If you have been arrested for DWI, you have two cases against you. You probably know about the criminal case charging you with the crime of DWI, but you also have a civil case regarding your driver’s license.You only have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing to try and save your license from being suspended.
If you hire Jason before this deadline, he will request the hearing for you. If you don’t, we at Lawrence Law Firm can still assist you so that you don’t lose your valuable driving privileges.
In Texas, driving is considered a privilege and not a constitutional right. When you first got your license, you signed it, effectuating a contract between you and the State of Texas. One of the rules in the statutes says that if you are ever pulled over for DWI then you must provide a breath sample. It is called implied consent; however, in Texas, there is a clash between the Texas Transportation Code and the Texas Property Code. As a result, the State generally cannot force you to take a breath or blood test. We will go into more detail on implied consent below. You can and should refuse to take a breath or blood test.
If you refused the breath test, the State will attempt to suspend your license for 180 days on your first DWI arrest. If you have another prior DWI where you refused the breath test and it is within 10 years of your first refusal, then the State will attempt to suspend your license for two years. If that prior DWI was within 10 years but you took a breath test and failed, they will attempt to suspend your license for one year.
If you are a minor
and under 21, then the suspension time is 90 days on the first refusal. If you took the breath test and failed (over a 0.08), the State will attempt to suspend your license for 90 days on the First DWI and one year if you have any prior convictions within 10 years. If you are a minor, then the suspension is only 90 days. Under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, however, you still have the right to a hearing on whether your license can be suspended. The hearing is called an Administrative License Revocation hearing (ALR). This is not a criminal hearing, but a civil hearing with an Administrative Law Judge at the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
Once a hearing is requested within the 15 day window after your arrest, then the hearing is generally scheduled around 6-9 months later, depending on the county the case is in. You do not have to be present at the hearing, and not being there is better if the officer actually shows up, sees you, and remembers you. If the officer does appear,
Jason will get to cross-examine the officer under oath and get a transcript of his or her testimony to use in your criminal case. Oftentimes the officer’s testimony is discredited at the ALR, resulting in a win or potential win for the criminal DWI case. For this reason, many officers often never show up. If the officer fails to appear and they were properly subpoenaed, then you win the ALR hearing and keep your license with no suspension. The purpose of the ALR hearing is twofold: to get valuable testimony for your criminal case and to keep your license. In the event that you lose your license, you are likely entitled to an Occupational Driver’s License, which we can also help you obtain. If there are prior DWI convictions or you have a commercial driver’s license, there can be complications, but those can be discussed in person should the need arise.BACK TO DWI CASE
First, the court your case lands in does matter. The particular court tells us a lot about how the judge operates, who the prosecutors are, and what chance this case has of getting dismissed. Many courts have unreasonable prosecutors who refuse dismissal and trial is the only option. Let me be clear, some lawyers will tell their clients that everything will be fine and they believe they will have no problem getting the client’s case dismissed during the initial consultation. That is plainly malpractice. At this point in the case, the attorney does not know enough to make such a statement and is just trying to give you a false sense of security.
At Lawrence Law Firm, PLLC, we are honest with you from the very beginning. We will need the following things for an honest case evaluation: Offense Report We will get the Offense Report at the first court date and sit down with you and show you the contents. There are many ways around a DWI conviction. Why were you pulled over? Is that reason consistent with the current case law? Next, who is the officer? Is he DPS or a DWI Task Force Officer or is he an inexperienced patrolman who is going to crumble on the stand? What Standard Field Sobriety Tests did you perform? Did you have any prior mental or physical injuries? Video We will request the video of the arrest. It is up to the officer to turn in the video tape, if there is one. If there is not a video, we will subpoena his patrol vehicle’s maintenance records and figure out why there was not. If there is a video, we will watch it and ask that you do as well. Then, together, we can discuss the pros and cons of contesting what is on the video. Are we able to suppress the video? Usually not. But we can suppress portions if they violate the law. We will also secure the station video and see how you looked when you were booked at the station. Again, we will discuss the pros and cons of using this video and weigh out our options.HOW DO YOU WIN A DWI TRIAL?
Few lawyers have learned to win DWI trials on a regular basis. DWI is one of the hardest cases to try because it is an opinion crime. The definition of intoxication is not having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties, or having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. A skilled DWI trial attorney will systematically weave a thread of doubt throughout the entire case, demonstrating to the jury everything that occurred leading up to, during and after the arrest. The police and district attorney only focus on the negative aspects of your police interaction. We give the jury ALL the information they need to follow the law. The State must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and it is their job to do so.
Our job is to reveal the truth to the jury, even if it prevents the district attorney from completing their mission. When Jason is representing you, very rarely can or does a jury decide guilt beyond a reasonable doubt based on an officer’s opinion that you lost your normal mental or physical faculties. What separates us from the other Houston DWI trial lawyers is that we care about our clients: We get to know who you are so that we can present the real you to the jury for their consideration.
If the State has a breath or blood test, your case might become more difficult, but a fair jury will still follow the law and find you not guilty. The State must prove that your BAC is accurate and reliable. Jason Lawrence has rarely met a district attorney with enough knowledge and understanding of the Intoxilyzer machine and infrared spectroscopy to be able to convince a jury upon the reliability of the results. Blood is more difficult to defend than breath and, again, few DWI defense attorneys understand the science, and even fewer district attorneys understand blood. It is absolutely crucial that you hire a blood or breath DWI trial attorney such as Jason Lawrence.