If you have been arrested for DWI, there are many decisions that you will have to make quickly. But the most important decision you make is the decision to hire a DWI Defense Attorney. As a passionate DWI Defense Lawyer, Paul Saputo will guide you through every step of the way and aggressively defend you, protecting your legal rights with innovative DWI defense strategies and cutting-edge science and forensic technology to advance your case and confront the state’s attorneys.
DWI DEFENSE ATTORNEY FAQs
Learn More about DWI:
Have you been charged with a Drunk Driving crime? Call DWI defense lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.
The penalties for a DWI conviction can be severe. The punishment for a DWI conviction is probably the most serious of any misdemeanor offense in Texas. This is why we go to great lengths to defend you and challenge every aspect of the case. Before you decide to take a plea deal, call us. We strive to obtain the best possible outcomes for our DWI defense clients, and we promise to aggressively represent you to ensure that every angle in your case has been examined.
If you have been arrested for DWI or any other “drunk driving” offense, the lawyers at the Saputo Law Firm are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to defend you and protect your rights. We handle every aspect of your DWI reprsentation, from your license suspension issues (like representing you at your ALR hearing to fight the license suspension & obtaining an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL) to keep you driving no matter what) to your DWI criminal defense in the county criminal and district courts.
We conduct independent investigations, analyze videos of the administration of your field sobriety tests, and challenge blood and breath tests. Ultimately we prepare a detailed and comprehensive body of evidence to protect your rights.
The ALR Hearing (the civil case) & the Criminal Prosecution (the criminal case)
When you are arrested for a DWI offense in Texas, there are usually two separate cases that will be filed against you. The first one is a civil case in which the state will try to suspend your driver’s license. The second case is a criminal DWI charge in which the state attempts to convict you of a DWI crime and sentence you to a criminal punishment. Read about the civil case below or skip to the criminal case
Your license is NOT automatically suspended due to a DWI arrest. This is the most frequent confusion that our clients have, and for good reason: if the police take away your license, they usually issue you a DIC-25 which says on the top, “Notice of Suspension.” However, this is misleading. You are entitled to a hearing on the state’s attempt to take away your license. This hearing is called an ALR Hearing. Your license will be suspended only if you either fail to request the ALR hearing or you lose the hearing. Do not fail to properly request the ALR Hearing. We highly recommend that we do this for you, but there is a tight deadline to request the hearing.
The police usually only take your license away if you either refused to consent to a breath test or blood test after a DWI arrest or if you consented then failed a breath test or blood test after a DWI arrest. However, if you request the ALR Hearing, the state (through DPS) has to convince an administrative court (SOAH) that the police had a good reason to conduct a DWI investigation (usually done through reasonable suspicion of a DWI stop or traffic violation) and probable cause to arrest you. However, the burden of proof for this hearing is very low, and it is easy for the state to win if you do not know what you are doing. Do not do this hearing alone without a lawyer. It will not work out well for you. We see this all the time.
If your driving privileges are suspended, then you will probably want us to help you get an occupational driver’s license so that you can drive for all your “essential needs.” Learn more about Occupational Driver’s Licenses
If you consented to a blood draw, the police should have given you your license back after the blood draw. The state will only attempt to suspend your license if the blood results come back over the legal limit. Note that in such a case, your window for requesting the ALR hearing is shorter. Also, make sure that you check your mail. DPS will mail you the letter.
The more serious case is the criminal DWI case arising out of the DWI charge. The state will charge you with either DWI 1st, DWI 2nd, DWI 3rd or more, Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter. But there are also a slew of enhancements that are possible. The punishment for a DWI, if and only if you are convicted, could include a driver’s license suspension, probation, jail time, and prison time, depending on which offense you are charged with and which enhancements are included. Common enhancements are the open container enhancement, a blood alcohol concentration of over .15 and DWI with child passenger.Learn more about DWI penalties
Just because you are arrested does not mean that you are Guilty. Do NOT plead Guilty before consulting us. Also, if you are worried that you may have “accidentally” plead guilty because you said something to a judge or a police officer the night of or the day after your DWI arrest, don’t worry: you haven’t. Call us as possible to discuss your charge with our DWI Defense Attorney.
After you bail out of jail, you will be given a court date. Counties notify you of the court date in different ways, and sometimes your bail bonds company will know about the court date before you do. You will eventually have a series of court dates. These dates are not the same thing as a trial. The first court dates are usually intended for the attorneys to meet and share information. Your DWI Defense attorney will receive what’s called “discovery evidence” from the state, and the state prosecutors will usually make a “plea bargain offer” to entice you to plead guilty without a trial. Do not plead guilty without contacting us first. the state cannot force you to plea guilty and accept the plea bargain offer.
Unless your case is dismissed, there are only two outcomes in a criminal DWI case. You will either go to trial or plead guilty. You are entitled to a trial on a DWI charge if you want a trial. If you plead guilty, you cannot take it back at a later date. If you plead guilty, it will always be on your record. There are NO exceptions (OK, technically there are exceptions, but it is almost impossible). If you plead guilty, you will have surcharges of $1000 per year or more on your license in addition to many other “non-criminal” penalties.
Winning a DWI case is not just a matter of argument. The state of Texas takes DWI crimes seriously, and you will inevitably be confronted with a pile of seemingly insurmountable evidence. However, this evidence may not appear to be what you think it is or what the state prosecutors tell you it is. It takes an experienced and sometimes creative eye to look through the evidence and find out where the faults lie.
Every DWI investigation inherently relies on science, and science is not perfect. You should retain a serious DWI Attorney to represent you so that you can analyze the evidence through the most recent DWI science and law. The state prosecutors are not going to help you get rid of a charge. Your DWI defense attorney should be your advocate in and out of court to help you get a good resolution to your case.
DWI Defense Strategies
DWI Legal Defense usually boils down to attacking the state’s evidence on one or more of the following fronts:
- Scientifically Unsound Blood Test Results
- Scientifically Unsound Breath Test Results
- Rising Alcohol Level
- No Probable Cause for Arrest
- Failure to Obtain a Warrant
If you were arrested for a DWI offense, chances are that you have received a notice that your license is subject to suspension because you either failed or refused to take a breath test or blood test. If you have received this notice, then you are entitled to have an ALR hearing to contest your license suspension. However, if you do not timely and properly request this hearing, then you will lose this valuable opportunity to contest your license suspension.
If your license is being threatened with suspension, we can represent you in the administrative license hearings (ALR hearings) that determine whether your license will be suspended. We represent all of our DWI clients in these ALR Hearings, and we can do this for you, too. If you call us soon after your DWI arrest, we can do everything for you, including requesting the hearing, subpoenaing the police officers who arrested you and representing you in person at hearing. Learn more about ALR Hearings and License Suspensions
If you fail to timely or properly request a hearing, or if you have a hearing and the judge determines that you were above the legal limit at the time that you were driving, then your license will be suspended through the administrative SOAH court. If you license is suspended, you may be eligible to receive an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL). Learn more information about Occupational Driver’s Licenses and how you can get your one
Drunk Driving and DWI Offenses are found in Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code under the title of “INTOXICATION AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE OFFENSES.” These intoxication offenses include the following:
- Public Intoxication
- Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle
- Driving While Intoxicated
- Driving While Intoxicated with Child Passenger
- Flying While Intoxicated
- Boating While Intoxicated
- Assembling or Operating an Amusement Ride While Intoxicated
- Intoxication Assault
- Intoxication Manslaughter
A related offense that does not require you to be “drunk” or otherwise “intoxicated” is Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by Minor or (DUI). This offense only applies to people under the age of 21. Learn more about the DUI offense here
Some “drunk driving” offenses do not require the operation of motor vehicles, and some do not even involve ‘driving.” These include Boating While Intoxicated, Flying While Intoxicated and Assembling or Operating an Amusement Ride While Intoxicated.
Section 49.06 of the Texas Penal Code describes Boating while Intoxicated. Boating While Intoxicated is defined as follows: “A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a watercraft.” Obviously, this is very similar to a DWI offense, but it is technically a separate statutory offense, an it does not require a “motor vehicle.”
You can also be charged with Flying While Intoxicated under the offense described in Section 49.05 of the Texas Penal Code. Flying While Intoxicated is defined as follows: “A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating an aircraft.”
Assembling or Operating an Amusement Ride While Intoxicated is an offense described in Section 49.065 of the Texas Penal Code as an offense where “a person is intoxicated while operating an amusement ride or while assembling a mobile amusement ride.” Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter do not require the operation of a motor vehicle if the person is charged with operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated.”