pulled over for a DUI

Law Office of Stephen Handy: Fort Worth DWI Attorney

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) defense requires a DWI attorney that is committed to staying up on the latest technology, defense strategies, and law changes.

I have been a criminal defense lawyer for 15 years and have represented many clients charged with DWI. I am a member of the National College for DUI Defense and feel it is my duty as a defense lawyer to be as knowledgeable as possible in the area of DWI defense. The National College of DUI Defense describes itself as “a professional, non-profit corporation dedicated to the improvement of the criminal defense bar, and to the dissemination of information to the public about DUI Defense Law as a specialty area of practice.”

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and Driving under the influence (DUI) are serious charges, and you need an attorney who will fight for your rights to protect your future. If you are charged with a DWI or DUI, you face many serious consequences ranging from a driver license suspension to a criminal record that stays with you for the rest of your life.

Be certain of one thing, it is not against the law to drink and then operate a car if you are 21 years of age or older. However, many people have come to believe it is a crime. It is only against the law to operate a car after you have lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties, or if you have a blood alcohol level at or above .08 at the time you were driving.

A few facts about DWI and DUI in Texas:

  • Intoxication is defined by “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of these substances, or any other substance in the body” or having an alcohol concentration above the legal limit.
  • The state’s blood alcohol concentration for a driver charged with DWI is 0.08% at the time of driving

What is the difference between DWI and DUI?

Many people use these terms interchangeably and don’t really know the difference. Texas is one of the few states that distinguishes between Driving While Intoxicated and Driving Under the Influence. Driving under the influence is a criminal offense applied only to persons under 21 years old if they have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. A charge of DUI is usually a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.00.

So a person who is under 21 years of age and driving with a detectable amount of alcohol in their system may be charged with a DUI even if they are not actually intoxicated based on the legal definition.

However, if the officer believes a person under 21 is intoxicated, that officer may charge the person with the more serious crime of DWI. DWI is a criminal offense in which a person (minor or adult) is suspected of driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Either charge carries the risk of license suspension and/or fines and you need an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to represent your rights.

Additional types of DWI/DUI cases:

  • Intoxication Manslaughter
  • Intoxicated Assault
  • DWI – Misdemeanor Repetition
  • DWI – Felony

What is an ALR hearing?

Drivers charged with DWI must also attend an administrative hearing to determine if their driver’s license should be suspended. This is known as an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. These hearings are important and I try to win each case. Winning the ALR hearing not only prevents your license from being suspended, it saves you time and money. Important: it is imperative to request an ALR hearing within 15 days from the date of arrest.

You can be so consumed with the criminal charge that you fail to secure the services of a criminal defense attorney in time to file for the ALR hearing. People come in my office time and time again unaware of the 15 day requirement either because they were never notified by the officer or it just got past them with all the other things they are dealing with. Don’t let that happen to you. In most cases you only have this 15 day window to contest the ALR. Once you miss that deadline, you have lost your right to contest it.

Under most circumstances when a person is arrested for driving while intoxicated, they are asked at some point by the officer to provide a sample of their breath or blood. Under the Implied Consent Statute, if you refuse or if you provide a sample over 0.08, the officer will physically confiscate your driver’s license and provide you with two documents. The first is a temporary driving permit called a DIC25 and the second is a statutory warning advising you that you only have 15 days to contest the suspension.

If you have been arrested for DWI, please call me immediately to discuss your defense and how to proceed. I will defend your rights against the DWI charge as well as represent you at the ALR hearing.

As a criminal defense attorney who has handled hundreds of DWI and DUI cases over the last 15 years, I will tell you that there are many ways to win your case. Making sure the officer had a proper reason to stop your car, making sure the proper procedures were followed while taking a sample of your breath or blood, just to name a couple. Just because the officer believes you are intoxicated does not mean the case is lost. Just because you blew over .08 does not mean your case is lost. As an attorney who understands the complexities of DWI and DUI cases, I will use every remedy available to obtain the best result possible.

As a criminal defense attorney, I handle more DWI / DUI cases than any other kind of criminal case. Please call me as soon as possible. Remember, you only have 15 days from the date of your arrest to contest your driver’s license suspension.

Call Fort Worth DWI attorney Stephen Handy today at (817) 589-2134. He offers one-on-one, vigorous representation for DUI / DWI charges in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, and all surrounding areas.

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