We have devoted thousands of attorney hours practicing DWI Defense across the state of Texas, and we have invested heavily in compiling the best resources in DWI law and defense strategies. We wanted to share our expertise, so we put this page together as a resource for DWI Defense attorneys in Texas and across the country, as well as for people who have been arrested and are looking to learn more about how to beat their case or others who just want to learn more about the process.
DWI DEFENSE FAQs
- Have you been arrested for a DWI? Here’s what you need to know.
- Can we beat a blood test? Can we beat a breath test? (hint: YES)
- What happens to my driver’s license if I’ve been arrested for DWI? Can I keep driving after I have been arrested for DWI? What is an ALR Hearing?
- How can I win a DWI case?
- The DWI Process
- The Science of Intoxication and DWI Investigation
- Field Sobriety Testing
- What are the consequences of a DWI conviction in Texas?
Learn more about attorney Paul Saputo and our DWI Defense practice below, or skip to our DWI Defense Guide.
Paul Saputo is an award-winning, results-driven DWI Defense lawyer who has a reputation for defending and winning even some of the most difficult and complex DWI cases across across Texas.
Paul has developed innovative DWI defense strategies that have led to dismissals and NOT GUILTY verdicts across Texas, and his comprehensive, client-focused service makes facing off with the government much less stressful. He has never sold out by joining the district attorney’s office and has staked his reputation on winning over judges and juries across Texas.
We’re not just DWI Defense lawyers, we are warriors fighting unjust and corrupt government prosecutions with a history of success and a reputation for
tenacity, courage and legal ingenuity
We understand the situation you may find yourself in after a DWI arrest. The penalties for a DWI conviction can be severe. We defend you and inspect every detail of your case. We promise to aggressively fight back against the government. It’s not just a promise, it’s our mantra: JUST WIN.
Our full-service DWI Defense practice handles every aspect of your case, from fighting the initial license suspension and obtaining your occupational driver’s license, to pre-trial motions and investigation, all the way through trial, our firm will guide you through every step of the way and aggressively defend you. We conduct independent investigations, analyze videos of the administration of your field sobriety tests, and challenge blood and breath tests. We are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to defend you and protect your rights with innovative DWI defense strategies and cutting-edge science and forensic technology to advance your case and confront the state’s attorneys.
“Best Lawyers” -D Magazine. “Rising Star” -Super Lawyers. “NOT GUILTY” -juries across the state of Texas. These are just a few accomplishment of DWI Defense attorney Paul Saputo, the Duke Law School alumnus and trial lawyer based in Dallas…
PAUL SAPUTO IS THE ONLY LAYWER TO CHOOSE WHEN YOU NEED THE BEST!!!? Paul and his entire team are some the best people I’ve ever met. Paul took my case and had all charges dismissed. You can’t ask for anything more from a laywer. Paul and his staff make you feel like family. They all are always keeping you apprised of the status of your case. Paul owns your case as if it was his own. If I could rate them invaluable I would. Thank you for the time, care, ownership, diligence, communication and commitment to resolving my case beyond my expectations. EXCELLENT!!!!
I call him “Paul The Great”! Paul is beyond a shadow of a doubt an attorney I would recommend to anyone who needs an intelligent and knowledgeable fighter, and one who cares about his own reputation. This man is fighting a case with me now, and I literally am watching him in action! Best of luck to you all, your future is bright, we must adjust right.
Paul Saputo is an excellent criminal attorney. I had a great experience having him as my attorney for my DWI case. My case went to trial and I got the best representation from him in court. He did an excellent job and got my case dismissed (Not Guilty) I would HIGHLY recommend him, he did an excellent job beyond my expectations.
– Actual client reviews posted on Avvo.com and Google
Have you been charged with a DWI? Book a consultation to discuss legal representation with criminal defense attorney Paul Saputo today.
Have you been arrested for a DWI? Here’s what you need to know.
When you are arrested for a DWI offense in Texas, there are usually two separate cases that the state’s attorneys wil file against you. The first one is a civil “ALR” case in which the state will try to suspend your driver’s license. The second case is a criminal DWI charge in which state prosecutors will attempt to convict you of a DWI crime and subject you to criminal punishment. Skip here to learn more about the civil case, including the ALR hearing and what happens to your license here or continue reading below to learn more about the criminal case.In the criminal prosecution, the state can charge you with one of the Driving While Intoxicated offenses – DWI 1st, DWI 2nd, DWI 3rd or more – or Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter.
There are also a slew of enhancements that are possible. If you’re convicted of a Driving While Intoxicated offense, the criminal punishment 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 include the “open container” enhancement and the enhancement for having a blood alcohol concentration over .15. Learn more about DWI penalties and consequences of conviction
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 lawyer 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.
Can we beat a blood test? Can we beat a breath test? (hint: YES)
As a DWI Defense lawyer, I’m always getting asked whether we can beat breath tests and blood tests. The answer: WE DO IT ALL THE TIME. The reality is that breath tests are unreliable, and blood tests are often meaningless for the purposes of DWI prosecution.
If you have been arrested and charged with a DWI offense, you will inevitably be confronted with a pile of seemingly insurmountable scientific 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.
The state prosecutors are not going to help you get rid of a charge. Every DWI investigation inherently relies on science, and science is not perfect. Look, our job is to analyze the evidence through the most recent DWI science and law. We have returned NOT GUILTY verdicts in cases where the blood score was over THREE TIMES the legal limit. How is this possible? It’s not magic. It’s the product of research, preparation, experience, and frankly, talent. The state uses all of the same tools against you. They tell a story that is their version of reality, even if it’s not the complete picture.
DWI Defense Strategies
DWI Defense Topics Compendium
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
Learn more about DWI Defense Strategies
What happens to my driver’s license if I’ve been arrested for DWI? Can I keep driving after I have been arrested for DWI? What is an ALR Hearing?
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.
How can I win a DWI case?
Defending people against DWI charges typically involves countering the state’s evidence regarding blood tests, breath tests and the police accounts of performance on “Field Sobriety Tests.” DWI defense strategies, therefore, are frequently scientific in nature. Learn more about DWI Science
However, defense strategies also frequently involve interpersonal analysis and investigation. Police officers and others involved in the DWI investigation are, in the end, human. And being human, they are subject to the same weaknesses as other human beings. Police officers sometimes lie and cut corners, and sometimes, unfortunately, do the scientists.
Whether or not you did something dumb does not mean that you committed a crime. DWI offenses are crimes, and you should only be guilty of a crime if you did exactly what the crime alleges, and nothing less. Therefore, do not plead guilty just because you did something dumb like drinking and driving. Believe it or not, drinking and driving is not a criminal offense. It takes a careful analysis of many different facts and evidence to determine whether or not you committed the crime of DWI or any other drunk driving offense. Learn more about the Texas DWI Law
Each DWI case requires a unique DWI defense strategy. However, most DWI defense strategies fall into one of several categories. We have compiled a list of some these DWI defense strategy categories, but there are many more.
Probable Cause for Arrest
Did the police officer or other DWI investigator have probable cause to make the arrest? Police cannot make arrests willy-nilly on the mere suspicion of DWI. They have to have credible evidence, and it has to meet the burden of “probable cause.” Police build a DWI case from the moment of their first observation, but sometimes they cut corners and make arrests when they shouldn’t. Learn more about the pre-arrest DWI ProcessThere are many reasons to challenge the sufficiency of the arrest, and we will need to carefully review the evidence collected by the officer and the basis for his arrest in order to determine whether we can successfully change the probable cause for your arrest.
Probable Cause for Blood Warrant
Did the investigators have sufficient probable cause to collect your blood against your will? Did a judge properly sign off on the warrant?
Similar to challenging probable cause for a DWI arrest, police officers cannot obtain your blood without your consent or without a warrant for your arrest. You have the right to refuse a blood draw if you are arrested, but the police may obtain a warrant from a judge and force you into giving a sample. Your license is subject to suspension if you refused to provide a sample of breath or blood, but you can always contest this suspension through an ALR Hearing.
Challenging Blood Evidence
There are very technical procedures for drawing blood. Were those procedures followed? How was the blood transported? Was the blood sample exposed to any outside contaminants? What was the chain of custody? What were the lab procedures used in the testing? Was the equipment properly maintained? Did the sample get confused with someone else’s blood sample? If your blood alcohol content is shown to be high according to a blood test, then we need to examine the entire testing procedure to determine whether we can successfully challenge it in court.
Blood science, like every other form of science, is constantly evolving. Blood tests are sometimes inaccurate due to bad science, and sometimes they are inaccurate because of human error.
Challenging Breath Evidence
What was the deviation between your breath scores? How far was the deviation from the sample? Was the machine properly maintained? When was the last time the machine calibrated? Was the calibration performed correct? Challenging the results of breath evidence in court is a very scientific process.
Similar to challenging blood evidence, challenging breath evidence is a matter of scientific theory meeting human error. Breath test operators must be licensed, and it is not as simple as pushing a button on a machine. There are specific procedures that must be followed if the test results are to be accurate.
Challenging BAC Level at Time of Driving
Your BAC is constantly fluctuating due to your absorption rate and your processing rate. Your BAC at the time of breath or blood testing is not what it was at the time you were pulled over. Was your BAC trending upward or downward? What is the effect your body chemistry had on your BAC?
Assembling a defense based on the timing of your arrest usually requires the use of experts in the field. The state’s attorneys will try to argue that your blood alcohol level was higher at the time of your arrest than the time of the testing, but this is not always true, and always a matter of imprecise conjecture.
Remember that drunk driving is not a crime. The state’s attorneys must prove that you were “intoxicated,” and this has a specific legal definition. Learn more about the definition of intoxicated
If we can show that in fact your blood alcohol level was lower at the time of your arrest and while you were driving, you may be able to prevail with this defense strategy.
The DWI Process
The “DWI Process” can be divided into three general stages:
Stage 1 | The Arrest:
DWI Police Investigation & Evidence Collection, Field Sobriety Tests, Blood Tests, Breath Tests, Jail and Bond
Stage 2 | The Court Case:
Defense Investigation & Evidence Collection, Criminal Court Case, ALR Hearings & SOAH Court Case and License Suspensions
Stage 3 | Expunction, Probation and Conviction Penalties:
Terms of Probation, Expunction Eligibility, Non-Disclosure, Probation Violations, Interlock Removal and Conviction Consequences
The DWI Arrest
The DWI Process begins before any arrest is made. The DWI process usually begins with a police officer or some other law enforcement agency conducting and investigation. DWI enforcement officers might be scouting for potential offenders or responding to a 911 call or doing any number of other things before they initiate a formal investigation. Typically, the formal investigation begins with an observation of driving behaviors. If the DWI investigators choose to pull you over, they will attempt to gather information from you in several different ways, including through roadside questioning, physical evidence collection, Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and other field sobriety tests. DWI investigators need a Reasonable Suspicion to stop you on the basis of DWI suspicion, and they need Probable Cause to make an arrest.
Once the DWI investigators have concluded the investigation, they will make a determination about whether to arrest the suspect. If the officer chooses to make a DWI arrest, the officer will transport him or her to a local jail for evidence collection and booking. Bail will be set and the person will eventually be given a first court date.Learn more about the first stage of the DWI Process
The DWI Court Process
After someone is arrested for a DWI, the state will charge the person with a criminal DWI offense and also attempt to suspend the person’s license through a civil Administrative License Revocation (“ALR”) process in the State Office of Administrative Hearings (“SOAH”) courts. The criminal case will be resolved in criminal courts by state prosecutors and your defense attorney. There will be a series of court dates in the county criminal courts (or district courts if the charge is a felony).
The ALR process is not automatic. Your attorney will need to request the hearing and aggressively pursue your defense in the SOAH court. Through this process, your attorney will prepare your defense against the criminal charges and address your license suspension hearing. Eventually you will receive a determination about the status of your license in the ALR process. If your license is suspended, you will want to obtain an Occupational Driver’s License (“ODL”). You will also eventually have to make a decision about whether to go to trial or to plead guilty, unless your case is dismissed. If you decide that you want a trial, your attorney will present evidence to a judge and jury who will decide whether or not to convict you of the DWI offense. Learn more about the the second stage of the DWI Process
DWI Probation, Expunction and Consequences of Conviction
Your DWI case will result in either an acquittal, a dismissal or a conviction. If you go to trial and you are found “Not Guilty,” then you have been acquitted and you will be eligible to have all records related to the DWI arrest permanently removed from your record through a process called “Expunction.” If the case is dismissed, you may be eligible for expunction as well.
If the case results in a conviction, then you will be either put on probation for a period of months or years or confined to jail. If you are placed on probation, then you will have to abide by the terms of probation prescribed by the court. During the course of the DWI probation, the state may attempt to revoked your probation by alleging that you violated your probation. You will be entitled to a hearing on the motion to revoke your probation. If the court determines that you committed a probation violation, then the court has the authority to placed you in jail for the remainder of your sentence. You are entitled to have representation at the probation violation hearing. On the other hand, if your probation goes well, you may be entitled to have your interlock device removed early and go on non-reporting status. Also, if you are convicted, there are numerous other penalties that are not specifically outlined in the criminal laws that you should understand before pleading guilty.
Many people who are convicted of a DWI end up dealing with the DWI for years after the date of the arrest. The entire DWI Process can take years to get to complete. It could take years to get to a final disposition, then months or years of probation if you are convicted and years of surcharges and other driving-related consequences. Depending on whether you are charged with “DWI 1st,” “DWI 2nd” or “DWI 3rd or more,” the process can take different amounts of time and you will be facing a different range of consequences. A conviction for DWI 3rd or more is a felony DWI conviction, and the penalties that you face will be substantial. Learn more about the third stage of the DWI Process
The Science of Intoxication and DWI Investigation
Intoxication cases usually rely heavily on scientific evidence. The intoxication offenses require the state to prove intoxication, which is itself a scientific term. There are two ways to be “intoxicated” under the law: a blood alcohol content (BAC) above a 0.08% or loss of the “normal use of mental or physical faculties” (learn more about the definition of intoxication).
DWI SCIENCE TOPICS
To collect evidence that your BAC is above 0.08%, police officers use scientific testing in the form of field sobriety tests, breath tests and blood tests. All of these types of evidence have a fundamental basis in science.
The loss of “normal use of mental or physical faculties” type of intoxication is a blurry line, but “normality” itself is a scientific concept. What is objectively “normal” is an empirical question, and one that is certainly subject to debate (and probably different for different people). Usually the state uses the results of the same police-administered standardized field sobriety tests to prove or help prove the “normality” type of intoxication.
In order to fight intoxication charges, it is crucial to understand the science behind intoxication and the science related to all of the evidence and the evidence collection methods. If you took a breath test or a blood test and the state alleges the results indicated a BAC over a 0.08, then in order to best fight the charge, your attorney will need to understand the mechanics of the breath test, proper administration procedures, the science behind the test and the physiology of alcohol consumption.
If you did not take either the breath test or blood test, then your attorney should be familiar with the field sobriety tests that were administered by the police in order to determine whether or not they were properly administered. DWI cops almost always say the same thing in their reports. Clues like slurred speech, the scent of alcohol and bloodshot eyes are noted in almost every report. So in order to poke holes in the state’s case, you have to know where to look.
There are certain field sobriety tests that have been standardized and validated through rigorous scientific testing. These are known as the standardized field sobriety tests or “SFSTs.” DWI cops almost always administer these tests, but sometimes they also administer other tests. Learn more about SFSTs
Sometimes it is impractical or even impossible for DWI cops to administer the standardized tests, so they use other tests that have little or no scientific validation. One circumstance in which this is common is an investigation into a “Boating While Intoxicated’ offense.
Field Sobriety Testing
The field sobriety tests that police administer in the field during DWI investigations were initially developed and used by individual police units across the country. Extensive scientific research studies only began in 1975 when the NHTSA contracted the Southern California Research Institute (SCRI) to assess the reliability and accuracy of these field sobriety tests. SCRI published reports in 1977, 1981 and 1983.
Six tests were used in the initial study, but only three of them, and only when administered in a standardized manner, were highly accurate and reliable for distinguishing a blood alcohol content (BAC) of above a 0.10. These three tests were the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk-and-Turn (WAT) and the One-Leg Stand (OLS).
NHTSA determined, through an analysis of the lab data provided by SCRI, that the HGN was 77% accurate, the WAT was 68% accurate and the OLS was 65% accurate. When used together, the HGN and WAT achieved 80% accuracy. Of course this means that 20% (one-fifth!) of the time, even the two tests together are inaccurate. And this is, of course, data obtained in a lab by scientists, not police officers.
The final phase of the study was a field validation where standardized procedures were developed. The NHTSA concluded that the three standardized tests were reliable in identifying people with BACs above a 0.10.
Three standardized field sobriety test (SFSTs) validation studies were commenced between 1995 and 1998, including studies in Colorado (1995), Florida (1997) and San Diego (1998). The results of the three studies supported the institutionalization of SFSTs.
The Science of Nystagmus
Nystagmus is a condition where a person’s eyes involuntarily “jerk.” Alcohol and certain other drugs cause Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. Of course, Nystagmus in and of itself does not increase the likelihood that someone is unable to drive; instead it only indicates the presence of alcohol and certain other drugs. And also, of course, people are able to drive safely with a multitude of drugs in their system. The question, therefore, is whether Nystagmus can reliably be determined to be caused by prohibited drugs and whether that may not rise to the level of impairment.
There are three types of Nystagmus:
- Vestibular Nystagmus. Vestibular Nystagmus is caused by movement or action to the vestibular system. Rotational Vestibular Nystagmus is caused when fluid in the inner ear is disturbed when a person is spun around. Post Rotational Vestibular Nystagmus occurs after a person stops spinning around. Caloric Vestibular Nystagmus occurs by changes in temperature. Positional Alcohol Vestibular Nystagmus (PAN) occurs when some fluid enters the body and changes the specific gravity of the blood in unequal concentrations between the blood and the vestibular system.
- Nystagmus from Neural Activity. Optokinetic Nystagmus results from fixating on an object that suddenly moves out of sight or from watching sharply contrasting moving images (for instance, watching strobe lights, rotating lights or rapidly moving traffic nearby). Physiological Nystagmus is natural and occurs in everyone, and very frequently. It is the most common type of Nystagmus. It produces very minor tremors and are generally impossible to be seen by the naked eye. Gaze Nystagmus occurs when the eye moves from center position. There are three types of Gaze Nystagmus, including Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus that occurs as the eyes move to the side, Vertical Gaze Nystagmus that occurs when eyes look upward at maximum elevation and Resting Nystagmus that occurs when the eyes look straight ahead.
- Pathological Disorders. Nystagmus may also be caused by pathological disorders, including brain tumors, brain damage or particular diseases of the inner ear.
Why did I get arrested if I did well on the roadside tests?
The police don’t tell you what clues they are looking for. You may think you did well on the tests, but unless you know what the police were looking for, there’s no way to tell whether you really passed the roadside field sobriety tests. If they tested your eyes with the HGN test, you can’t see what they saw, so you don’t know whether your eyes displayed any nystagmus during the HGN portion of the field sobriety tests.
The reality is that these tests are subjective. I have had numerous officers admit this while testifying. They don’t like to admit it because that’s not how it’s supposed to be, but that’s just the reality of the way it is. On cross-examination, when you delve deeply into their administration of the tests, officers often acknowledge mistakes.
Just because you got arrested doesn’t mean you’re guilty, and you shouldn’t treat yourself that way. If a judge hasn’t pronounced you guilty, then the law says you are innocent. So treat yourself that way!
What are the consequences of a DWI conviction in Texas?
Whether you plead guilty, no contest or a jury finds you guilty, the consequences for a DWI conviction can be staggering. Even if you have nothing else on your criminal record and this is your first DWI, you are facing costs as much as $50,000 or more. If you are facing a second DWI or more, then the consequences can be even greater.
The criminal penalties described in the DWI law are really just the beginning. DWI starts as a Class B Misdemeanor, with a range of punishment for a standard first conviction of “up to 180 days in county jail and up to a $2,000 fine” and a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours in jail. Some or all of your jail term may be probated (depending on the judge and the specific DWI offense you are facing), meaning that you may or may not have to spend time in jail if you agree to community supervision (probation).
The criminal penalties can be enhanced for having a BAC over .15 or having an open container in the car. All DWI offenses can be enhanced if you have a prior conviction for DWI. There is also a complex web of driver’s license penalties that you will be facing, some of which are described briefly below.
Here is a more detailed (but not comprehensive) list of penalties arising out of a DWI conviction for a misdemeanor DWI conviction that you should consider:
- Jail time of up to 180 days for a base DWI offense, which if enhanced can be up to one year or, if enhanced to a felony, even more time in the state penitentiary. If probated, you will have to remain on probation for a term of months to years.
- Criminal fines of up to $2,000 for a based offense, or up to $4,000 if enhanced to a felony, up to $10,000
- You will have a criminal conviction on your record that you cannot expunge or remove. Your employer, potential future employers and the general public will be able to see this if they do a background check. This can cost you a future job or even the loss of your current one. If you are facing a job loss, we consider this a High-Stakes Misdemeanor Defense.
- The loss of driver’s license. A judge may suspend your license as a result of a DWI conviction. To reinstate your license, you will have to pay a driver’s license reinstatement fee of $125. If you want to be able to drive while your license is suspended, you will have to apply for an occupational driver’s license. This is a complicated procedure, and unless you handle it yourself, you will have to pay a lawyer (we do not charge our DWI clients for this service, but otherwise we charge $200-500). You will also have to pay: county fees of $200-250 (in Dallas, the fee is $232 for misdemeanors) and a fee for SR-22 insurance.
- Court Costs, usually between $200 and $500
- Monthly probation reporting (involving missed time at work and paying for parking every time you come in)
- Multiple Court Appearances (this is more missed time at work and paying for parking every time you come in)
- 24-100 hours of Community Service
- M.A.D.D. Victim Impact Panel (3hrs)
- Monthly probation fees ($25-60 per month)
- Ignition Interlock Device ($75 per month per vehicle). This is a device that is installed on your car and prevents your car from operating unless you blow into the device and the device determines that you do not have any alcohol on your breath. You can be ordered to have this installed while you are on bond or under community supervision. The results are reported immediately to the court, and if you do not blow clean, your bond or your probation can be revoked. The average time to dispose a DWI case takes 8 months to one year, if you do not go to trial. If you go to trial, it frequently takes two years or more. Probation times vary, but you can get up to two years. Therefore, you are looking at 2-4 years of having an interlock on your car, but the device can be removed earlier under certain circumstances. On average, you are probably looking at 20 months of interlock fees, totaling $1,500. This can be greater if you are on you are enhanced, and you could even be required to have a Soberlink or ankle monitor device, entailing even higher monthly fees. Learn more about interlock devices
- A night in jail when you are arrested ($500 bail)
- Impound fees to get your car back ($85)
- Embarrassment & loss of Self Esteem
- Loss of social standing
- Attorney’s Fees in the thousands of dollars
- License Surcharge of $1000 per year for three years.
- “Home Visits” by probation officer
- Interference with employment – time missed from work
- Increased Insurance rates/Cancellation of Insurance (300% for 4 years)
- Stress and Anxiety of pending case
- ALR Hearing Request Deadline
- ALR Discovery & Continuance Deadline
- ALR Subpoena Deadline
- Business Records Deadline
ALR Hearing Request Deadline
Deadline: 15 Days After Arrest. You have 15 days after a DWI arrest to request an ALR hearing. What is an ALR Hearing and why is this important? Requesting a hearing is important, but the manner in which it is done and the follow-up are equally important. We request ALR Hearings as a standard part of our DWI representation.
Failure to properly request this hearing will result in a driver’s license suspension or privilege suspension for those who do not currently have an active license. It usually results in out of state license suspensions as well.
ALR Discovery & Continuance Deadline
Deadline: 5 Days Before ALR Hearing Date.The deadline for the statutory continuance on your ALR hearing is 5 days before the hearing date. This is the same deadline to request discovery on the ALR case.
ALR Subpoena Deadline
Deadline: 5 Days Before Hearing Date.The deadline to serve an ALR subpoena is five days before the hearing date. The return must be faxed 3 days before the hearing date.
Business Records Deadline
Deadline: 30 Days Before Trial. You have to file a notice to introduce business records 30 days before trial.
^1. Texas Penal Code Section 49.04(b)
^2. Texas Penal Code Section 49.04(d)
^3. Texas Penal Code Section 49.04(c)
^4. Texas Penal Code Section 49.09
^5. Texas Transportation Code Section 524.031 –
If, not later than the 15th day after the date on which the person receives notice of suspension under Section 524.011 or is presumed to have received notice under Section 524.013, the department receives at its headquarters in Austin, in writing, including a facsimile transmission, or by another manner prescribed by the department, a request that a hearing be held, a hearing shall be held as provided by this subchapter.
^6. Texas Transportation Code Section 524.032(b) –
A hearing shall be rescheduled if, before the fifth day before the date scheduled for the hearing, a request for a continuance from the person who requested the hearing is received in accordance with the memorandum of understanding adopted under Section 524.033(c). Unless both parties agree otherwise, the hearing shall be rescheduled for a date not earlier than the fifth day after the date the request for continuance is received.