The following are some common questions inviduals have following an arrrest for Driving While Intoxicated. While this is not comprehensive, feel free to contact our office at Info@DFWDefenders.com and/or directly to Carl David Ceder at Carl@CederLaw.com. You can also peruse additional FAQ DWI information at the following location: CARL DAVID CEDER: DWI FAQ
1. Do I have the right to an attorney when I am stopped for a DWI investigation?
Texas law dictates that a person under suspicion for Driving While Intoxicated DOES NOT, per se, have the right to an attorney before being placed under arrest. This differs in great detail with regards to other types of investigation in the Texas Penal Code. In reality, you do not have a right to speak to an attorney until after the preliminary investigation on the roadside is completed (usually after the NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are conducted), and you have been taken to jail.
Likewise, most citizens accused of Driving While Intoxicated do not understand that even after their arrest, they are not permitted to speak to an attorney when presented with the decision of whether to consent, or refuse, to the taking of a blood, breath or urine chemical test. This is usually requested after the required "DIC Statutory Warnings" are read, which dictate that the officer has to read the "DIC paperwork" verbatim - and they do not have to allow an individual to consult an attorney before making the request. Taking this into account, it is still wise to still request for an attorney when you are first stopped by a law enforcement official and you feel you are under investigation for DWI (especially if they ask you to step out of your vehicle). Nonetheless, it is advisable to continue to w request to speak with your attorney before carrying on with any other of the officer's requests, including the roadside field tests, and when asked for a sample of your breath or blood (which is usually requested AFTER the arrest has been made).
2. What should I do if I am asked to perform the roadside tests (Standardized Field Sobriety Tests)?
It is incredibly important to understand that all of the roadside tests are designed for failure. Considering this, the investigating police officer usually is just trying to better develop a case against you with as much evidence as possible to use against you. By performing the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests ("SFST's"), you are merely assisting the officer by helping them manufacture evidence against you to later use against you in court. As such, be aware of this aspect of their investigation, because they are usually very well trained to manipulate an individual accused to perform these tests. However, they are doing so fully intending on using this evidence to skew against you later court.
For this reason, taking the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus ("HGN") test (the "eye" test), the Walk and Turn test ("WAT"), the One-Leg Stand test ("OLS"), or taking any other evaluation they request of you on the roadside is typically not a beneficial strategy to employ. Most experts agree that many law enforcement officials are not trained and/or qualified well enough to precisely interpret the indicators observed while administering these very precise evaluations. However, if you do refuse to perform these tests, it is important to note that you need to be polite as possible when doing so. It can be very detrimental to your case if you act in a manner that can be interpreted as rude or obnoxious to an investigating officer after he makes the requests and asks you to perform them. Once again, it is better to be courteous, considerate, and “respectfully decline” all of these tests.
3. The arresting police officer took my driver’s license after my arrest - what do I do now, and will my license be suspended?
The arresting officer usually will confiscate your driver's license if you either: 1) refuse to the taking of a chemical specimen, or 2) you consent to the taking of a chemical specimen, and the result is deemed to be a failure. Upon your release from jail and following the arrest, you have a minimum amount of time to request for a hearing relevant to your license to drive, which is allued to as an "ALR Hearing". You have 15 days from the time your driver's license was taken to request, via the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), to request this hearing. If you do not request a hearing during this requisite time period, your license will be suspended usually 40 days after the arrest. When the suspension starts will vary depending on a number of factors involved, including whether it was deemed that you either refused or failed a chemical test, and whether there are prior DWI arrests and/or prior ALR suspensions. It is vital to seek the guidance of a DWI Defense Attorney with regards to your driver’s license concerns to explain the overall process as quickly as possible.
4. How can a DWI Defense Attorney assist me?
From the beginning, an experienced DWI Defense Attorney should immediately ask relevant questions to help assess the situation based on the particulars of the arrest. Once relevant facts are gathered, an attorney should begin the process of helping to protect your rights, including your privilege to operate a motor vehicle (which could be suspended via the "ALR process); and also in reference to the criminal portion of the DWI arrest itself, which usually is handled in a county court (unless it is one that has factors which would result in the case being charged as a Felony DWI arrrest). This process should be done by challenging the state's case and all relevant evidence they have in their possession to utilize against you. Your attorney may be able challenge the validity of how the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST's) were conducted and the results obtained, or even work to challenge and contest any breath/blood test results obtained. An attorney’s representation would include having their presence during any additional police questioning after your release from jail, appearing at all court dates, and being present at a trial. To read more about the criminal case process in Texas, please read HERE.
5. When will I go to court for the first time?
First, the investigating officer will complete an arrest report, and eventually it will be filed with the relevant District Attorney’s Office where the arrest occurred. If your case is accepted via the District Attorney's intake division, and your case is filed by "information" (for a misdemeanor); or by "indictment" (for a felony), you will be issued a court date sometime after this process occurs, and you will have a first appearance. Initial first court settings can very well range anywhere from 6 weeks to 4 months after the arrest. Usually if your case is one where a blood specimen was obtained, the case will take longer to be filed because it often takes the lab more time to do an analysis. Generally speaking, regardless of the county where the arrest occurred, you should have an attorney with you on your first court appearance. Based upon the policies of the court where your case is assigned, you may not have to show up at future upcoming court dates. In Dallas County, for example, if one has hired an attorney before the initial appearance, the defendant does not need to be present at all. Regardless, you should consult with your attorney regarding the entirety of the process, especially what should be done in the initial stages. To read further about what occurs, generally speaking, at the initial appearance, please read HERE.
6. How long will this process take?
There are many variables that determine how long any criminal case will take, including and especially with regards to DWI cases in general, and every county operates in a different fashion. Cases that are on a contested setting, such as a motion to suppress, or a trial docket, usually willtake longer to resolve than others. It is impossible to predict how long the process will take, and depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of DWi case (whether it is a chemical test), what county has jurisdiction over the case, what court the case is in within the specified county, and many other variables, all dictate the length of the process from start to finish. To read more about the criminal case process in Texas, please click HERE.
7. I was ordered to install a deep-lung device ("DLD") into my vehicle as a condition of bond. What do I have to do, and is this an absolute requirement?
A deep-lung device ("DLD"), or commonly referred to as an "Ignition Interlock Device" - can be required in certain scenarios as a condition of your bond. Generally speaking, this would be the case if an individual has a previous arrest for DWI, or if there is a breath or blood test that indicates a Blood-Alcohol Content ("BAC") that is greater than a .15. Often it depends on what county, or court, your case is pending. Regardless, a "DLD" may be required while your case is pending, and while you are out on bond. There may be some other alternatives that may work better for you, depending on the scenario. Regardless, these specifics is something you can discuss with your DWI Defense Attorney in greater detail once all relevant factors are considered. Generally speaking, this condition derives its authority from Section 17.441 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
8. Will I go to jail or prison for a DWI conviction?
The consequence of your case will vary depending upon the particular circumstances, factors, and what evidence is involved with your specific case. Some of these would include whether it is a first, second, or subsequent DWI offense. The differing levels of DWI offenses, and the degree of punishment that may possibly result, can be further reviewed HERE. However, regardless of the nature of your case, an experienced and knowledgable Texas DWI Defense Attorney should help you properly evaluate your case, given whatever factors happen to be involved. It is always the goal of The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder to do everything possible to help all individuals that are represented to avoid, eliminate, and/or minimize any possible jail time. Moreover, the ultimate goal from the initial consultation is to try and avoid a conviction for Driving While Intoxicated, and a top priority will always be to help all those to have the maximum opportunity to remain clear of a conviction.