Going through a DWI arrest can be a harrowing experience, one that can be made even more fraught if you don’t know what to do after being arrested. While you’re looking at a long, complicated legal process and the possibility of life-changing punishments, this doesn’t mean that you can’t put up a fight. 

An arrest is not a conviction, and you still can take steps to advocate for yourself and fight for your rights during this difficult time, even if you are guilty of the crime. The DWI trial attorneys at Thissen Law Firm are here to dive into the key aspects of being arrested for DWI, and what you can do to give yourself the best possible chance at freedom. 

If you or a loved one has had a recent DWI arrest and you do not have representation, call the maverick DWI lawyers at Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 to begin the fight for your freedom. 

DWI vs DUI in Texas

Before we get into what to do after a DWI arrest, let’s first define the term itself. Although DWI and DUI are often used interchangeably in conversation, the two are distinct legal concepts that are accompanied by two completely different charges in Texas. 

DUI is a charge used for offenses committed by minors (under the age of 21) who have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while operating a motor vehicle. Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving, making it a criminal offense even if the minor driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit for adults.

DWI, meanwhile, pertains to drivers 21 and older who are found to be operating a motor vehicle with a BAC exceeding the legal limit, which is 0.08% in Texas. A minor can also get a DWI if their BAC is above 0.08%.

What to do if you get a DWI in Texas

Those wondering what to expect after a DWI in Texas should know that the most important thing they can do is hire an attorney who knows how to beat a DWI in Texas. An attorney who knows how to build a strong defense and is willing to fight for your rights, as opposed to taking a plea deal or a lesser conviction, will be your greatest ally within the extremely punitive Texas court system.

  1. Know your rights. You must know your rights during a traffic stop and exercise them appropriately. You should avoid saying anything incriminating and consenting to any unnecessary searches at a minimum. Your lawyer will thank you. 
  2. Post bail or bond after your arrest. If you find yourself having trouble with the bail system, your attorney may be able to help. (Continue reading: How much is bail for a DWI?)
  3. Seek legal representation. You should already have a good DWI lawyer on speed dial, but if you don’t, now is the time to get one. Bonus points, if they’re Board Certified, a Super Lawyer, or an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer Scientist — hint, Mark Thiessen, is all three. 
  4. Request an ALR hearing. More on this in a moment. 

Remember, your chances of dismissal of DWI in Texas go up astronomically if you hire the right attorney and don’t incriminate yourself during your arrest. Now more on the importance of requesting an ALR hearing in Texas. 

Can you drive after a DWI arrest in Texas?

The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing is an administrative process that addresses the potential suspension of a driver’s license following a DWI arrest. This hearing is completely distinct from any criminal proceedings following a DWI arrest that will take place in a court of law.

If you want to avoid DWI license suspension in Texas, your attorney will have to create reasonable doubt surrounding your DWI arrest and attempt to show that it cannot be proven that you drove over the limit, had an opportunity to consent to blood and breath tests, or were read your rights. 

Your DWI lawyer will not only help you set up an ALR Hearing in an attempt to save your license but will represent you during the hearing and give you a shot at keeping your license. You must submit your request for an ALR Hearing within 15 days of your arrest for DWI, so you better hurry. 

Penalties for a DWI in Texas

Although punishments will depend on the circumstances of the DWI arrest, Texas imposes strict penalties for those convicted of all DWI offenses. Is jail time mandatory for 1st DWI in Texas? While jail time isn’t mandatory for a DWI in Texas first offense, it is a possibility. The penalties associated with different levels of DWI conviction in Texas are as follows. 

OffenseChargeMaximum fineJail time
First offense DWIClass B misdemeanor$2,0003 – 180 days
Second offense DWIClass A misdemeanor$4,000180 days – 2 years
Third and fourth offense DWIThird-degree felony$10,0002 years – 10 years
DWI with a child passengerState jail felony$10,000180 days – 2 years
Intoxication assaultThird-degree felony$10,0002 years – 10 years
Intoxication manslaughterSecond-degree felony$10,0002 years – 20 years

As you can see, penalties for DWI in Texas get steep fast. Beyond the criminal and civil fines and possible jail time, DWI convictions of any severity make insurance premiums skyrocket — not to mention the damage that they can do to your work and home life.

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

Although it may not feel like it, you can set yourself up for success after a DWI arrest. With a basic understanding of what not to say to the police and a good lawyer at your side, you can positively impact your case from the moment you are stopped under suspicion of DWI. 

Whether it’s your first DWI in Texas or you need an attorney for intoxication manslaughter, Mark Thiessen and the DWI lawyers at Thiessen Law Firm are prepared to take your case in front of a judge or jury and fight. 

Call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online for a free consultation. We’re waiting to fight for you. 

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Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.