DWI is short for Driving While Intoxicated, while DUI is the abbreviation for Driving Under the Influence. A DWI attorney can assist with any of the following:
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can apply to both minors and adults. An person may be arrested for DWI whether they have alcohol or drugs in their system, even if the drugs are prescription drugs. Whether or not you take a breath test, you may be charged with DWI. DWI can be proven in one of three ways: 1. having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or more; 2. syour normal mental faculties; or 3. not having your normal physical faculties; due to alcohol or drugs. In Texas, DWI laws get tougher and tougher every year so it is important to consult with an attorney.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) only applies minors, which in Texas means people younger than 21 years of age. Under the influence means any detectable amount of alcohol. Texas law has zero tolerance for minors driving with any detectable amount of alcohol. DUI is a class “C” misdemeanor. The maximum possible punishment for a Class “C” misdemeanor is a $500 fine.
DUI also carries with it a driver’s license suspension when you’re arrested or when you receive the citation (ticket); there is also a separate and additional driver’s license suspension upon conviction. You may challenge a driver’s license suspension upon arrest through an administrative hearing. You must request the hearing within 15 days of arrest or citation. A police officer may request a breath test or may simply issue a citation because the officer smells alcohol on the minor. A minor has the right to refuse a breath test if arrested for DUI.
Once you are arrested, an officer is going to request a blood or breath test. REMEMBER, YOU ARE ALREADY UNDER ARREST! Passing the breath test will not get you released. It is important to be very careful in deciding to take a breath or blood test. If an officer asked you to blow into a little hand held gadget on the side of the road, that is fine; that reading cannot be used in court, except to show the mere presence of alcohol. If you admitted to drinking, the fact that you blew into that Portable Breath Test (PBT) has no relevance in a DWI trial. The most common question is, “CAN I REFUSE A BREATH OR BLOOD TEST?” The simple answer is “YES,” but there may be some unforeseen consequences. It is important to remember that YOU DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY WHEN DECIDING TO TAKE A BREATH OR BLOOD TEST.
1. If you refuse a breath test, DPS will try and suspend your driver’s license for a period of 180 days if you have never had a DWI before. If you have had a prior DWI or were asked to take a breath test before, the suspension could be two (2) years.
2. The fact that you refused a breath test can be used against you in trial. Again, the courts have determined that you have no 5th Amendment protection against self incrimination regarding a Breath or Blood Test.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT YOU ONLY HAVE 15 DAYS TO REQUEST A HEARING TO CHALLENGE YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION.
1. If you take a breath or blood test and the test reveals that at the time of driving you had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days if this is your first DWI, or up to one (1) year if you have a prior DWI or alcohol suspension.
2. The state will use that evidence to convict you.
3. Even if you your blood/alcohol content is below .08, you can still be charged and convicted of DWI.
Today it is very common for police to get a warrant to draw blood. A few cities in North Texas, such as Sherman and Denison, have procedures in place to get a warrant to draw your blood on every DWI arrest. A judge is available at all hours to sign a warrant to draw blood.
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