What to Do If You Are Arrested for DWI
Nearly 70,000 arrests were made in 2017 for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Police have made it one of their top priorities to keep drunk drivers off the road. If you drink and drive, you could find yourself the subject of a DWI investigation.
DWI (also known as driving under the influence, or DUI) is one of the most common violations that Texas motorists commit. A DWI on your record can have long-lasting consequences. If you’re facing DWI charges, it would be wise to talk to a knowledgeable DWI attorney.
Defense Attorneys Explain What to Do If You Are Arrested for DWI in Dallas
Everyone makes mistakes. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy is here to provide the best possible defense against your charge. Representing yourself in a DWI case is inadvisable. It takes years of experience to understand the intricacies of the Dallas court system and DWI law.
After you’re pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, you’ll need to call your lawyer at your first opportunity. If you’ve already been arrested, we offer a free consultation to discuss your DUI case.
Call (972) 233-5700 or complete our online form to get started. One of our attorneys will review details of your case and help determine how to proceed. Whenever possible, we will aim to reduce or dismiss your charges. Our firm represents DFW clients like you in Denton, Dallas, Tarrant, and Collin Counties.
Overview of What to Do If You Are Arrested for DWI in Dallas
- What’s the Difference Between DWI and DUI in Texas?
- Refuse a Field Sobriety Test
- Don’t Talk to the Cops
- Consider the Consequences of a Chemical Test
- Additional Resources
What’s the Difference Between DWI and DUI in Texas?
Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are often used interchangeably. Both laws involve operating a motor vehicle while impaired. However, there is a legal difference between the two charges.
While the legal blood- or breath-alcohol content (BAC) amount for adults behind the wheel is 0.08%, a zero-tolerance policy applies to drivers younger than 21. If a minor is pulled over with a BAC reading greater than 0.0, they can be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA).
An adult with a BAC that measures 0.08% or greater will certainly be charged with DWI. However, you may also be arrested for driving while intoxicated even if your BAC is within the legal limit. This type of arrest occurs when the officer determines that a person is too inebriated to make normal use of their mental or physical faculties.
Refuse a Field Sobriety Test
If a police officer suspects that you’ve been drinking, you may be asked to take a set of field sobriety tests. These usually consist of the following: the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. The tests are designed to help law enforcement develop evidence of your intoxication.
What the police probably won’t tell you is that you’re not legally obligated to submit to these tests. In fact, you can be arrested even after passing every field sobriety test if the police still suspect that you are intoxicated.
The main purpose of field sobriety tests is to help law enforcement establish in court that they had probable cause to initiate the traffic stop. If you’ve had anything to drink, or if there are any drugs in your system, it may be to your benefit to refuse.
If you’re sober but refuse, the police officer will likely use your refusal as probable cause to arrest you anyway. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can advise you of the best practices to follow when interacting with law enforcement.
Don’t Talk to the Cops
If you’re lucky, the officer who pulled you over will be friendly. He’ll ask questions that you don’t see any harm in answering. You might be tempted to try to explain your way out of the situation.
But when a police officer advises you of your right to remain silent, it’s recommended that you exercise that right. You may politely refuse to answer any questions until you have an attorney present. The information you provide to the police will almost always be used against you, not in your favor.
So what information must you provide the police by law? When you’re pulled over, you are legally required to provide your license, insurance card, and proof of registration. After you’re placed under arrest, you must give the officer your real name, home address, and date of birth upon request.
The experienced DWI attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can answer any additional questions about what to say – and what not to say – during a police encounter. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.
Consider the Consequences of a Chemical Test
When the police request that you submit to a breath, urine, or blood test, you have a choice to make. If you refuse to take the test, your license will be automatically be suspended in accordance with Section 521.344 of the Transportation Code.
If you’ve never refused a DWI chemical test before, your license will be suspended for 180 days. For each subsequent refusal, your license will be suspended for two years.
If the police still wish to obtain a reading of your blood-alcohol level after you refuse to submit to their chemical tests, they will need to obtain a search warrant. If you’re convicted of DWI, your license will be suspended anyway. If you volunteer to provide evidence to the police, you’re just handing them evidence to use against you. Make them work for it.
If you’re unsure whether you should refuse a blood, breath, or urine test, contact one of our DWI defense attorneys to have your questions answered during your free consultation.
Alcohol-Related Offenses | Texas DPS – One of the main goals of the Texas Department of Public Safety is to enhance highway and public safety. Preventing drunk driving plays a major role in the enhancement of public safety. Visit this link to read about the consequences of a DWI conviction. The DPS website discusses the potential consequences for adults, minors, and commercial driver license (CDL) holders.
Occupational License | Texas DPS – The Texas Department of Public Safety is responsible for issuing and revoking Texas driver’s licenses. Visit this website to read about how to obtain an occupational license after your license has been suspended following a DWI arrest.
DFW Defense Lawyers Discuss What to Do If You Are Arrested for DWI
The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy have represented thousands of clients in DFW since we opened our doors in 2002. We handle cases in North Texas and surrounding areas, including Collin, Dallas, Tarrant, and Denton Counties.
We have handled countless DWI cases of nearly every imaginable variety over the years. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy can review the evidence in your case and recommend what your next steps should be to present a proper defense. We will fight to obtain the best possible outcome for you.
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today to schedule your free consultation.