What To Do When You Get a DWI
Getting My First DWI: What’s Going to Happen to Me?
It seems almost predestined that the blue-and-red flashing lights pierce the darkness. Your emotions go into a tailspin — did you accidentally cross over the center line? Did you you suddenly dip ten miles below the speed limit? Is your tail light shot? By the grace of God, your next actions happen mechanically: gradually you slow down, signal right to indicate you're pulling onto the curb, come to a gentle stop, and remove the keys from the ignition. You can even focus calmly on the faint sunrise glowing over the horizon.
You make even more mental lists. The cop is going to ask you why you're driving so late and/or where you're going. Do you have your:
- Driver’s license;
- Registration; and
- Proof of insurance?
It would be terrible to be charged with extra offenses you'll have to pay for later. The cop car's bright white headlights flood every inch of your car's interior. You pull down the mirror and see those incriminating red eyes, but at least you don't have all of the following checked:
- bloodshot eyes
- slurred speech
- the smell of alcohol (you hope)
- scrambling around for your license, registration, and/or insurance
At this point, you may have accepted the inevitable. The smart thing to do now is to find a lawyer who can effectively mitigate the damaging effects to your criminal record as well as your driving record. That’s where I come in. Read on to discover how I can help you avoid conviction and/or retain your driver’s license.
What Happens After Getting Arrested for DWI?
You’re probably aware that Texas is an “implied consent” state, meaning that if you show signs of intoxication while operating a motor vehicle, law enforcement will infer that you consented to a breathalyzer test when you received your driver's license. In Texas, the cop can arrest you for suspicion of DWI based on his/her opinion ONLY - he/she doesn't even need a breath or blood test to arrest you! The state will charge you with a DWI, and the Texas Department of Public Safety will do everything in its power to suspend your driver's license.
License Suspension: How to Prevent It and/or Alleviate the Suspension
Keep in mind that if you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test, you can be subject to fines and a suspension of your driver's license. You may believe that your license automatically gets suspended at the time of your arrest, but that is not true — in our state, you have 15 days following your arrest to request an Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR). License suspensions can last anywhere from 90 days to 2 years; that's why it's of vital importance that you to contact an attorney as soon as you're able. With the right legal guidance, you can substantially limit the amount of time of your license suspension, or avoid a suspension completely.
But you need to act quickly, if not immediately. This 15-day window is final. If you miss it, there is no appeal. It's best to call a lawyer immediately following your arrest — while you're allowed your one phone call in jail. At the very least, you can call to request a family member to post bail for you and make the call to your lawyer on your behalf.
Take Charge and Nip Bad Habits in the Bud
Strangely enough, you realize the prospect of coming clean is somewhat welcome; now you can focus on doing whatever you need to do to put this in the past — including taking steps to prevent getting another DWI. After all, consequences worsen drastically in the event of a second or third DWI charge.
In many cases, people who come in seeking help with a DWI are dealing with their first such offense. If this happens to be you, I understand you may be worried about lasting charges on your record and whether your license will be suspended for a long time.
Minors Have Different Obligations to Fulfill After a "DUI"
Circumstances for minors and alcohol on the road are a little different in Texas. If a minor tests positive for any detectable amount of alcohol, he/she will be charged with a DUI due to Texas's zero-tolerance policy. Obviously, the legal drinking age is 21. In cases of a first DUI offense, you may be subject to the following consequences:
- License suspension of up to a year
- Up to $500 in fines your parents may have to pay
- Completion of a 12-hour alcohol education program
- 180 more days of license suspension if you don't complete the education program
- Alternatively, you may be given community service in addition to 90 days of license suspension
Experienced, Efficient DWI Representation in Houston
If you're dealing with a DWI, it's clear that you need to act immediately for your best possible outcome. Don't hesitate to contact me to schedule a free consultation.