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I Got A DWI... Now What?

Chad West Sept. 2, 2016

If you are charged with a DWI, we can help. (972) ASK-CHAD.

Pulled Over for Driving While Intoxicated

A DWI is a very serious offense. There are different consequences depending on the state, county, and circumstance of the offense.

In Texas, the laws defining a DWI conviction state that a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level must be at or above 0.08%. The amount of alcohol needed to reach that threshold depends on a multitude of factors including weight, nutrition habits, gender, etc.

When you’re pulled over for drunk driving the police officer must have probable cause. This means, he/she has good reason to believe that you’ve been drinking or are under the influence of a controlled substance.

Once in custody, the officer will conduct various sobriety tests including the taking of your blood, breath, or urine sample to identify or determine your level of intoxication.  Although a person has the right to refuse a sobriety test there are exceptions commonly known as zero-tolerance or no refusal days/weekends.

How Does Zero-Tolerance Work?

In short, a judge or magistrate is on call to issue warrants for sobriety tests. A warrant gives the police officer the consent to obtain a blood sample from the accused which can be and is often used in court.  During major holidays, like Labor Day, the Dallas Police Department and neighboring counties will enforce the zero-tolerance consent law, meaning there is no right to refuse. Zero-tolerance or No Refusal weekends usually begin Friday afternoon and can last up to 3 or more days.

What Happens After the Arrest?

Once you are taken into custody, the long wait begins. Depending on the volume of the jail, the book-in process can be seamless or can take hours. After book-in you are usually taken to a holding cell until an arraignment hearing is held.

When a magistrate is available, he/she decides the severity and bail amount of the arrest by taking any criminal history into account. Keep in mind that it can take hours to see a magistrate if the arrest was made in the evening.

As soon as the bail amount is set, you are able to bond out. An attorney has the ability to do whatever is legally possible to ensure the process is sped up.

After Jail Release

Once you’ve been released, one of the first people you should contact is an attorney. If you have a valid license, be prepared to lose it. There is a great chance that your license will be suspended or revoked in an administrative license revocation hearing (ALR). You have 15 days from the date of the arrest to set a court date for the ALR hearing. However, having an attorney greatly increases the chances of keeping your license. An attorney can assist you through the rest of the DWI process and help you decide if you should go to trial or accept a plea bargain.

Common DWI Sentences

·         Fines

·         Suspended or revoked license

·         Required participation in correctional program

·         Add point to license

·         Jail time

·         Community service

·         Probation

·         Statutory fees

·         Car breathalyzer


Will my insurance rates increase?

Yes, most insurance providers will consider a DWI conviction as an element of a “high risk” driver.

Is a DWI a felony?

No, not usually. A DWI conviction will most likely be a misdemeanor but can become a felony if someone was killed or severely injured, or if a child was in the car with you.  Another instance is if this is your third or fourth DWI charge.

How much will this cost me?

Every case depends on circumstance. If you have a misdemeanor DWI, meaning your first with no prior criminal convictions, the case can range between $5,000 to $10,000- sometimes more.

Description of fees?

·         Towing fees

·         Bail fees

·         Impound fees

·         Court costs

·         DWI fines

·         Probation costs

·         Attorney’s fees

·         License reinstatement fees

·         Increased insurance fees

Dallas, we urge you to think twice before making an error in judgement and getting behind the wheel. Remember, DWI's are not eligible for expunctions. Taking an Uber will cost you less and keep you safe.

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