DWI / DUI charges are not like regular traffic charges and require an experienced attorney’s help. Intoxicated driving cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent, often under public pressure from victim organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
Once the district attorney receives the arrest file from the police, formal charges are filed and you will be required to appear in court. After filing, your attorney has the right to discovery of the police report, video of the roadside stop, video from the jail, and the result of any breath or blood test.
Being charged with a DWI does not mean that you are guilty of drunk driving; a highly qualified criminal defense attorney can preserve evidence that could establish your innocence. Drunk driving defense attorneys can help your case by examining discovery materials, understanding the breath and blood test calculations, and having expert witnesses to challenge questionable test results.
DWI vs DUI Charges
The state of Texas acknowledges a difference between DUIs (Driving Under the Influence) and DWIs (Driving While Intoxicated). DUIs are given to persons under the age of 21 who drive with alcohol in their system. This is a class C misdemeanor that may be accompanied by a fine up to $500. DWIs are given when drivers of any age are pulled over driving with a blood/alcohol level over the legal limit. Both driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated can result in license suspension and future consequences.
DWI / DUI Cases Before the Court
If you are charged with Driving While Intoxicated in Fort Worth, there are three different courts that will be processing your case…
Charges Filed in County Criminal Court
First, charges will be filed in the County Criminal Court as a Class B misdemeanor which carries a punishment of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Additionally, you will be assessed a monetary surcharge by the Texas Department of Public Safety of $1000 to $2000 per year for three years. Depending on whether you produced a breath or blood sample, you could be facing a $6,000 surcharge fee to keep your license.
Driver’s License Suspension
Second, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days for breath or blood test failure or 180 days for breath or blood test refusal. The suspension period could be up to 2 years if you have one or more previous DWI convictions. An Administrative Judge will hear your suspension case if you file a timely request for a hearing to contest the suspension. You must request this hearing within 15 days of your arrest or you will lose your license! Justin Sparks contests every license suspension and requests a live hearing in every case.
Civil Petition Filed in County Civil Court
Third, if your license is suspended, a civil petition will need to be filed in the County Civil court to obtain an occupational driver’s license to allow you to drive your vehicle for any essential needs during the suspension period. You will be required to obtain an SR-22 from your insurance agent to show prepayment and proof of insurance to obtain the occupational license.
Driving While Intoxicated
Driving Under the Influence
Driving While Intoxicated with Child Passenger (felony)
Justin has successfully obtained dismissals and “not guilty” verdicts in DWI cases. His goal and priority is to keep DWI / DUI charges off your record. If you have been accused of a crime involving alcohol, or anything else that should be addressed by an experienced Tarrant County DWI / DUI lawyer, please fill out the contact form or call Justin Sparks at 817-334-0300 for a free initial consultation on how your case would be handled.
Justin Sparks has been defending clients across Fort Worth and Dallas for over ten years. Our firm helps you through the criminal process, from investigation to appeals, if need be. Free consultations for all new cases.