The unthinkable has happened.
You went out with a couple of friends last night to a bar and had a few drinks.
You thought you were fine to drive but on the way home, you saw flashing lights just as soon as you passed the Pearland city limits.
You smartly refused the request to take a field sobriety test and consented to a breath test at the police station.
You blew a .10 and you were charged with a DWI.
You posted bond the next morning and got out of jail.
What happens next?
Administrative License Revocation (ALR)
Assuming you have a valid Texas driver’s license, the police officer should have taken it from you. He then should have issued you a temporary driving permit. Your license is could be suspended from 90 days up to two years. However, if you act quickly, there is a chance that you can prevent this from happening.
The suspension of your license typically takes place in Texas 40 days after you are charged with DWI. However, you have the ability to request an ALR hearing if you file a request with the State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH) within 15 days of your arrest. It is important to note that if you miss this deadline, you will be determined to have effectively waived your right to a hearing on your suspension.
Once you have filed your request, a hearing will be scheduled before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). At the time of writing this blog the SOAH is substantial behind and often the hearing aren’t scheduled for close to 90 days! Once the hearing is completed, the ALJ has the ability to either uphold or overturn your suspension. They are not authorized to modify the length of your suspension.
You have the right to file your hearing request yourself and to represent yourself at the hearing. However, since your ability to drive is at stake, it is highly recommended that you obtain representation from a skilled DWI attorney. The State of Texas will not provide court appointed attorneys to represent you in this proceeding.
Totally separate from the ALR proceeding discussed above is the criminal trial. If this is your first DWI, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. You will be given a date on which you have to appear before the court to stand trial. You have the opportunity to plead guilty to the charges. If you do not plead to the charges, you will have the opportunity to choose to be tried by a judge or by a jury. If you choose a jury trial, 6 jurors will be selected to determine your guilt or innocence. The prosecution will present their case and you will present your case, if you choose to. The judge or jury, depending on which you chose, will determine your fate.
Underlying all this is your choice to represent yourself (which is known as pro se representation) or to be represented by counsel. A skilled DWI attorney knows the above process backwards and forwards. They know what evidence to present and what evidence to attack. They know the deficiencies in the breath test equipment and how the court conducts its business. They know the law, they know the science! As such, it is in your best interests to secure a defense attorney, instead of facing the charges alone.
An arrest for DWI in Brazoria, TX is a serious charge.
A conviction for DWI will result in surcharges that have to be paid to maintain your driving privileges. You need to do everything in your power to ensure that you are not convicted. Skilled representation is your best chance.
Tad Nelson has been involved in DWI defense for over 25 years and his law firm is dedicated to helping you protect your rights. If you have been charged with DWI in Brazoria County, give us a call today at (281) 280-0100 to set up your free consultation so we can help you through the situation.