DWI Dismissed: How to Get DWI Charges Dropped in Texas (Step by Step)
A charge of DWI can result in significant penalties if you are convicted. If you get pulled over for driving while intoxicated, you may face losing your license. In some cases, it can also mean significant fines and even jail time.
Fortunately, a DWI charge does not yet mean conviction. There are several steps you can take to increase your odds of having a DWI charge dropped.
What Counts as a DWI in Texas?
According to Texas law, a blood alcohol concentration of .08 counts is considered intoxicated. However, that isn’t the only consideration. Some people may notice that drugs or alcohol impact their driving ability long before they reach the legal limit. You may receive a DWI for intoxicated driving in cases where:
- You took a prescription medication that negatively impacted your ability to drive.
- You took an over-the-counter medication, including cold and flu medication, that negatively impacted your ability to drive.
- You consumed enough alcohol that it prevented you from driving safely.
- You took illegal drugs that caused you to drive or behave unsafely.
Drivers under the age of 21 cannot legally drive with any amount of alcohol in their system in Texas and may face extreme consequences for underage alcohol consumption and driving.
What Happens to Your License After a DWI Arrest?
Texas law can lead to a license suspension that could last anywhere from 90 days to one year after a DWI conviction. For repeat offenders, you may end up losing your license for up to two years.
If you face a DWI arrest, the arresting officer may confiscate your driver’s license and issue a Notice of Suspension. However, note that you may have time before that automatic suspension begins. In general, you will have 40 days after a DWI arrest before that suspension begins. Taking the right actions can help many drivers avoid severe legal consequences associated with license suspension.
ALR Hearing: Next Steps After Arrest
In some cases, following a DWI arrest, you may have the right to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. During an ALR hearing, you can contest license suspension and/or disqualification. You will need to request that hearing within 15 days after your DWI arrest.
Scrutinizing The Arrest
During an ALR hearing, the court will scrutinize the conditions that led to the arrest to ensure that everything went according to proper legal procedure. An officer may have pulled you over and asked a series of questions to help determine whether you showed any signs of intoxication. If you do show signs of intoxication, the officer may ask you to perform field sobriety checks or may ask you to take a breath test. The court will seek to determine whether the arresting officer engaged in any inappropriate behavior during the arrest, including failing to maintain a lawful chain of evidence.
Blood Test Results Called Into Question
In many cases, a DWI conviction will hinge heavily on blood test results. These blood test results will serve to establish your blood alcohol content or the level of any drugs in your blood at the time of your arrest. During the ALR hearing, your attorney will work to question those results. This may mean:
- Calling into question the integrity of the testing methods. In some cases, the testing sample may become contaminated. Breathalyzer results may also not be fully accurate.
- Questioning the chain of evidence. If evidence does not get stored and transmitted properly, the accuracy of the results could be called into question. Furthermore, if the officer does not enter those results into evidence properly, it could mean that those results are inadmissible.
- Questioning how the results were obtained. In some cases, officers may illegally obtain blood test results, which could make that evidence inadmissible in court.
Your lawyer can help you determine the best method for questioning test results and other information that could work against you as you seek to keep your license after a DWI arrest.
Arresting Officer Testimony
The arresting officer’s testimony could prove highly important after a DWI arrest. The arresting officer will need to testify about why you were stopped and any other information related to the arrest. The officer may, for example, note that you were driving erratically, or that you did not adhere to traffic signals. Sometimes, officers may not provide accurate information about a traffic stop or DWI arrest, so having a lawyer help with questioning can prove critical.
The Importance of Having an Experienced Attorney
Dealing with a DWI arrest can be catastrophic. Losing your license can mean not only losing your freedom and ability to get yourself around, but for some people, it may mean losing their job. An attorney can offer a great deal of assistance throughout the process.
An Attorney Knows How the System Works
When you have a DWI arrest that you need to fight, you need someone on your side who knows how the system works and can help you navigate it successfully. A DWI attorney has navigated that process many times and can help give you a better idea of what will come next and how you can fight for your right to keep your license.
An Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights
After a DWI arrest, you can lose many of your rights. You can lose your license, end up paying heavy fines, and even lose your freedom if you end up jailed for a DWI conviction. With an attorney, however, many people find that they can better protect their rights. An attorney can help fight a DWI conviction, provide people with more information about their rights and protections, and help find strategies that can make it easier to protect those freedoms, including strategies like a limited license.
Understanding the Pitfalls
A DWI conviction can mean an immense loss of personal freedoms. It can mean:
- License loss
- Jail time
Fighting DWI charges and getting them dropped can make a huge difference in many people’s lives. A lawyer can offer the tools necessary to help avoid that conviction and protect your personal freedoms.