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Fort Worth DWI Lawyer

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WARNING: Texas law provides only 15 days for your Fort Worth DWI lawyer to challenge the administration suspension of your license after a DWI arrest. If you do nothing, DPS will assume that you consent to having your license taken away. We can often delay, and sometimes prevent, this suspension.

Do you need a DWI Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas?

if you have been arrested for a DWI in Fort Worth, or elsewhere in Tarrant County, the answer is yes. One of the biggest mistakes a person can make after being arrested for driving while intoxicated is to not take it seriously, especially in Fort Worth, texas.

Your first DWI offense could result in 180 days in the Tarrant County Jail, plus a fine not to exceed $2,000. In addition, DPS requires a person convicted of DWI to pay $3,000 in surcharges if they wish to drive again. Add to this increases in insurance rates and license suspensions, and it becomes clear that even a first arrest for DWI is something to give significant attention.

If you have been previously convicted of a DWI, and then are arrested on a new DWI charge, then the penalties increase substantially from an enhanced misdemeanor to a felony depending on the circumstances.

Does an arrest for DWI in Fort Worth, Texas mean you are automatically going to jail if convicted? NO!

Our law firm has successfully defended individuals arrested for DWI in Tarrant County. Of those, the majority of our clients never spend another unwanted day in jail after they have bonded out of the Tarrant County Jail.

If you have been arrested for a DWI in Fort Worth, you need to speak with an experienced DWI lawyer within 15 days after your arrest if possible. You can reach us at (817) 717-6847 or via the contact form.

If you are stopped for suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Fort Worth, or elsewhere in Tarrant County, you will most likely be asked to perform a series of tests, which are known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST).

What are the actual Standardized Field Sobriety Tests used in Fort Worth, Texas?

While the police officer may ask you to say your ABCs or touch your fingers together, these are not the official tests.

There are three primary tests included in the SFSTs:

1) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test:

This is commonly referred to as the "eye test." The police officer conducting the DWI investigation will normally hold an object (i.e. a pen) a certain distance away from the face. After a set of instructions are given, the officer will begin moving the pen in various patterns back and forth until the test is completed. Of note, while the name of the test refers to horizontal movement, the test normally concludes with a vertical movement to detect whether nystagmus is present when the eye is tested going through up and down movements.

What is the officer looking for when conducting the HGN?

In short, he's looking to see if the person can follow instructions and whether the eye jerks at certain points during the test.

What is the problem with the HGN test?

Many people, regardless of alcohol consumption, have some form of nystagmus in their eyes. Also, the test must be performed correctly to be effective, and even when it is performed effectively it is not conclusive proof someone was intoxicated.

2) Walk and Turn Test (WAT):

During this test, the officer will give the person a series of instructions. While it may sound simple on the surface (i.e. just walk down there and turn around), this test has a very specific set of instructions that provide an array of traps for the person suspected of drinking and driving to fall into during the investigation.

What is the officer looking for when you do the Walk and Turn?

There are several things the officer is watching for during this test. They include whether instructions were followed, whether the person stepped off the imaginary lines, and so forth.

What is the problem with the Walk and Turn Test?

First, the test only measures how well someone can balance. Second, the test is complex and more difficult to do than most people think, especially when someone is under the pressure of realizing that they are being investigated for a DWI on a busy street in Fort Worth. Finally, the test is not given in a controlled environment in almost all cases, and include may include problems with the slope of the surface, the fact that the person is being asked to walk a line that will normally only exist in the officer's head, and the list goes on and on.

3) One Leg Stand (OLS):

This is a test where the officer will ask the person being investigated for DWI to stand on one leg and count.

What is the investigating officer looking for during the OLS?

The officer will be looking for specific signs that indicate the ability to balance while performing an additional task (speaking). Also, the police officer is looking to see whether the person being tested properly followed the instructions.

What is the problem with the One Leg Stand Test?

Again, it presupposes a person has no balancing issues. Also, it is normally not done in a controlled environment.

What does all of this have to do with the level of alcohol in someone's blood? Nothing! It's nothing more than a balancing test and how good your eyes are on a given day. Moreover, the tests makes a faulty conclusion that if you are uncoordinated then you must be drunk. Simply put, this is a false assumption.

If you have been arrested for drinking and driving in Fort Worth, or the surrounding area, and would like to speak with a Fort Worth, Texas DWI / DUI lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm at (817) 717-6847 or use our Contact Form.

Categories: Fort Worth DWI Lawyer Post, Tarrant County, Texas, Blood and Breath Tests

Date: September 13, 2010

Is the breath test machine going to be a thing of the past?

A discussion recently came up with another Fort Worth DWI lawyer on whether Fort Worth might try to replace blood tests with breath tests for those suspected of driving while intoxicated in the area. The idea is not inconceivable when you consider that there have been recent moves that suggest some within Fort Worth might like to see this change and similar discussions have already taken place in Dallas on the subject.

While it might occur one day, it is unlikely to happen now for two primary reasons:

First, with the state of the current economy, it is likely that such an action would place a strain on government budgets that are already strapped for cash. While it's true that the county could attempt to recoup the money as restitution at the conclusion of a DWI case, that would assume the Tarrant County DA's office will get a conviction on the DWI. Moreover, there is no guarantee that restitution will be repaid.

Second, and related to the first point to some degree, is that any attempt to replace breath with blood tests would require a substantial increase in laboratory resources. In short, the move would likely require additional labs and techs to process the specimens, which in turn would strain budgets even more.

Instead of outright replacing the breath test for those suspected of drinking and driving beyond the legal limit, it seems likely that Tarrant County officials might increase "No Refusal" policies for blood draws of suspected DWI drivers.

As of now, these policy are normally activated during times when law enforcement believes the number of intoxicated drivers on the road will increase. For example, the policy was recently activated in Fort Worth, and throughout Tarrant County, during this last 4th of July weekend with approximately 29 law enforcement agencies in the county participating in the program.

Regardless of whether breath test are replaced with blood, it's important to remember that if asked to submit a specimen you are providing evidence that can later be used against you, and while you are free to make your own decision, remember voluntarily submitting evidence is likely to come back to bite you.

If you have been arrested for drinking and driving in Fort Worth, or the surrounding area, and would like to speak with a Fort Worth, Texas DWI / DUI lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm at (817) 717-6847 or use our Contact Form.

Categories: Fort Worth DWI Lawyer Post, Tarrant County, Texas, Blood and Breath Tests

Date: September 8, 2010

 

In Fort Worth, as elsewhere in Texas, DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated is a criminal charge that essentially makes it against the law to drive a motor vehicle while one is intoxicated.

A DWI arrest in Texas is different from a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge. The main distinction between the two deals with age. DUI is an age specific crime, which means that if a) the driver is under 21 years of age, b) has any detectable amount of alcohol, and c) is driving a motor vehicle he can be cited with DUI, which is a Class C misdemeanor.

In contrast, a DWI can be given to anyone regardless of age, and punishment for a first time DWI could result in up to 6 months in the Tarrant County Jail.

Why? The elements for Driving While Intoxicated are different than a DUI under Texas law. Specifically, for an officer to arrest a driver for DWI he must have probably cause to believe the driver is "intoxicated."

Under Texas criminal law, intoxication does not necessarily mean a person is driving "drunk" in the common sense of the word. Rather, it carries a legal definition, which means that a person is either a) the driver has lost the "normal" use of his, or her, mental or physical faculties or b) the person has a concentration of alcohol in the body of .08 or higher.

Now, here is where it gets interesting from a lawyers's standpoint....

The determination of "normal" is key in assessing whether a person has committed the offense of DWI, and it can be like trying to pin Jell-o to a wall in some cases. The reason is that "normal" use is determined not by the arresting officer or what we think is normal, but normal as it pertains to the accused driver.

Although this can often work towards your advantage, in some cases it can be the Tarrant County prosecutor's fall-back position in seeking a criminal conviction against you for DWI.

For example, let's say that you are pulled over by a Fort Worth police officer under suspicion of drunk driving. After conducting some field sobriety tests, the officer believes he has probably cause to arrest your for Driving While Intoxicated. Further, let's say that you are offered a chance to take a blood or breath test, which you give consent based on your feeling that you are not intoxicated. The results of the breath/blood test come back to show that your blood alcohol level is less than .08 as mandated by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Despite having blown less than the legal limit, you find yourself arrested for DWI.

Why did this occur? Well, the prosecuting attorney can fall back on the "loss of normal use" prong of the DWI elements, which means that the Tarrant County DA's office will attempt to get a conviction against you under the theory that you did not have the use of your normal mental or physical faculties at the time you were operating a motor vehicle, because while you were driving you did [insert the reason you got stopped by the police here in most cases].

As you can see, there are many twists and turns to a DWI arrest, and it is considered a highly technical area of criminal law. For that reason, if you find yourself in the position of being arrested for a DWI you need to hire an experienced DWI lawyer that understands the criminal system in Fort Worth, Texas.

If you have been arrested for a DWI in Fort Worth, or within Tarrant County, and you would like to speak with a DWI Lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact our office by phone or send us a message.

Categories: Fort Worth DWI Lawyer Post, Tarrant County, Texas, DUI and. DWI

Date: July 30, 2010

 

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If you would like to speak with our law firm regarding a legal matter you have, we encourage you to contact us by phone at (817) 717-6847 or send us a message.