What Should I Do After A DWI?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or drunk driving charges do not discriminate. Getting behind the wheel while even just a smidge over the legal limit is a mistake that many people make. However, if you happen to be pulled over for suspicion of DWI and subsequently plead guilty or are convicted, the consequences can be severe. The fallout from a conviction may include heavy fines, the loss of your driver's license and even jail time. With so much at stake, it is important to seek help from a dedicated criminal defense attorney right away.

At the Cleburne-based law firm of McArthur & Boedeker, Attorneys at Law, our lawyers understand that people make mistakes. We are committed to helping you through this difficult time and we will do everything we can to help minimize the consequences of a DWI charge so that you can move forward with your life. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at 682-317-9924.

Step One: Remain Quiet, But Be Polite

Everyone has heard the line, "You have the right to remain quiet," in movies and television. While it may be cliché, it is also true and you should exercise this right. If a police officer pulls you over for suspicion of DWI, provide him or her with the requested documentation (driver's license, proof of insurance, etc.) but do not volunteer any other information such as the amount or type of drinks you may have consumed.

Above all, be polite. A police officer's role is not to determine your ultimate guilt or innocence. Arguing with an officer has never made a bad situation better, and it is unlikely that an officer has ever decided that a suspect has made such a convincing case that he or she should be free to go about his or her way.

Step Two: Know Your Rights Regarding Field Sobriety Tests

Texas has what is known as an "implied consent" law. Basically, this means that in exchange for the privilege of driving on Texas roadways, you automatically consent to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test if you are pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. If you refuse to submit to a BAC test, the consequences are severe and may include a 180-day suspension of your driver's license if this is your first offense.

It is important to note that not every test requested by an officer is the same as the above mentioned BAC test. Field sobriety tests, for example, are optional and you cannot be punished for refusing to take these types of tests. In fact, field sobriety tests are highly subjective and it may be wise to refuse to perform these tests when requested.

Another test that an arresting officer may request is a preliminary breath test, or PBT. Again, there are no additional consequences for refusing a PBT. However, if you refuse to submit to this test an officer is likely to place you under arrest and take you to the police station to perform a proper BAC test.

Step Three: Know Your Rights Regarding Blood Tests

If you have been placed under arrest, you will be brought to the police station where a BAC test will be performed. A BAC may be measured through a breath sample, urine sample or a blood sample. If a blood sample is performed, a warrant must first be issued by a judge. Sometimes, it may be difficult for officers to find a judge. In other cases, blood may be drawn without a warrant, in which case your defense lawyer can have this evidence stricken from the record.

Step Four: Take Prompt Action To Protect Your License

There are two parts to a drunk driving charge. One part is the criminal side of things where you plead your case in front of a judge. The other part involves a civil administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing. Following your arrest, you have 15 days to request an ALR hearing. If you fail to do so, your license will be automatically suspended 40 days after your arrest. It is important to request this hearing, especially if you have a commercial driver's license (CDL). We handle both the criminal side and the ALR side for our clients.

Step Five: Contact Us

Many people may feel guilt or shame following a DWI charge and will often wish to put this behind them as soon as possible. However, doing so can have long-term consequences. We know that people make mistakes, and we are ready to help them protect their rights and their future. Contact us online or call 682-317-9924 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.