BEEN ARRESTED FOR DRUNK DRIVING?
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HOUSTON DRUNK DRIVING ATTORNEY
While some counties may grant pretrial diversion programs for Driving While Intoxicated cases, there is no such thing as deferred adjudication for drunk driving. If you are offered probation, it will still be a conviction on your record. Make no mistake, being charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Boating While Intoxicated, or Flying While Intoxicated is a serious matter. If you are under 21 years of age, and charged with Minor in Possession, Minor in Consumption, or a Minor DUI, these are serious crimes as well, with long-term consequences. The State can prove a drunk driving case with or without a breath or blood alcohol test. I have even seen cases prosecuted where the blood alcohol results were less than .08 but the case still proceeded to trial Even if you submitted to a breath or blood test, however, you may have a defense. Because of very specific time issues in DWI cases, you need to retain an attorney as soon as possible.
ALR Hearings & Suspensions
An arrest for DWI (or Minor DUI) does not just create a criminal case. It also creates a civil matter as well. It is important to hire an attorney who both understands and will attend the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing that will be held at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) and prosecuted by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Your attorney has the right to subpoena and cross-examine the state’s witnesses at this hearing. Doing so may not only win the ALR hearing, it may also give you crucial evidence in your criminal case as well.
ALR license suspensions are AUTOMATIC UNLESS you request a hearing within FIFTEEN DAYS of receiving the notice of suspension from the arresting officer on an approved DPS form. Most often this happens when the arresting officer gives you the DIC form at the time of your arrest. You can request an ALR hearing by going to this website.
Occupational Drivers Licenses
Even if your driver’s license is suspended, you may still be eligible for an occupational drivers’ license. Before you can apply for an occupational license, you will need SR-22 insurance, proof of your own liability insurance, pay any fees and surcharges, and the necessary court filing fees. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, the judge may still condition your occupational license upon installing an interlock device on the vehicle.
DWI Conviction and Surcharges
When a person is convicted of driving while intoxicated, he will be required to pay an annual surcharge before he can obtain or renew your driver’s license. For first-time offenders, the surcharge starts at $1,000.00 per year. It can increase to $1,500.00 if your blood alcohol level was .15 or greater. The surcharge also increases with subsequent conviction. If you are acquitted of all charges, these surcharges do not apply.
No Refusal Weekends
Many Texas counties (including Montgomery, Galveston, Harris, Fort Bend, and Brazoria) have no-refusal weekends, especially around holidays and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Spring Break, and Mardi Gras. This means that if you are stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated–while you have the right to refusal a breath or blood test–the police will seek to obtain a warrant to draw your blood. While this used to take place at hospitals, recent changes in the law now allow this to be performed by an emergency medical technician (EMT). People often mistakenly believe that if the State obtained a warrant and drew blood that they will have no defense at trial. That is not the case. There are many specific requirements about how the blood has to be drawn, stored, and tested. Mistakes at any stage of the process can result in your case being dismissed, reduced to a lesser charge, or simply providing you favorable facts at trial.
If you have been charged with DWI, call me today at 713.665.4400 to schedule an initial consultation.