Protect Your Rights – What You Need to Know About Your DWI Charges
In Texas, the DWI arrest process begins with the initial traffic stop. It's important to note that the police must have probable cause to pull you over before initiating any traffic stop. They cannot park outside of a bar and wait for patrons to leave the establishment. They must at first observe the driver doing one of the following: 1) breaking a traffic law, or 2) weaving in and out of traffic, or 3) they must have received some sort of a "tip" that the driver appeared to be drunk driving from another driver or from a citizen, in order for them to have "probable cause" to pull someone over on suspicion of drunk driving.
Your Rights in Field Sobriety Tests & Chemical Tests
Field sobriety tests are roadside tests conducted at the scene and they are used to give the police officer probable cause to arrest you. It's critical to note that these tests are used for the purpose of obtaining evidence against you; therefore, it's important to "politely" refuse taking any of these roadside tests because there are no legal consequences for refusing to take one of these tests.
Unlike field sobriety tests, there is a penalty for refusing to submit to a chemical test in the form of a blood, breath or urine test. Under Section 724.001, once you accept your Texas driver's license, you are consenting to submit to a chemical test when law enforcement asks you to do so. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test when a law enforcement officer asks you to take one, you will be subject to an automatic driver's license suspension for 180 days, regardless if you were actually legally intoxicated at the time of your arrest.
ALR Hearings & the Future of Your License
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) suspends around 100,000 licenses each year due to DWI arrests. This process is referred to as Administrative License Revocation (ALR), and is authorized under Sections 524 and 724 of the Texas Transportation Code. This is a civil action that is entirely separate from any criminal proceedings as it strictly addresses the future of your driver's license. Even if you are found not guilty for your criminal DWI charge, a Fort Worth DWI lawyer will still have to challenge the administrative aspect of your driver's license suspension with the DPS. We will be able to represent you at the ALR hearing, in which case we will take this opportunity to present evidence and fight so that you can retain your driver's license.
Whenever you are facing criminal charges in Texas, you have inalienable rights after an arrest including:
- The right to remain silent (you don't have to tell anyone how many drinks you had).
- The right against self incrimination.
- The right to speak to an attorney before answering questions and the right to have an attorney present if you choose to answer questions.
- The right against unlawful searches and seizures.
- The right to know what you are being charged with.
- The right to bail if it's allowed under the law.
As a normal person, it's difficult to navigate the murky waters of the Texas criminal justice system. This is why it's so important to hire a knowledgeable defense attorney. Our founding attorney, Navid Alband is a former Fort Worth prosecutor with extensive experience handling DWI charges from both sides of the fence. He has the knowledge and experience necessary to aggressively challenge all aspects of your DWI case while defending your criminal rights.
To learn more about your rights in the DWI arrest process, contact the firm today.
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