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Dallas DWI Lawyer

Dallas DWI and DUI Lawyer

It can happen to anyone!


You are driving home one evening after a relaxing evening with friends or family after a long day. Perhaps you have had a drink or two over dinner, but nothing to be considered over the line. While driving, your cell phone rings and you fumble around trying to get it out. The next thing you know, you are being pulled over by a police officer somewhere in Dallas County. No problem! You're not drunk...right? You may be right, but it may be a problem!


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Since the rise of political interest groups, such as MADD, the offense of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI, and referred to by many as DUI) has taken a swing in almost the complete opposite direction from where it was 25 or 30 years ago. This is especially true in Dallas County and other Texas counties.

The Texas Legislature has created tougher and tougher penalties virtually every session for offenses involving drinking and driving.

As a result of these tougher penalties, it is imperative that you seek a qualified DWI attorney quickly after your arrest, such as a DWI lawyer that has been trained in the art of defending those arrested for DWI and is experienced with how DWI and DUI arrests in Dallas are handled in the court system. An experienced DWI attorney can be the difference in you regaining your life or sliding down the path of pain and misery that you have only begun to experience.

To speak with a DWI lawyer call or contact us now with the quick contact form.

You should retain a DWI lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest in Dallas (preferably within a few days after arrest), especially if you are concerned about your driver's license being suspended.

Texas law only provides 15 days for you to contest the administrative suspension of your driver's license, which is automatic after a DWI arrest if you do nothing.

One of the major benefits to hiring a DWI lawyer to fight your Dallas DWI is that he understands the technical areas of DWI law, and will understand how to fight the suspension of your driver's license by DPS.

The reason it is preferred to hire a lawyer to fight your DWI within a few days after arrest is that it will take time to formally request the ALR hearing and documentation.

In other words, you need to give your attorney enough time to notify DPS that you do not consent to having your license automatically suspended.

If you walk in on the last day before notice is to be provided for the ALR hearing then your DWI lawyer may not be able to give notice to DPS that you are fighting the DWI induced suspension resulting from you arrest in Dallas (of note, the timelines and automatic suspension apply to any DWI arrest throughout Texas).

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The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) are a series of tests used by law enforcement officers to attempt to establish probable cause for arresting a person for DWI. 

The tests include three parts and are often done on the side of the road, which are the:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – this is a test where the officer uses an object (i.e. a pen or pencil) and has the person follow it with their eyes. The officer is basically looking for certain movements of the eyes, such as jerking, which are marked as “clues” of intoxication; 

Walk-And-Turn (WAT) – this is a test where the officer instructs the person suspected of being intoxicated to walk a certain number of steps down then take three small steps in turning, and then walk back.  As the person does the test the officer tries to observe “clues;” 

One-Leg-Stand (OLS) – this is a test where the officer instructs the person to stand on one leg in a certain manner and is told to start counting.  The officer administering the test does not tell the person taking the test how long he will have to count (hint: the officer is counting to 30 seconds). 

These tests are said to be reliable to a certain degree when they are administered in a “standardized” manner, which means they must be done a certain way each and every time to even be considered valid.  

The problem is that it appears there is nothing “standard” in the way SFSTs are administered.   

In my entire practice of defending persons accused of DWI (or drunk driving), I have seen only one officer perform these tests correctly in Dallas County, Texas.  It was a Dallas Police Officer, and he conducted the tests without a flaw.  Now, consider that I have defended hundreds, if not thousands, of people in DWI cases and you can see how big of a problem exists. 

I see Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers incorrectly give these tests all the time.  This is alarming when considering the vast majority of SFST appear to be performed by State Troopers.   

The problem is compounded even more when the arresting officer will not acknowledge he made a mistake.  I once had to spend about 4 ½ hours in cross-examination with a DPS Trooper until he would admit that he did one of the tests incorrectly and the results of his conclusion were invalid.   

It was a huge waste of time, and at the end of the day he looked at the jury and told them to disregard the test, which is what I had asked him to do within my first couple of questions in the cross-examination. 

Not only had the officer’s credibility been severely damaged before the jury, but the basis of what he formed his opinion of “intoxication” was more or less thrown out the window.   

Point being, just because the officer said you failed the Field Sobriety Tests does not make it so! 

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Can a person be arrested for a DWI or a DUI if they blew below the legal limit in Texas?

The short answer is yes!

In Texas, a person can be charged for a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) under one of two theories of intoxication.

Theory 1: The DWI is based on a blood alcohol level shown by a breath or blood test to be above the legal limit. For example, a person is arrested for DWI in Dallas, Texas. They are taken to the Dallas County Jail. The arresting officer asks if you would like to take a breath test. If you blow above the legal limit then you would most likely be charged with a DWI and then have to go before the Dallas Courts to have the matter resolved.

Now, what happens if you blow below the legal limit?

Theory 2: Even if you blow below the legal limit you could still be arrested for a DWI in Dallas (or elsewhere in Texas for that matter) based on the argument that you did not have the normal use of your mental or physical abilities. This is the charging method used by the Dallas District Attorney's office when someone refuses to take a breath test for a DWI.

So, what about a DUI? A DUI is not a DWI. The distinction between the two is the age of the driver and whether there is any traceable amount of alcohol in the system. If the person were suspected of having a blood alcohol over the legal limit or lacking use of their mental or physical faculties then the person would be charged with a DWI in most cases. However, if the driver was under 21 years of age then the mere presence of alcohol in the system would give rise to a DUI charge.

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A common question many Dallas DWI Lawyers are asked is what is the difference between a DWI and a DUI.

There is a difference in Texas between a DWI and DUI.

Driving While Under the Influence (DUI) is determined by age. If a person is under 21 years of age and is caught operating a motor vehicle with "any" detectible amount of alcohol they are most likely going to be charged with a DUI if the amount of alcohol is a traceable amount, but not enough to qualify for a DWI.

Here's an example, let's say that your son has been arrested for DUI in Dallas County while out with friends. How did it come to be? Well, he was most likely pulled over by a police officer in Dallas County, Texas (i.e. a Duncanville Police Officer). The Duncanville PD arresting officer did not feel that he was "intoxicated," but that he had a some amount of alcohol in his system.

As such, he is charged with a DUI. Since his driver's license is on the line, it's probably time to seek a Dallas County drunk driving lawyer that is well versed in DUI laws and the Dallas courts.

Let's discuss a DWI....

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is where a person has been accused of driving, boating, or flying with an amount of alcohol in his or her system that is above the legal limit as prescribed by law or the person does not have the normal use of his physical or mental ability (to paraphrase).

The key distinction here is that both a person under 21 and over 21 can be charged with a DWI (remember a DUI is limited to persons under 21 years of age and is only concerned with a traceable amount of alcohol).

For example, your son is now arrested for DWI in Dallas County after being out with friends. This time the police officer in Dallas County thinks that he is intoxicated (i.e. having a blood alcohol level over the legal limit or does not have the normal use of his physical or mental faculties).

In this case, the DWI brings much harsher consequences. Not only are the criminal penalties for a DWI much harsher (up to 6 months in the Dallas County Jail, plus a possible fine of $2,000 for a 1st time DWI), but your son is going to face DPS administrative surcharges of $3,000 if he is convicted of the DWI.

Since jail time and huge financial penalties are on the line for a DWI, it is important to speak with an experienced DWI lawyer as soon as possible. Specifically, a DWI lawyer will know how to request the information needed to fight the ALR driver's license suspension that is automatic if you do nothing.

Dallas DWI and DUI Lawyer
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If you are arrested for a DWI there are several things you should know:

1) You need to speak with an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. [Many people have a perception that an attorney is attorney for all things. On some levels this is true; however, just because an attorney is licensed to handle a certain matter does not mean he is qualified to handle that matter. As a quick example, let's say that you break your leg. You have two doctors to select from. The first is a allergy specialist, and the second is an orthopedic surgeon (aka bone doctor). Which doctor would be more qualified to treat your broken leg? Of course, it is the doctor that sees broken bones on a daily basis. True, the allergy doctor has some knowledge of broken bones from medical school, but he is most likely not the doctor you should seek. The same holds true for lawyers. You may have an attorney you used in the past for a will or power of attorney, but that attorney may not be skilled in the areas that are going to become a factor in a DWI arrest, such as knowing the ins-and-outs of SFST, the Intoxilyzer 5000, defective police stops, and more.]

2) Some police officers would prefer to arrest you for a DWI and let a jury decide whether the officer was making the right call at the time of your DWI arrest. [The police officer that arrests you without making an accurate factual determination of whether you are actually intoxicated causes you a lot problems after your arrest, including subjecting you to two (2) driver's license suspensions, the possibility of jail and thousands of dollars in DPS surcharges, fines, and court costs.]

3) The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will charge you $3,000 to keep your license reinstated after it has been taken off of suspension after a DWI conviction. [The only way to avoid the surcharge is to fight the DWI conviction.]

4) All first time DWI arrests do not end up with probation [Many people do not realize that even a first time DWI conviction in Texas can land you in jail for up to six (6) months. Although you stand a greater chance of receiving probation for a DWI in Dallas if it is your first arrest, there is NO GUARANTEE YOU WILL BE GIVEN PROBATION. To lessen the likelihood of receiving jail time, it is important that you have an experienced DWI attorney standing behind you!]

5) You are normally given "notice" of your first driver's license suspension at the time of your arrest. [Police officers that arrest persons for DWI in Dallas County will normally put you on "notice" of the pending driver's license suspension at the time of your arrest. Many people do not realize they have been given notice of the pending suspension and do nothing to attempt to prevent it. There are ways to fight this first suspension, known often as an ALR suspension, but you must act quickly after your arrest or it is deemed that you consent to the suspension. As a result, your driver's license will be automatically suspended on the date indicated after Notice of Suspension was given.]

Dallas DWI and DUI Lawyer
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Are you the best DWI lawyer in Dallas? Asking if a lawyer is the best DWI lawyer in Dallas County, Texas is a very subjective question.

Perhaps, a better question is whether you are the right DWI lawyer for my case in Dallas.

To determine this, you should ask questions about whether the DWI lawyer is experienced in Dallas Criminal Courts representing individuals charged with drunk driving offenses.

There are several factors in determining whether the lawyer is the best for your DWI in Dallas.

First, you should be comfortable speaking with your lawyer (if you like the lawyer then it's very possible the jury will like your DWI lawyer, which can be an important factor in a DWI trial.

Second, you should determine if the DWI lawyer practices in Dallas Criminal Courts often (many attorneys will go to several counties and this is permissible; however, it might prove beneficial for you if you select a DWI lawyer that spends his time fighting with the prosecutors handling DWI cases from the Dallas District Attorney's office. Why? All lawyers have their quirks and certain pressure points, and this information can become valuable information to your DWI lawyer in defending your intoxication offense, especially in Dallas County, Texas.

Third, you should ask whether the lawyer is experienced in defending DWI cases (again in Dallas if it is a Dallas County DWI). The laws governing DWI charges in Texas are complicated. Not only does a DWI conviction impact your criminal history (in Dallas and throughout the State, possibly the country), but it also impacts your driver's license and will continue to cost you money through the DPS surcharges. Because the laws involving DWI arrests in Texas are complicated and changing, it is important that you select a DWI lawyer that is experienced in practice, but also is continuing his education in the area of DWI and criminal law. All lawyers are required to take many hours of classes per year to keep abreast of current changes in the law. As such, you should determine if the Dallas DWI lawyer you are speaking with has focused these hours in criminal law, including DWI law.

Finally, one of the most important factors in determining whether the lawyer is the best DWI lawyer in Dallas is whether this is the right lawyer for your DWI case.

Aside from whether you are comfortable with the lawyer, the lawyer's experience working DWI cases actually in Dallas, and whether the lawyer is still active in learning changes in the DWI laws, you should consider whether other factors make this the best DWI lawyer for you. For example, whether the fee for the DWI is affordable, does the DWI lawyer take payment plans if necessary, and does the DWI lawyer know when to be aggressive and when to get more done with honey than vinegar, etc.

The best DWI lawyer in Dallas is most likely the best DWI lawyer for you. It's not a title someone wears or a card they carry. To determine the best DWI lawyer for you, ask questions about the lawyers qualifications, skill level, methods of operation, and more.

Dallas DWI and DUI Lawyer
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The first question to always ask is whether the attorney is experienced with DWI cases. All to often someone retains an attorney that is not experienced in representing persons arrested for DWI / DUI arrests in Dallas County.

The second question to ask is how much experience the attorney has with DWI cases in Dallas County. Is the attorney experienced with the court system in Dallas that adjudicates DWI charges in Dallas.

The third question is to ask whether the DWI attorney in Dallas has worked with the DWI prosecutors before in previous cases. Lawyers often get a feel for other lawyers after they have gone up against each other over time. Your DWI attorney in Dallas should be familiar with the way the Dallas District Attorney's office approaches cases similar to yours.

Finally, ask whether the DWI lawyer has handled this type of case in Dallas before. There are several ways to charge a DWI in Texas, and not every lawyer has experience with each type of charge. For example, some attorneys have only handled misdemeanor DWI charges, which may not do you a lot of good if you are charged with DWI with a Child in Dallas, which is a felony charge.

Point being, if you are arrested and charged for a DWI in Dallas County it is critical that you ask questions. In a city the size of Dallas, you want the best representation you can acquire. Do this by asking experienced DWI attorney will not only be able to answer your questions, but you should leave the lawyer's office with a better understanding of exactly what position you are in with the Texas criminal justice system.

Dallas DWI and DUI Lawyer
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A common question is whether the arresting DWI officer had to have a warrant to arrest an individual for a DWI in Dallas County. Generally in Texas, most DWI arrests occur in "plain view" of the arresting officer. However, this is not always the case. Let's look at two examples:

Example 1: A Dallas Police Officer, or Dallas County Sheriff Deputy, is on duty and driving on Interstate 35 when the officer notices that a car is weaving into the next lane. The officer also determines that the weaving is unsafe, and therefore decides to conduct a traffic stop. As the officer approaches the vehicle he notices that the driver is moving sluggishly. At this point, the officer has most likely suspected that the person driving may be intoxicated for DWI or a possible DUI, depending on the circumstances.

The officer states that the driver had the smell of alcohol, and his eyes were red and glassy. In addition, the Dallas officer also thinks he sees signs that the driver's speech is slurred. As a cumulative result of all the officer has seen, he believes the person may be driving in Dallas while intoxicated (i.e. a possible DWI). The officer will then conduct a series of roadside tests, commonly referred to by DWI attorneys and lawyers as the SFSTs.

Based on the results of the SFSTs, plus the police officers prior examination of the suspected drunk driver, the officer believes he has probable cause that a violation of Texas law has occurred (specifically, a DWI), and makes an arrest for DWI in Dallas jurisdiction.

This is referred to by many attorneys that represent clients for DWI offenses in Dallas as a DWI arrest in "plain view." As a result, the officer does not have to have a warrant and may arrest on the spot based on the initial stop for the traffic offense (weaving between lanes) and the probable cause developed (SFSTs, smell of alcohol, red and glassy eyes, etc).

However, let's change the facts now and look at a different example:

Example 2: A Dallas police officer comes up on an abandoned vehicle with dark tinted windows on the side of road along I-35 in Dallas, Texas. Using his "community care-taking function" as justification for doing an investigation, the officer approaches the car to see if the driver is inside and whether a medical problem exists that would require immediate assistance.

As the officer approaches, he sees that no one is inside the vehicle. The officer runs the Texas license plate number. While he is waiting for Dallas dispatch to return with the information requested, another vehicle pulls up to him and says that he witnessed the person driving the vehicle that is now on the side of the road, and the vehicle's driver was weaving all over the road and almost hit two other cars until he pulled over. The driver says he slowed down enough to see the person get out of the car and he knew right away that person needed to be arrested for a DWI, because the suspected drunk driver got out of the car with a empty bottle tall glass bottle that looked like a vodka bottle, was stumbling, etc. The officer takes down the license plate number along with the name the vehicle is registered under, gets a description of the driver, takes the name and contact information for the person that pulled up to him, and then the Dallas officer proceeds to try to find the suspected drunk driver. However, the officer has no luck in finding the suspected drunk driver.

In this case, the officer did not observe the person driving; however, he has a witness to help the Dallas District Attorney's office possibly build a case for DWI. Based upon the information, the Dallas officer has received he goes to a magistrate to get a warrant for a DWI arrest out of Dallas County. If the judge concludes that probable cause exist to issue an arrest warrant then the judge will sign the warrant for DWI arrest.

In both of these situations a Dallas DWI / DUI lawyer can be of great assistance. An experienced DWI lawyer will have the skill and knowledge to determine whether the arrest in Example 1 had valid "reasonable suspicion" and "probable cause" to make the arrest in the first place. An experienced DWI lawyer in Dallas can also determine if the arresting officer performed the SFSTs correctly. If the SFSTs were conducted improperly then the results are most likely invalid. In Example 2, an experienced DWI attorney in Dallas can make several arguments that the person arrested under the DWI warrant was not guilty of a DWI using various methods applied in defending persons arrested for DWI or DUI in Dallas County, Texas. For example, since the officer did not observe the DWI in progress, or the person suspected of being drunk and driving in Dallas, he will most likely be limited in the testimony he can give (i.e. all he say was a vehicle on the side of the road with no driver in sight and someone came up to him on the side of the road).

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In Dallas, Texas, many people are surprised to learn that if you arrested for a DWI with a child in the car then by virtue of having that child in the vehicle you will most likely be charged with the felony offense of DWI with a Child (a 3rd Degree Felony, which carries up to 10 years in a Texas prison, plus a fine not to exceed $10,000).

This is a common felony DWI many people are often surprised to find themselves charged with, because most persons arrested for DWI do not realize the full ramifications of this DWI offense. Moreover, a DWI with a Child in Dallas arrest can happen unintentionally.

For example, one Saturday evening you are out with friends in Dallas having dinner. You, along with your friends, bring your child. During the course of dinner you have a drink or two. After a full meal, you say your good bye, go to your car, secure your child with a seatbelt, and head for home. You are not have only had 2 beers. As you drive the streets of Dallas on your way back to your home, you are pulled over by a Dallas Police Officer for a minor speeding infraction. The Dallas PD officer notices that you have red eyes (allergies) and a hint of alcohol on your breath. The next thing you know you are asked to perform the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFSTs) on the road side. After conducting the field sobriety tests, the officer ask you how old your child is that is strapped into the car. You answer, and the next thing you know the officer is telling you that you are being arrested for DWI with a Child and you are placed in the back of a squad car on your way to the Dallas County Jail.

Does this sound unreal ? Think again! This happens every night across Texas, including Dallas, Texas.

So, what should you do? Speak with an experienced and aggressive Dallas DWI lawyer as soon as possible.

A felony DWI can have ramifications beyond your wildest nightmares. For example, once you are a convicted felony then you will most likely have a difficult time finding, or keeping, a job, plus it often leads to other criminal charges in the future (for example, now you can be arrested for Felon in Possession of a Firearm if you are caught with a gun. The District Attorney's office may use your DWI with a Child conviction from years earlier in Dallas to enhance your new felony charge to a Second Degree, which carries up to 20 years in prison).

Texas has done away with deferred for a DWI with a Child, so you can no longer get deferred adjudication for the charge in Dallas (or elsewhere in Texas).

Since deferred is not available on a DWI, you are most likely going to need to fight the Dallas DWI, so it is probably in your best interest to speak with an experienced Dallas DWI lawyer as soon as possible.

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