Being arrested for DWI in Texas is no laughing matter, as charges for DWI come with serious potential consequences that can destroy careers and families — that is if you don’t play your cards right. 

Although you won’t always be able to influence the outcome of your DWI case, knowing what to do when you’re pulled over by the cops, as well as what NOT to do after a DWI arrest, can put you in the best position to protect your family and your future. 

Continue reading to find out what we recommend you do and what we recommend you NOT do when dealing with a DWI in Texas, and call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 if you’ve already been arrested and are looking for a winning defense.

What NOT to do after a DWI arrest:

  • Do not talk to anyone other than your attorney 
  • Do not forget to have your attorney request an ALR hearing
  • Do not drive with a suspended or revoked license 
  • Do not fail to pay any necessary fines or fees to the court
  • Do not fail to comply with the terms of your probation or community service
  • DO NOT enter a plea without a skilled DWI attorney at your side 

What is a DWI in Texas?

First and foremost, how can you find yourself arrested for a DWI in Texas? DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated and is defined in Texas Penal Code § 49.04 as operating a motorized vehicle:

The legal limit for drinking in driving is .08%, while there is technically no legal limit for driving high. No, that doesn’t mean that you can get as high as you want and drive around the Lone Star State. It does mean that the police will have an easier time arresting you for it because the .08% BAC limit at least sets a standard by which DWI arrests in Texas can be made. 

DWI vs DUI in Texas

What’s the difference between DUI and DWI? It’s one of the most common questions that we get. There are a few key things to remember:

  • You can get a DWI or a DUI in Texas.
  • DUIs are given to minors under the age of 21 who have any detectable alcohol in their system, up to .08%. 
  • Minors whose BAC is measured above .08% can still get DWIs in Texas.
  • Because DUIs are charges for minors, they are charged as Class C misdemeanors, which generally have less severe consequences.

If you are over the age of 21 you do not need to worry about DUI, because you can’t get one! Drunk or on drugs, if you’re an adult found to be operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in the State of Texas, you’ll be charged with a DWI. 

What NOT to do after DWI arrests in Texas

So you’ve been arrested for DWI and are wondering what happens after a DWI arrest in Texas. The aftermath of a DWI arrest is much less frightening than the arrest itself but instead introduces many slow, bureaucratic processes that need to be kept up with if you want to keep yourself out of jail for DWI. The following are some important tips for what NOT to do after a DWI arrest:

  1. Do not talk to anyone other than your attorney. Refrain from discussing the details of your case with anyone other than your attorney. This includes friends, law enforcement officers, or anyone at the courthouse. Any statements made outside of attorney-client privilege can and will be used against you in court.
  2. Do not forget to have your attorney request an ALR hearing. Following a DWI arrest in Texas, it’s crucial to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing within 15 days to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. Failure to request this hearing within 15 days can result in automatic suspension of your license.
  3. Do not drive with a suspended or revoked license. If your driver’s license is suspended or revoked as a result of a DWI arrest, do not attempt to drive until your driving privileges are reinstated. Driving with a suspended or revoked license can lead to further legal consequences, including additional charges and extended license suspension periods.
  4. Do not fail to pay any necessary fines or fees to the court. Not paying fees and court fines could complicate your case and make it more difficult for your attorney to fight your charge. 
  5. Do not fail to comply with the terms of your probation or community service. Violating the terms of your probation or failing to complete required community service hours can lead to further legal trouble, even if your attorney already worked out a deal for you. 
  6. DO NOT enter a plea without a skilled DWI attorney at your side. Consult with a winning DWI attorney before entering your plea in court, or you may end up making a mistake that you can’t undo. 

Remember: a charge is not a conviction, and while many DWI cases are winnable, you’ll never know unless you have a skilled DWI attorney assess your options and put a defense in place for you. Do not give up on yourself, because your future is worth the fight. 

What to do when pulled over by the police in Texas

Having a game plan for what to do when pulled over by the police can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a charge hanging over your head. While being pulled over by the cops can be a frightening experience, you can prepare yourself by knowing the basics of what to do during a traffic stop.  

  1. Know the procedure. Familiarize yourself with what to expect during a traffic stop in Texas. This includes pulling over promptly in a safe location, turning off your vehicle, and keeping your hands visible on the steering wheel.
  2. Use your right to remain silent. Exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation present. Avoid making statements that could potentially incriminate you and remember that anything you say can be used against you in court.
  3. Know what questions you’re required to answer. Understand that you are not obligated to answer questions beyond providing basic identifying information, such as your name and address. You have the right to decline to answer any further questions without legal counsel present.
  4. Do not consent to a search of your vehicle. Unless the police have a warrant, you are not required to consent to a search of your vehicle. Politely but firmly assert your right to refuse a search. While it is true that they may get a warrant and search it anyway, it is important that you state that you did not consent to it. 
  5. Blow, don’t bleed. Though the conversation on BAC testing for DWI arrests in Texas usually revolves around the question “Do you have to take a breathalyzer?” what you should be asking yourself is “Should I be taking the breathalyzer?” Breathalyzers may actually be your best shot at beating a DWI charge, and we generally encourage people to take them. Read more about why “Do Not Blow” is outdated advice.

Even if knowing what to do during a traffic stop doesn’t stop law enforcement officers from arresting you for DWI, it can also help when your DWI lawyer eventually fights your charges in court. 

Is jail time mandatory for 1st DWI in Texas?

Although jail time is not mandatory for all people charged with a DWI in Texas first offense, there are circumstances in which it can be. With no aggravating circumstances your first DWI in Texas will be charged as a Class B misdemeanor, but there are a number of ways for that to be enhanced, such as driving with a minor in the car or being pulled over with a BAC of above .15%. The possible punishments for a range of DWI offenses in Texas are as follows.

OffenseChargeFineJail Time
First-offense DWIClass B misdemeanorUp to $2,0003 – 180 days
Second-offense DWIClass A misdemeanorUp to $4,00030 days – 2 years
Subsequent DWI chargesFelony chargeUp to $10,0002 – 10 years
First-time DWI w/ BAC 0.15% or higherClass A misdemeanorUp to $4,000Up to 1 year
First-time aggravated DWI w/ child passengerState jail felonyUp to $10,000180 days – 2 years
Aggravated DWI with prior conviction(s)Third-degree felonyUp to $10,0002 – 10 years
Intoxication AssaultThird-degree felonyUp to $10,0002 – 10 years
Intoxication ManslaughterSecond-degree felonyUp to $10,0002 – 20 years

As you can see, although penalties vary based on the type of charge, punishments for DWI in Texas are uniformly steep. Hiring a skilled DWI attorney who can take your case in front of a judge or jury and defend your freedom is the best thing that you can do to help protect your future. 

Defenses to a DWI charge

Whether or not you slipped up during your DWI arrest and did a few of the things that you weren’t supposed to, if you want to protect your freedom, you’re going to need a DWI attorney to build a defense against your DWI charge. 

  1. Challenge the legality of the arrest. If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you or sufficient evidence to arrest you, the arrest may have been made illegally.
  2. Argue that evidence was obtained due to illegal search or seizure. If the police officer did not have probable cause to search the vehicle, did not obtain a warrant, or searched the vehicle without your consent, you may be able to get your case thrown out. 
  3. Challenge the accuracy of the BAC tests. Breathalyzer tests and field sobriety tests actually have the ability to work in your favor, whether you pass the tests and weaken the evidence or the tests themselves are not administered correctly, these things can be used to your advantage if you know how. 
  4. Use video evidence to highlight inconsistencies in law enforcement’s story. If you are well-behaved on video, answering questions politely and cooperating to the extent that you have to, it may not match up with the picture painted in the police report, casting reasonable doubt on law enforcement’s account of what went on during your arrest. 
  5. Hire an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist, like Mark Thiessen.Lawyer-Scientist is the highest designation given to attorneys by the American Chemical Society; it signifies that an attorney has mastered both the science and the law behind toxicology, and is therefore uniquely qualified to take on a DWI case hinging on BAC-related evidence. 

Your chances of dismissal of a DWI in Texas go up astronomically if you hire an attorney with a proven track record of defending those accused of DWI in court. 

Continue reading: What does probable cause mean?

Wondering what to do after a DWI arrest? Thiessen Law Firm can help.

Knowing what NOT to do after a DWI arrest can be as important as knowing exactly what to do, and while facing a DWI in Texas can be a daunting experience, you must keep your cool and take the appropriate steps to help your DWI attorney protect your rights and future. 

Mark Thiessen has made a name for himself by protecting the rights of his clients accused of DWI in Texas, taking complex cases to court, and winning them

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DWI and need protection for the future, call Mark Thiessen at Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online to take the first step towards victory. 

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