What Happens After a DWI Arrest?
You are arrested for DWI. Your Driver's License is taken. A magistrate sets your bail. You or your family will need to pay a bail bondsman to post your bond. Charges will be filed against you by the Tarrant County District Attorney. You will receive notice of a court date. It's a lot to take in. That is where an experienced DWI lawyer comes in.
Your major concerns are probably your Driver's License, going back to jail and your job. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other possible consequences that you are probably not aware of, including classes, surcharges, ignition interlock devices, and more. It's time to hire a Fort Worth DWI lawyer like Christopher M. Lankford to start working for you.
What Do I Do After a DWI Arrest?
Driving While Intoxicated is a unique crime. People from all walks of life are often charged with DWI. An offense can range from a Class B Misdemeanor (punishable by up to 180 days in jail) to a 3rd Degree Felony (punishable by 2-10 years in jail). If a person was killed in an accident, then a person may be charged with Intoxication Manslaughter, a 2nd Degree Felony (punishable by 2-20 years in jail). If you have been charged with an offense, a Fort Worth DWI lawyer can advise you of the specific punishment range.
There are many collateral consequences for DWI not seen in other crimes. Other than the potential for jail and fines, consequences may include license suspensions, ignition interlock requirements, in-home alcohol monitoring, completing DWI Education classes, Victim Impact Panels (VIP), Substance Abuse Evaluations, and/or community service. If you have been arrested for DWI, we recommend that you consult with a DWI lawyer as soon as possible. The Lankford Law Firm has experience with DWI and other related crimes in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas.
Will My Driver's License Be Suspended After a DWI Arrest?
If your driver's license was confiscated after your DWI arrest, you should have been issued a Temporary Driving Permit. This paper serves as a temporary license. It is valid for 40 days after your arrest. If you do not take any action, your suspension will begin on the 41st day after your DWI arrest. This administrative suspension is typically 90 days for submitting a BAC over .08, or 180 days for refusing to submit a breath or blood sample. If you have had prior DWI arrests, the period may be extended to 1-2 years.
If you have not yet hired an attorney, it is important to request an ALR hearing within 15 days of your arrest. This important step allows for your Temporary Driving Permit to be extended past 40 days and will give your DWI lawyer an opportunity to fight the suspension. Your DWI attorney can request an ALR hearing on your behalf if retained within 15 days of your DWI arrest. We recommend retaining an attorney as soon as possible.
During a suspension, you may still be able to drive by obtaining an Occupational Drivers License, also known as an Essential Need License. This license will allow you to legally drive to, from, and for work. It will also allow you to perform essential household duties like grocery shopping, appointments, and most other regular activities. For more information on DWI related suspensions, Christopher M. Lankford has published a helpful Legal Guide: Understanding DWI Related Suspensions in Texas
If you are facing a license suspension, we recommend that you contact a DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. The Lankford Law Firm has experience with DWI cases, suspensions, ALR hearings, and obtaining Occupational Driver's Licenses.
What Will Happen When I go to Court for a DWI?
The first time you go to court will typically be for an Initial Appearance. The purpose of this court date is to make sure you have any attorney and to ensure you are in compliance with any conditions of bond. The most typical condition of band is some form of alcohol monitoring, typically and ignition interlock device. Once these administrative matters are handled, your case will proceed.
Dress appropriately when you go to court. Shorts, sandals, and provocative or vulgar clothing are never allowed. Business casual is recommended, but some courts are okay with jeans and a t-shirt. Keep in mind, the judge or probation may be judging you based upon your clothing. You will never be over dressed for court.
It is typical for your attorney to pass your case several times before there is a resolution. Throughout the process, your attorney may be investigating your case, preparing a defense, negotiating, or having you take steps to put yourself in a better position. When your case is passed you will not have to go in front of the judge for a plea. Your attorney and bondsman will ensure you receive notice of when to be in court.
What Will Happen if I am Convicted of DWI?
A conviction of DWI will become a permanent part of your criminal record. Convictions cannot be expunged. Deferred probation is not available for DWI. A good DWI lawyer may be able to reduce your charge or avoid a conviction. Any conviction will also come with a punishment. The most common punishments are jail time, fines or probation. Your DWI lawyer will be able to explain the consequences and benefits of the different options.
The best person to explain your options is your DWI lawyer. We give individual consultations. We understand your concerns and tailor a defense to meet your concerns. Contact our office to learn more.
Helpful Links and Resources for DWI Cases in Tarrant County