Arrested for DWI in Texas? Here are 50 Facts You Need to Know.

Essential Information and Strategies for Defending Against a Texas DWI Charge

Facing a DWI charge in Texas can be a daunting experience, with numerous legal intricacies and potential consequences. Understanding the key facts, legal requirements, and defense strategies is essential for anyone in this situation. The following sections provide critical information about Texas DWI laws, what the prosecution must prove, defense tactics, and more.

6 Facts that MUST be Proven Before You Can Be Found Guilty of a Texas DWI

To secure a conviction for a DWI in Texas, the State must prove six specific facts beyond a reasonable doubt. These include confirming your identity, proving you operated a vehicle in a public place within a specific Texas county, and demonstrating that your blood or breath alcohol level exceeded the legal limit or that your mental or physical faculties were impaired.

  1. Your Identity;
  2. You were operating a motor vehicle;
  3. In a public place;
  4. In a specific county (i.e., Collin, Denton, Dallas, etc.) in the state of Texas;
  5. Your blood or breath alcohol level was over the legal limit; OR
  6. You did not have the normal use of your mental or physical faculties.

8 Things the Prosecuting Attorney Doesn’t Want You to Know

There are several crucial pieces of information that prosecutors may prefer you remain unaware of. These include the challenges they might face in proving their case, the availability of exculpatory evidence, and potential evidentiary issues. Knowing these can significantly impact your defense strategy.

  1. His boss won’t let him offer you a reduction of your charge even though they don’t have a very strong case;
  2. It doesn’t matter if he believes your story, he will try to convict you anyway;
  3. It is much harder for him to convict you if you refused all sobriety tests and did not give a breath or blood test;
  4. He does not have all the necessary witnesses available to prove your case at trial;
  5. He has evidentiary problems that will hurt the State’s case at your trial;
  6. He has exculpatory evidence which would prove your innocence;
  7. Because of problems with your case, he plans on dismissing it if you set it for trial;
  8. He is not telling you any of the above because he is attempting to BLUFF you into a plea of guilty.

What You Must Do Immediately to Preserve Your Right to Drive

Following a DWI arrest, there are immediate steps you must take to contest the suspension of your driver’s license. This section outlines the importance of requesting an ALR hearing within 15 days of your arrest and the procedures involved in preserving your driving privileges.

  1. The arresting officer should have provided you with paperwork about the suspension of your driver’s license (DIC-24 statutory warning form);
  2. You have 15 days from the day of your arrest to request an ALR hearing to contest the suspension of your license or your license will be AUTOMATICALLY SUSPENDED;
  3. If you do not request an ALR hearing within 15 days of your arrest, there is no way to save your license from being suspended.

The request for an ALR hearing must be done according to SOAH (State Office of Administrative Hearings) rules. As a courtesy, my office will request your ALR hearing free of charge if you contact us for an interview.

10 Questions Your Attorney Must Ask You About Your DWI

A thorough defense begins with your attorney asking detailed questions about the circumstances surrounding your arrest. These questions cover your activities prior to the arrest, your interaction with law enforcement, and any tests you may have undergone. This information is crucial for building a strong defense.

  1. What you were doing the day of and immediately prior to, your arrest;
  2. How much, and what type, of alcohol you consumed;
  3. Your observations of the arresting officer(s);
  4. The officers’ stated reason for stopping you;
  5. Whether the officer asked or ordered you to perform roadside tests (SFSTs);
  6. Your opinion of your performance on the roadside tests;
  7. What statements you made to the officer(s);
  8. The results of any breath or blood tests;
  9. Whether there were any witnesses to your arrest;
  10. Whether or not you were observed by the officer(s) for at least 15 minutes prior to a breath test.

5 Essential Items for a Proper Defense of Your Texas DWI

An effective defense against a DWI charge requires several key components. This includes having an experienced attorney, a thorough investigation, and a well-crafted cross-examination strategy. These elements are vital to challenging the prosecution’s case and protecting your rights.

  1. An attorney who is knowledgeable and well-practiced in the area of Texas DWI law;
  2. An attorney with a good reputation and actual trial experience;
  3. A good investigation of the facts of your case;
  4. A vigorous, well-crafted, cross-examination;
  5. An attorney with a sound understanding of constitutional principles and an ability to relate those principles to the jury.

4 Preliminary Motions That Must Be Filed Prior to a DWI Trial

Filing specific pre-trial motions is essential to safeguard your rights and potentially dismiss the case. These motions address issues such as unconstitutional stops, searches, and the admissibility of statements and evidence. Failure to file these motions can significantly harm your defense.

  1. Motion to Suppress Evidence on the ground that you were unconstitutionally stopped;
  2. Motion to Suppress Evidence on the grounds that there was an unconstitutional search and seizure;
  3. Motion to Suppress Statements on failure to give Miranda rights;
  4. Motion for Discovery of all evidence the State intends to use against you at trial.

Failure to file any of the above motions may prevent your case from being dismissed when it should have been. In addition, failing to file these motions may prevent you from being told about evidence that would tend to prove your innocence.

7 Defense Tactics That May Be Used to Win Your Case Prior to Trial

Various pre-trial motions can contest the constitutionality of searches, seizures, and the administration of sobriety tests. Successfully challenging these aspects can weaken the prosecution’s case and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

  1. Contest the constitutionality of any search and seizure of your person;
  2. Contest the constitutionality of your stop;
  3. Contest the constitutionality of the administration of roadside tests (SFSTs);
  4. Contest the constitutionality of the probable cause of your arrest;
  5. Contest the constitutionality of the reading or lack thereof, of your Miranda rights;
  6. Contest the manner in which roadside tests were administered by the officer;
  7. Contest the use of any blood or breath test.

2 Key Pieces of Information That Must Be Learned Prior to Setting Your DWI for Trial

Before proceeding to trial, it’s crucial to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the State’s case and understand the potential impact of a DWI conviction on your personal and professional life. This assessment will inform your decision on whether to go to trial or seek an alternative resolution.

  1. A proper evaluation and estimation of the strengths and weaknesses of the State’s case against you;
  2. The effect a DWI conviction will have against your personal and professional life and future.

How Can an Arresting Officer’s Testimony Be Discredited?

Discrediting the arresting officer’s testimony can be a powerful defense tactic. This can be achieved by highlighting inconsistencies, errors in administering sobriety tests, or failures to properly document the arrest. Effective cross-examination can reveal these weaknesses.

  1. By his inconsistent statements, his failure to record all the facts in his report, or his failure to properly recollect the facts of your arrest;
  2. By his inability to conduct the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in the prescribed manner;
  3. By cross-examining the officer and making him admit that he made a mistake.

How Can You Get a Jury Trial for Your Texas DWI?

You have an absolute right to a jury trial for any criminal case, including a DWI. Requesting a jury trial involves a straightforward process that your attorney can handle, ensuring that your case is evaluated by a group of your peers.

  1. According to the law, you have an absolute right to a jury trial for any criminal case, including a Texas DWI;
  2. To get a jury trial for your Texas DWI, you or your attorney must simply request one from the court.

Why a Jury Trial May Be Advisable for Your Texas DWI

Opting for a jury trial can increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Unlike a judge, a jury of six people must unanimously agree on your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This section explains the advantages of choosing a jury trial and the potential benefits it offers.

  1. Simply put, if you plead guilty, you have zero (0) chance of winning your case. Regardless of the facts of your case, you always have a chance at winning if you set your case for a trial. As we have reported here before, many things can happen to torpedo the State’s case against you. Witnesses may not show, or if they do, they may be unprepared, evidence may be lost or ruled inadmissible, or you may get a favorable jury. Any of these facts, and many others, are reasons why it is advisable to set your Texas DWI for a jury trial;
  2. At trial, 6 people have to agree, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you are guilty instead of having a judge or prosecutor decide if you are guilty or not;
  3. Jurors have real-life experiences that may make them sympathetic to you and your situation.

What Effect Will a DWI Arrest Have on My Driver’s License and When Will I Be Able to Drive?

A DWI arrest can lead to the suspension of your driver’s license, with varying durations depending on whether you submitted to or refused a breath test. Understanding these consequences and the possibility of obtaining an occupational license is crucial for managing your driving privileges post-arrest.

  1. If your blood alcohol concentration was over the legal limit or you refused a test, you may not be able to drive at all for a long period of time;
  2. If you refused a breath test, your license may be suspended for 6 months (180 days);
  3. If you submitted to a breath test and you were over .08, then your license may be suspended for 3 months (90 days);
  4. Keep in mind: If your license is suspended, you may be granted an occupational license;
  5. HOWEVER: If you have prior DWI contact with law enforcement or if your license has previously been suspended, there may be a waiting period before the court will grant you an occupational license.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of what you need to know if you are facing a DWI charge in Texas. From understanding the legal requirements to implementing effective defense strategies, being well-informed is your first step toward navigating this challenging situation.