If you have been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), you are certain to have a lot of very important questions that need to be answered. We strongly encourage you to hire Charles Thompson to represent you in your proceedings. Mr. Thompson has defended persons charged with DWI in Harris, Montgomery, Brazoria, Galveston and Waller Counties.
We have compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions related to DWI. The answers contained herein should not be construed to be an alternative to hiring council to represent you in your court proceedings.
Q: How does the prosecutor prove that I was intoxicated at the time of my arrest?
A: There are three ways that the prosecution can prove intoxication in the State of Texas, and they can convict the accused of DWI by proving only one of the three:
- Not having the normal use of your physical faculties, or
- Not having the normal use of your mental faculties, or
- Having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above.
Q: Are you considered to be intoxicated if you have something other than alcohol in your system, or does driving while intoxicated or DWI only refer to driving under the influence of alcohol?
A. Yes, you can be considered intoxicated from substances other than alcohol, including illegal drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and even prescription drugs for which you have a prescription.
In cases where the defendant is accused of being intoxicated by a substance other than alcohol, the prosecution will not be able to prove that the defendant’s blood alcohol level is at 0.08 or above, and therefore must prove that the accused was intoxicated to the point of having lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties.
Q: Can you remove a DWI conviction from your record?
A: No, if you are convicted of a DWI it does not matter if you are sentenced to probation, jail time, or just paying a fine. Any DWI conviction becomes part of your permanent record, and it can hurt you when you apply for a job, a loan, a mortgage, etc. This is one of the critical reasons why hiring the right attorney, as soon as you are accused of DWI, is so important.
Q: Can you expunge, non disclose or remove a DWI from your record?
A: The short answer is no. They are convictions, and they stay on your record forever.
Q: Can you get a deferred adjudication on a DWI?
A: No. Deferred adjudication is not an option for defendants in DWI cases.
Q: What does it mean if I receive a probation for DWI?
A: Probation for a DWI conviction means that you receive a jail sentence, but the sentence is probated (in other words, you don’t have to sit in jail) for a time period, usually 1 year, on a first DWI. You are given conditions, such as community service, DWI education courses, fines, a video lecture, and whatever other conditions the court imposes. On certain types of probation, you will not lose your driver’s license to suspension. On others you will.
Q: What is the downside to receiving probation for a DWI?
A: If you mess up during your DWI probation period, the courts could decide to revoke your probation, and you will probably end up in jail. This could happen if, for instance, you are arrested again, you miss your community service or your DWI education courses, or drive with a suspended license.
Also, adhering to the terms of your probation can be very time consuming and expensive.
Q: What will happen to my driver’s license?
A: When you get arrested for a DWI you have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing (ALR hearing). You must request an ALR hearing if you want to stop your driver’s license from being suspended.
If you miss the 15 day window, your license will be suspended, and there is nothing that you can do. The amount of time that your license will be suspended will vary depending on whether or not you took the breath test, whether or not you failed it if you did, if you are over 21, and other factors.
If you refuse the breath test and you are arrested, your license will be suspended for 180 days. If you take the breathalyzer test and fail it, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. If you lose your driver’s license, you can petition the court for an occupational driver’s license.
On top of the suspension from DPS, you could lose your license on a DWI plea. If you plea to jail time or a fine only, you may receive a driver’s license suspension on a first time DWI, of up to 1 year. On a second DWI plea agreement, the suspension of your driver’s license can be longer, and in certain instances, you may not be allowed to obtain an occupational driver’s license.
Q: What will happen to my commercial driver’s license if I am arrested or convicted of a DWI offense?
A: There are more serious consequences for commercial driver’s licenses, but there are also ways to deal with them ahead of time. Make sure you inform us if you have a commercial license.
Q: What are the DWI surcharges associated with an offense or conviction?
A: There are many different surcharges that go hand in hand with a DWI. They can range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars. On a conviction for a first time DWI, it could cost you $1000 a year, for three years, just to drive. Some surcharges can be as much as $2000 a year.