Getting arrested for a DWI can be an overwhelming experience. Whatever the circumstances that led you to get pulled over; you certainly did not intend to harm others or yourself.
What happens now? Will you lose your driver’s license? What kind of criminal charges could you face? Will you need to install an ignition interlock device?
A DWI charge can affect all areas of your life. In this post, we cover some of the things that can happen when you are arrested for a DWI in Texas.
Your license could be suspended if you refuse a test
Texas has what is called “no-refusal” DWI enforcement. This means that by driving on the state roads, you implicitly consent to take a breathalyzer test to determine your blood-alcohol concentration if you are suspected of drunk or impaired driving. A refusal could result in suspension of your driver’s license.
Refusing to complete field sobriety tests on the shoulder of the road does not carry the same penalty. In addition, an officer cannot force you to comply with the testing – you have the right to refuse. Contact an attorney immediately if your license is in jeopardy because of this.
Your arrest itself could trigger license suspension
Even if you comply with the alcohol testing, but are later convicted of a DWI, your license could be suspended. It is important to note that suspension of your driver’s license and the drunk driving charges are separate proceedings – one is civil and the other criminal. An attorney can help you handle both.
How much time do you have to request a driver’s license hearing?
A crucial step in ensuring you have the best possible chance of avoiding a driver’s license suspension is requesting a hearing with the Department of Public Safety. You need to do this within 15 days of your arrest.
In Texas, you have to specifically request it yourself. If the deadline passes, your license is automatically suspended on the 40th day after your DWI arrest. In the case of breathe test refusal, if you do not request a hearing, your license would be suspended automatically for 180 days.
While penalties for DWI charges can be harsh, having an attorney by your side can help you get the best possible outcome, especially when prior convictions are on your record. An attorney skilled in the area of DWI defense can aggressively defend you and minimize the penalties you may be facing.