Texas DWI FAQ
What You Need to Know About DWIs
DWIs are considered a serious offense in Texas and can lead to a vast array of consequences that reverberate throughout one’s life even after paying the legal price of it. If you are facing DWI charges, you need to take immediate action and seek the representation of a skilled DWI criminal defense attorney in Texas. To help shed some light on the process and what to expect, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and answers.
If a police officer asks me to perform field sobriety tests, am I obligated to comply? When it comes to field sobriety tests, such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus or the walk-and-turn, you are not legally required to perform any of these exercises if a law enforcement officer asks you to. That said, it is important to know that just because you refuse these tests does not mean you will not still be arrested. In fact, oftentimes, an officer has already made up his or her mind to arrest you and is only asking you to perform these tests to build a case against you. Given that you are likely to be arrested either way, it is in your best interest to politely decline to perform any field sobriety tests.
Do I have to submit to a breath test if a police officer asks me to? Under Texas law, those who refuse to submit a sample of their blood, breath, or urine, could potentially lose their license for 180 days or more. If you submit to any of these tests and fail, you will lose your license for 90 days, possibly longer. If convicted, you might have to have an alcohol testing device installed in your car at your own expense. However, if you are asked to submit to a breath test by the roadside, you should know that handheld machines are not certified for use in Texas and differ greatly from the ones used in police stations. If you submitted to one of these tests and blew a positive test result, your attorney might be able to challenge those results.
Do first-time DWI offenders receive jail time if convicted? In most cases, first-time DWI offenders in Texas receive probation with no jail time. The penalties are harsher in cases that involve injuries sustained in drunk driving accidents or if the drunk driver had a minor present in his or her vehicle at the time.
What does probation for a DWI entail? If you are put on probation for a DWI offense, you will likely be unable to consume drugs or alcohol, go to bars or be around criminals, miss probation meetings, fail to pay legal fines, or commit another crime. Other requirements you might also have to meet as part of the conditions of your probation include the completion of a DWI program, attendance of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) panel, and community service.
Does a police officer have to read my rights to me if I am arrested for a DWI? Generally, an officer will not read you your Miranda rights if you are stopped for a DWI offense until after they administer the standard field sobriety tests and the blood or breath test. This does not mean you cannot remain silent. Instead, law enforcement simply does not want to remind you of these rights and the courts allow it. Therefore, if you are in your vehicle and are asked if you have been drinking, remember that your response can be used against you, so providing any information can provide evidence against you in court. While you are not legally obligated to answer any questions, keep in mind that it is always important to be polite. Behaving aggressively or rudely will not help you.
What happens if I have prior DWI convictions on my record? Subsequent DWI offenses in Texas pack stiffer penalties, higher fines, and longer confinement. Any individual who has two or more DWI convictions can potentially be charged with a felony, which can result in 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
How long will a DWI conviction remain on my record? In Texas, expungement and record sealing is allowed under certain circumstances. If you are arrested for a DWI and never charged or convicted, you could potentially have the arrest expunged from your record. If you are convicted of a DWI, you may also be eligible for an expunction under certain limited circumstances. It is critical to hire skilled legal representation to effectively fight these charges.
Whatever your circumstances are, it is important to reach out to a criminal defense attorney who has experience in handling such cases. Your future is at stake.
DWI Attorney in Lubbock
At the Law Office of Cynthia Mendoza, we understand that regardless if this is your first or subsequent offense, a DWI arrest is a frightening and stressful experience to endure. That is why we are dedicated to providing the help you need to ensure your rights and future are protected. Our criminal defense team in Lubbock will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible results for your case, addressing any concerns or questions you might have along the way to ensure you fully understand your rights.
Contact our office today at (806) 424-0900 to request a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Lubbock.