What is the Texas process for a DWI arrest? 2 Answers as of August 11, 2011Our son was arrested and charged with DWI? What should we do now? We have no experience with anything like this and don't know where to begin. He is 23. This is his first offense. Also, what is the difference between DUI and DWI?
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
My first question is did he refuse the breathalyzer? If so, he received a yellow sheet of paper at the police station called a DIC24 - it is the Statutory Warnings and Notice of Automatic Driver's License Suspension for failure to provide breathe test. You/your son has 10 days (that is calendar days, not business days) to file a Request for Administrative Hearing on the Automatic suspension. If you send in the request (a lawyer who knows anything about DWI law knows this, and if you hire a lawyer that does not know this . . . go get another lawyer) the "automatic" part is removed. The suspension will not happen until after the hearing. The hearing has two benefits - one: it can save the license, but that is not likely the burden is very low; and two: it is a chance to get the arresting officer under oath and make him commit to the purpose of the stop, back up or back off of his reported statements, and otherwise gather some really good evidence to use at trial. Keep in mind, win at the ALR and the trial will not just go away, but the chances of dismissal become much greater. THIS 10 DAY DEADLINE IS CARVED IN STONE - DO NOT DELAY. Regardless of the breathe test or refusal, you need skilled trial counsel to help and get local counsel. I handle DWI cases in Collin County (Plano, Frisco, Allen McKinney) and although I do handle family law cases in Dallas, I do not go to Dallas for DWI cases. There is a reason for this so trust me when I say, get an experienced local attorney. If your son was arrested in Collin County, I would love to talk to you and earn your business. Otherwise, I strongly recommend you find a qualified local lawyer and the sooner the better. AS for the difference between DUI and DWI - for punishment purposes there is no difference. We use DUI to mean cases in which the driver is "under the influence" of drugs, alcohol, or some intoxicant. A minor with any amount of alcohol on his/her breathe is DUI, and adult is DUI if the are not "legally intoxicated" but have impaired abilities due to the introduction of an intoxicant. DWI is used when the person is "legally intoxicated" meaning a blood alcohol content over .08%. It is really just symantics and at the end of the day the distinction is minimal.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
DUI is not applicable to your son. It is driving under the influence of alcohol while being under 21. DWI is driving while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or a combination. Intoxication is the loss of the normal use of mental and / or physical faculties due to the introduction of those substances (and not because tired, sleepy, stressed, etc.) .08 is presumptive in Texas, although even if one blows .08 one can still be found not guilty. You need to hire a lawyer immediately. He has 15 days in which to request a hearing on his driver's license matter. (ALR hearing) This needs to be done in the event that he is going to have a trial on the DWI as it will provide discovery on the case for the lawyer representing him. (Note that the driver's license situation & the DIW are separate. Even if the DWI got dismissed, the driver's license matter would proceed. When one receives a TDL, one agrees to take a breath test and pass if requested. One can withdraw that agreement if requested, or fail, but there is a consequence. If he refused the test, his license will be suspended for 6 months. If he failed it, it will be suspended fro 3 months. Suspension assumes that they can prove what they need to at the hearing, which generally they can.) First offender DWI is a Class B misdemeanor and carries up to 6 months in jail & $2,000. Importantly, the consequences for future DWIs go up. A 2nd is a Class A misdemeanor & carries up to 1 year in jail / $4,000 fine. A third DWI is a felony, etc. There is only one first if he pleads guilty.(There are other consequences, too, including another license suspension fora year if he does not get probation; higher insurance; surcharge etc.) It is best to get the advice of someone who is very knowledgeable about DWI, and have them review the evidence including the offense report and video to make a recommendation on how to proceed. It will cost a pretty penny but it is important. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Texas