicated but winnable.

True, if you avoid abusing drugs or alcohol and driving you have nothing to worry about. But cases where you’re arrested for a DWI and have abused nothing occur all the time. The defense in this instance is based on proof.

Major Reasons to Hire a DWI Lawyer

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) can lead to severe penalties. A DWI is similar in scope to a DUI, with some states differentiating themselves by using different terms. For our purposes, let’s consider them very close legally: you are drinking alcohol or abusing drugs and driving.

One question we hear quite often is when you need to hire a DWI lawyer.

They’re a variety of scenarios. You have no job, and therefore no income. You are guilty of the charges. A court appointed lawyer costs nothing. You are not guilty, but want to defend yourself. If any of these sound wrong, well, it’s because they’re all entirely the wrong reasons. There is no clear reason not to hire a DWI lawyer unless you are a DWI lawyer yourself. Why?

If you have no job, you likely cannot afford to pay the excessive fines, which can  be in the thousands. If you start working again, you won’t be able to drive. If you have no income coming in, sometimes you seem to have no options. We all have access to money, even after filing bankruptcy or losing a job. It’s time to put value on how much you want to stay out of jail, want to keep your drivers license, and want to avoid thousands in fines.

If you are guilty of the charges, it’s easy to say you need no professional DWI lawyer. This is wrong in many respects. Say, for example, you were in fact drinking, but the breathalyzer used tested you as over the limit when actually you were very close to under the limit. Or say that the officer pulled you over for no legal reason – only because he suspected by the look of your car you were a criminal, or because you are a minority, or a woman, or a variety of other reasons. In still other cases, the officer acted incorrectly by never giving you a Miranda, if not abusing your legal rights. These examples can lead to dropped charges, even if you are guilty of drinking and driving, and potentially could lead to some damages. But you need a DWI lawyer.

You may think a court appointed lawyer can handle your case. Using the above example on actually believing your guilty, you decide because of this that you should forgo hiring a lawyer. A court appointed lawyer is almost as bad as defending yourself; they rarely have the time or inclination to properly defend you. A professional DWI lawyer can find holes in the prosecution’s case given time; rarely can a court appointed lawyer with dozens of other cases spend a significant amount of time helping you.

Finally, you can defend yourself. You know your innocence, or know the officer acted wrong, and maybe you know some of the process in handling a court case. Rarely does this work out. Unless you’re a DWI lawyer, you need professional legal representation. You’ll need expert witnesses, to question what happened, to know the local laws, and to know how exactly to handle the court process with the judge and prosecution. There is a reason passing the Bar is very tough; it takes years experience.

If you’re still unsure whether a DWI lawyer can help you, consider that it might actually save you time, money, and a lot of headaches. It’s worth paying the extra money in order to get a professional defense.

New York DWI Terms You Need to Know

Drinking or abusing drugs and driving is quite dangerous anywhere in the world, but in the United States, and specifically New York, driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is punished severely. The problem is there are so many different terms to know. Let’s focus on the New York DWI terms you need to know, what penalties you can expect,  and how you can defend against DWI charges.

This is the broadest term in drinking and driving or abusing drugs and driving in New York law.  However, it bears mentioning because of the confusion with DUI and OWI. DUI is driving under the influence, DWI is driving while intoxicated, and OWI operating while intoxicated. These are the same technical terms for similar laws punishing those who drink or abuse drugs and drive. While state laws differ in terms of punishment, just understand DWI is like a DUI is but is how New York courts term abusing drugs or alcohol and driving.

Aggravated DWI
We’ve gone over “aggravated DUI” on the DUI Law blog many times, and aggravated DWI is pretty much the New York state version. Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is much higher than a standard DWI, in this case .18 or higher. You will be punished for having a BAC over .08, but if you go even higher, you may face felony charge and much stiffer penalties.

This means, according to New York state law, “driving while ability impaired (by alcohol)”, and you have a lesser BAC level, usually from .05 to .07. You may show other signs of obvious impairment. Technically, an officer can arrest you if it’s obvious by your driving that you are intoxicated.

This term is used when the problem is drug abuse, not alcohol. Even legal drugs can lead to a DWI charge if they impair your driving. If you are obviously using other drugs, you can be arrested, and if in possession of illegal drugs, face further charges.


Driving While Ability Impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol. For example, you might mix a legal prescription drug with some alcohol; this is not only dangerous to you, but to other drivers.

Refusing Breathalyzer or Other Tests

In New York, you are penalized for refusing chemical tests, including breath tests and blood tests. Blood tests are the most accurate in terms of drug and alcohol abuse. If you refuse the breathalyzer, your New York license will be suspended for at least one year, you will face fines, and potentially stiffer charges if you’ve received a DWI before.

Zero Tolerance
If you are under 21 years of age, all states can charge you for just having drank any alcohol, even if not on your possession. In New York, if you drive with a alcohol level of .02 to .07, you are charged. The levels are different for some states, but just about any level of drinking can lead to DWI charges.

Defending New York DWI

You first need an experienced DWI lawyer, preferably one close to you. It’s very important to hire your own lawyer instead of using a court appointed lawyer or worse defending yourself. It does cost money, but any defense is based on a knowledge of the laws in terms of court room process and defending charges. Just because you’re charged with a DWI does not mean you will always face penalties; yes, most lead to penalties, but a good defense is invaluable in lessening charges if not having them dropped.

Why Are You Pulled Over for a DWI?

In all states, drinking and driving offenses can lead to some major legal problems. State laws do however differ, and so do some terms. For our purposes, DUI and OWI and DWI, driving under the influence, operating while intoxicated, and driving while intoxicated, mean the same thing: you are driving a vehicle down the road and have high amounts of alcohol or drugs in your system. How these laws are enforced can be quite different from state to state and judge to judge.

But why are you pulled over in the first place? Who can help? Answers to these questions and many more are given in this short guide.

Why are you pulled over?
Typically, an officer pulls you over on either a suspicion you’re drinking because of your driving or because you simply broke a driving law. It can then lead to a DWI case, where you potentially face jail time, fines, license suspension, probation, and mandatory classes.

If you break normal driving laws such as speeding, it does not always mean you will be tested for alcohol. The officer may not suspect this, and you may obviously not be drinking. But if you break a law, perhaps at night, and your driving is odd, the officer may suspect you’re intoxicated. If you swerve in and out of lanes, speed, run a stop sign, or any other way your driving is hurt by intoxication, you will likely be pulled over on sight.

In some cases, the reason for you’re being pulled over is illegal. The officer must have clear suspicion you’re drinking, but may pull you over for no reason other than because you are a minority or you have a certain type of car. This can be hard to prove, but it does occur.

What if you refuse a breathalyzer or other sobriety test?
If you’re pulled over and refuse a breathalyzer test, your license will immediately be suspended. Many state laws punish you less if you take the breathalyzer and fail rather than refusing and being charged. Also, other sobriety tests, such as walking a straight line, can legally be refused with no punishment, though it depends on the state.

If you refuse a breathalyzer, in most cases you face charges.  It’s then time to contact an attorney.

What if you are on medication?

Drinking and driving is not the only DWI offense; you may be using illegal drugs, or using legal ones which you shouldn’t be taking while driving. If you take even a legal drug which impairs your driving, you can by law be charged with a DWI.

What charges do you face?
Typically, punishments are the first thing on your mind once you’re pulled over and know you’re intoxicated. Unfortunately, penalties are very high, though lesser for first time offenders. For a first offense, you can expect your license to be suspended for six months to a year, to pay some fines, to stay in jail for a few days, face probation, and be required to take some classes on driving. The more charges you get, the more penalties you receive. If you are a repeat offender, you may even face prison time because of felony charges.

Who can help you?
You have rights in any DWI case, and one key right is told to you upon arrest. You have the right to an attorney. You cannot do this alone. Attorneys are not free, but no matter the offense, no matter if you’re innocent or guilty, you need to pay the fee. However, not all DWI attorneys have the time, experience, and knowledge to defend you. Be thorough in comparing rates, experience, and time to help.