Our team of experienced and 5 star reviewed Fort Worth DWI lawyers at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC know how to fight DWI charges and build a strong case for your DWI defense. Our team has over 200 5 star reviews from former DWI and criminal clients in Tarrant County, Texas.
Our goal is not only a dismissal or a reduction on your DWI charges, but to also help mitigate the collateral consequences of a DWI arrest, including minimizing any driver’s license suspension and/or expensive fines imposed by the State of Texas. It’s important to remember you have 15 days from your DWI arrest to submit a request to fight your driver’s license suspension, so it’s important to retain a Tarrant County DWI lawyer quickly.
Our team at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC is ready to help you fight these DWI charges and get your life back on track. Rather than simply accepting the harsh penalties the State is going to try to impose, you have an opportunity to get your charges reduced or dismissed with an experienced Fort Worth DWI lawyer on your side.
WHAT WE OFFER IN YOUR TARRANT COUNTY DWI DEFENSE:
1. EXTENSIVE DWI SPECIFIC TRIAL EXPERIENCE
Our firm has extensive trial experience in criminal and DWI defense. Our criminal defense attorneys and DWI lawyers have tried over 200 combined criminal trials, including over a hundred specifically involving DWI and DWI related charges.
In addition, we have reviewed and successfully negotiated thousands of DWI and criminal charges in Tarrant County, Texas. This experience gives us the knowledge to advise our clients if they are getting the best outcome possible on their DWI charge.
2. FORMER DWI PROSECUTORS IN TARRANT, DALLAS, AND HARRIS COUNTY
Our team team at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC are all former Tarrant County prosecutors. Being trained as a prosecutor gives us invaluable experience because we know exactly how the State of Texas will attempt to prosecute you on your DWI criminal charges. This knowledge will allow our firm to build the best defense in fighting your DWI.
Partner Lindsay Truly, who is our lead Fort Worth DWI Lawyer at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC, is a former DWI prosecutor in Tarrant County and has successfully negotiated hundreds of DWI charges. She is also a Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2023 by Thomson Reuters. See some of her results and outstanding 5 star reviews.
3. SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE IN DWI LAW | BOARD CERTIFIED LAWYER
In addition to be trained as former prosecutors, our DWI lawyers know the inside and out of each and every aspect of a police investigation and State prosecution, including criminal laws, proper police procedures, DNA and blood forensic evidence, and knowing exactly how the State plans to introduce evidence into trial.
Partner Colin McLaughlin is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and all of our attorneys continuously attend criminal and DWI CLE seminars to make sure we are up to date on any change in the law.
4. HIGHLY RATED & AWARD WINNING DWI LAWYERS
Our team has received over 200 5 star reviews on Google from our former clients. In addition, our team has been recognized for their outstanding performance in criminal law. Managing Partner Bryan Hoeller has been named a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters for 2023. Lindsay Truly and Dustin Trammel were also both named Super Lawyers Rising Stars by Thomson Reuters for 2023. In addition to being Board Certified, Partner Colin McLaughlin was named a Top Criminal Lawyer in Fort Worth by Fort Worth Magazine for 2022.
What Does Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Mean in Texas?
- The accused was “operating” a motor vehicle, and
- They were intoxicated at the time of operation.
The legal definition of “operating” does not state the person has to be actually driving at the time to face penalties for a DWI (i.e. the vehicle does not need to be moving). Nevertheless, if a person gets arrested for being in a parked car, for example, it does give us an argument to get the case dropped.
The legal definition of “Intoxication” in this instance means that the accused person lacked their full mental or physical faculties because of alcohol or drugs, or that the person had a blood alcohol level of .08 or more.
The first definition of being intoxicated (loss of mental/physical faculties) is more subjective, which means the rules and standards used to convict you are broader. You may be charged with being intoxicated on any substance, including prescription medications. You may even face penalties if you’re sober but fail to take a sobriety test (refusing to take a field sobriety test or refusing to provide a specimen of breath or blood can be used as evidence of guilt).
As we can see, you can get arrested for being in a parked car and the officer formulates a subjective opinion that you are intoxicated. This is a fightable case and why it is important to reach out to the right Fort Worth DWI lawyer.
DWI Charges we handle at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC:
Here are all the misdemeanor and felony DWI charges we handle in Tarrant County, Texas:
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Class B Misdemeanor
- DWI with a 0.15 BAC, Class A Misdemeanor
- Driving While Intoxicated – Misdemeanor Repetition, Class A Misdemeanor
- DWI-Felony Repetition, 3rd Degree Felony
- DWI with Child Passenger, State Jail Felony
- Intoxication Assault. 3rd Degree Felony
- Intoxication Manslaughter, 2nd Degree Felony
In addition, we also handle cases that may times are associated with a DWI arrest, including an Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon, Drug Possession, Marijuana Possession, and Accident Causing Injury. If you would like more information about a Tarrant County DWI lawyer that gets results, call 817-334-7900 or fill out the contact form on our page.
Is it Possible to Have a DWI Dismissed in Texas?
The short answer is yes and retaining the right Fort Worth DWI attorney for your case is one of the best things you can do to fight to get your DWI charges reduced or dismissed. Our DWI law firm at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC has the experience, the knowledge, and the track record to get these charge reduced or dismissed.
Having an outright dismissal of the charges can be difficult because the DA’s Office devotes extensive resources training prosecutors to secure DWI convictions, but the right Tarrant County DWI defense attorney can make a big difference for your case. Below are just a few options your DWI lawyer in Fort Worth may explore to defend your case:
- Lack of reasonable suspicion to detain the accused (is it an illegal or bad stop?)?
- Lack of probable cause to arrest the accused (is it an illegal or bad arrest?)?
- Lack of evidence of Intoxication (did you pass a field sobriety test? did the officers fail to get a blood or breath test specimen?)?
- Lack of probable cause to get a search warrant for a blood sample?
- Bad Search Warrant (Providing wrong, incomplete, or false information in the search warrant)?
- Improper testing methods and lab techniques (Did the officer conduct the field sobriety tests incorrectly?)
- Not knowing your intoxication level at the time of the driving (i.e. the State must prove you were intoxicated at the time of driving, not 2 hours later)?
- Having an overall lack of proof in one of more elements of DWI?
Any one of these could be grounds to get the case thrown out or reduced. Sometimes, it is necessary to file a Motion to Suppress to present evidence to a Judge requesting the evidence be thrown out. If granted, than the State is forced in many circumstances to dismiss the case.
Whether you want the case dismissed or your charges lessened, using a qualified, experienced law office to help you through this tough time is essential. They can find areas that may have been overlooked and might just help your case.
DWI Diversion Programs:
Tarrant County has several diversion programs that also allow for a DWI to be dismissed (even if the facts are bad). These include:
- Tarrant County Veterans Court – This program is designed for military veterans who may have suffered PTSD or a related diagnosis as a result of military activities. Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC attorney Dustin Trammel is a Veteran of the US Army and has helped many veterans enter this program.
- Public Safety Employees Treatment Court – This program is designed for individuals who work in public safety (police officers, fire fighters, first responders, ER nurses at public hospitals). Partner Lindsay Truly has helped many public safety employees enter and complete this program, which allows for the DWI case to end up dismissed.
Your Fort Worth DWI Attorney’s Defense Strategies:
In addition to challenging the results of BAC tests, there are other strategies that a Fort Worth defense lawyer may use to help you with your DWI charge. That includes challenging why you were stopped in the first place.
Police have to have a reasonable suspicion to stop you. They also need probable cause to arrest you or search your vehicle. If the police don’t have enough evidence to justify their actions, your DWI lawyer in Fort Worth might get your charges dismissed or reduced based on any of the following:
- Reasonable Suspicion – The officer’s reasons to suspect you of a crime and come in contact with you must be reasonable and must be sufficient based on current laws.
- Probable Cause – An experienced DWI lawyer in Fort Worth, TX can challenge whether there was probable cause for pulling you over. For example, they may argue the officer did not witness any traffic violations before stopping you, and show that it was unreasonable for them to believe that you had committed a crime.
- Medical Conditions – A medical condition may explain signs of intoxication. The symptoms you experienced may be due to something other than alcohol consumption. Some conditions that can cause this effect include diabetes, anxiety disorders like panic attacks, sleep apnea, or taking cold or flu medicine.
This is the primary reason why lawyers check dashcam footage before going into court. It gives us insight into how law enforcement officers were operating when they detained you.
Even if police did not make any mistakes, they may still be wrong about their conclusions when they pull you over on suspicion of drunk driving. A defense lawyer in Fort Worth will know how to challenge these types of cases in court so that you can avoid conviction and save yourself from all the penalties associated with a DWI conviction.
Disputing the Officer’s Interpretation:
When you’re pulled over by a police officer, they may make note of your behavior before and during the traffic stop. These are called subjective observations, because they are based on an individual officer’s opinion.
Your appearance, including your hair and clothes, can affect the officer’s perception of you. How they perceive you will be influenced by what they see. But in DWI cases, it’s important to remember that the officer’s opinion of your appearance isn’t always accurate.
The officer may be biased or prejudiced against certain people based on factors like their race, gender, and class. In these situations, it can be difficult for them to give unbiased opinions about people who don’t fit their stereotypes or expectations.
You may also have a chance to challenge the officer’s perception of your speech patterns, mannerisms, body language and attitude. For instance, the officer may have observed you were unable to stand steady or were slurring your words. For some, this is simply a part of a disability, not a sign of impairment.
Your DWI lawyer in Fort Worth could then argue that there is no correlation between being unable to stand straight or speak clearly and legally intoxicated under Texas law. These are indicators someone has had some alcoholic drinks, but does not necessarily mean they drank enough be impaired under the legal definition.
Additionally, how the officer perceived your body language and attitude may also have influenced their decision to charge you with a DWI. The DWI arrest report will specifically identify the factors that led the officer to conclude that you were driving while intoxicated.
The report might include statements about your eyes being bloodshot or glassy, but these conditions can also be a sign that you were overworked and tired because you have to hold down two jobs to support your family. They can also be signs of a medical condition.
Your Fort Worth DWI attorney will ask you about your life circumstances and compare them to what the officer said about you and determine if there were any subjective observations made that could lead to a dismissal of your DWI charges.
Evidence a Fort Worth DWI Lawyer Will Use in Your Defense
When you’re preparing to defend your case in court, you and your lawyer will need to review all evidence for your case. This may include evidence that proves you were not intoxicated, evidence that proves you were not impaired, or evidence that proves that someone else was actually driving the vehicle.
Witnesses are crucial to any DWI defense. To get this evidence, a diligent Fort Worth DWI attorney will take the time to talk to witnesses that may be able to help you prove your innocence. They may ask for them to take the following steps:
- Write down what they saw;
- Describe the incident in detail;
- Give any indication that they personally observed any signs of intoxication;
- Recall if they smelled alcohol on your breath or saw beer cans in your car;
- Sign a sworn affidavit/statement.
Witnesses or passengers in the vehicle with you can also provide photos or video that show that you were not intoxicated at the time of driving. This means that if your blood alcohol concentration test results are positive, but the video footage shows that there were no signs of intoxication, we may still be able to seek an acquittal.
Your own video footage from a passenger’s phone can also prove that you were not even the person behind the wheel when the vehicle was pulled over. Video evidence can be a key part of avoiding penalties for a DWI charge.
Expert Witness Testimony
Your DWI lawyer in Fort Worth can also launch an effective defense by calling in an expert witness.
A Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer is familiar with expert witnesses, who can provide more information about your charges. We may call a toxicologist to testify on the BAC level found in your body, for example. They may tell the court how much alcohol would have been in your system at the time of arrest and whether you were legally intoxicated.
If you face a hybrid DWI/drug charge, your Fort Worth DWI lawyer may also want to call an expert witness to discuss the validity of any other drug tests you took. These tests may be fallible, and an expert witness can review and comment on the validity of your drug test.
Options to Avoid Severe DWI Penalties
Deferred probation or pretrial diversion programs (for eligible participants like a Veteran or someone who works in emergency first response, as noted above) are offered by the court system to eligible nonviolent first time offenders who face a DWI charge.
These programs may allow you to avoid a DWI conviction (and end up with the case dismissed) by completing the deferred probationary period or program. In these circumstances, it may be possible to ultimately seal your DWI arrest through a DWI Non-Disclosure.
Even if you’re unable to avoid a conviction, your lawyer can still seek out probation for your case. Probation offers you the chance to avoid time behind bars, in exchange for following certain requirements mandated in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
For example, you may not be allowed to consume alcohol while on probation, or you may have to complete certain conditions, such as an alcohol awareness program. If you fail to follow the conditions of a probation agreement, you may be sent to jail (for misdemeanor DWI) or prison (for felony DWI) to finish your sentence.
But these aren’t the first line of defense for your case. If you’ve been accused of drinking and driving, your lawyer will focus on building the best defense for your case. We’re ready to work with you to build your case and get the results you need. Reach out for your lawyer’s help before you accept a plea bargain.
Refusing a Blood or Breathalyzer Test | License Suspension in TX
You have the ability, but not necessarily the right, to refuse any test if you’re pulled over for drinking and driving (i.e. field sobriety tests, blood tests). But unlike the 5th amendment right to remain silent (which cannot be held against you), there is legal consequences for refusing to submit to a breath or a blood test following a DWI arrest.
The Supreme Court has deemed it constitutional for the State to be able to suspend your driver’s license for refusing to submit to a breath or blood test. You can lose your license for 180 days (6 months) for refusing to submit to a blood test on a first time DWI.
Alternatively, agreeing to and failing either a Breathalyzer or blood test can have dire consequences on their own. You could lose your driver’s license for 90 days if it’s your first DWI offense (if the blood or breath result is 0.08 or higher) or lose your driving privileges for up to a year if you’ve had any charges related to alcohol in the past ten years. In addition, the result itself can be used against you in the criminal prosecution.
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing | Fighting your License Suspension | 15 Days to Act
If you receive notice of a license suspension resulting from a DWI arrest, you have 15 days to submit a request to fight your driver’s license suspension through the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). If requested, this is a process that our firm handles for our clients.
Our Fort Worth DWI Lawyer will submit a request for an ALR (Administrative License Revocation) hearing and request discovery on the case. This request tolls (pauses) the suspension until the hearing. This is a completely separate process from the criminal case itself and could result in a separate license suspension from the criminal court.
Having a license suspension can have a serious impact on your life, considering many need a license to be able to drive for work and their family. Our firm helps clients get an occupational license, which allows our clients to continue to drive for essential needs during the license suspension period.
Breathalyzer Test versus Blood Alcohol Test
Law enforcement gets to choose the method they use to test your blood alcohol concentration. Many will ask for a blood test, but if given a choice (especially if you are on drugs, not alcohol), a breathalyzer tests allows for more challenges in a trial for a couple primary reasons:
- Judges and juries often trust the results of blood tests more than breathalyzer tests, making it more difficult for your DWI lawyer to refute charges based on a blood test;
- When your blood is drawn, they’ll likely test for other drugs, which can still lead to a DWI conviction in Texas if drugs are found in your system that can cause the loss of the normal use of your mental or physical faculties.
In addition, when you’re at the police station (or hospital) and they draw your blood, they will probably draw two vials. The second is drawn in case there’s an issue or contamination with the first sample. That second vial can help remove any doubts about whether you were intoxicated. Because of this, you may have an easier time seeking a defense for a breathalyzer test (if there is an option).
How a Fort Worth DWI Lawyer Can Challenge Your Blood Test Results
If you think the results are wrong, your Tarrant Count DWI defense lawyer in Fort Worth may be able to challenge your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test in court because test results can be illegally obtained, misleading/inaccurate, or contaminated. Below are just a few possible defenses:
- Bad Search Warrant: Maybe you failed the test, but if the search warrant is illegal (bad), than the test score can be thrown out in court.
- Not Intoxicated at the time of driving: Legally, they have to prove intoxication at the time of driving (0.08 or more). Yet, often times, the blood test is done an hour to several hours after the traffic stop. So the question becomes – were you intoxicated at the time of the offense, not hours later, so how much food was in your digestive tract when you were tested, your weight, when was your last drink, what type of alcohol all become important questions raising doubt about intoxication.
- Margin of Error & Uncertainty of Measure: if your test score is close to the legal limit of 0.08, then margins of error and uncertainty of measure become a potential issue.
- Chain of Custody: When in a lab, sample contamination may be a factor. That’s especially likely when someone other than a technician does things like draw, package, or analyze your blood sample. If the person that drew your blood wasn’t properly trained to prevent outside contaminants, like bacteria on their hands, then your DWI lawyer may be able to challenge the test’s validity.
- Bad Testing Methods: The State has to show that the proper testing methods were used. You may have gotten a false positive due contamination, or maybe an analyst was fired for not following proper procedures in testing the blood.
These are just a few of the reasons why you truly need a DWI lawyer in Fort Worth on your side. Your lawyer knows what to look for when it comes to BAC testing and getting your DWI dismissed in court.
Call a Fort Worth DWI Attorney for a Strong Defense
If you or a loved one is facing DWI charges, you need to act fast because the clock starts ticking as soon as your arrested (15 days to fight the driver’s license suspension, for example).
Fortunately, there are many ways to challenge a DWI arrest, and it’s important that your Fort Worth DWI lawyer understands how your case can be challenged.
Whether it’s your first DWI or you’re a repeat offender facing felony charges, you need a DWI attorney in Fort Worth who will fight for your future. At Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC, we provide aggressive representation and will do everything we can to get your case dismissed or charges reduced.
If you would like more information about a Fort Worth DWI lawyer that gets results, call 817-334-7900 or fill out the following online contact form.
Our Fort Worth Law Office
Fort Worth DWI FAQ
Struggling to get answers after you’re charged with a DWI? We’re here to help. Reach out to a lawyer for the help you need, and check out some of our most commonly-asked questions for guidance in the meantime.
What if I’m a minor who was pulled over and arrested?
Minors typically have stricter limits and tougher laws on drinking and driving. Texas has a zero tolerance policy for minors, which means any alcohol in your system can lead to an arrest. Any detectable amount a alcohol can result in a DUI. In addition, if the alcohol concentration is above a 0.08, you may even be tried as an adult with a DWI charge. Talk to your lawyer about avoiding these harsher penalties.
Will I lose my license if I’m convicted of DWI?
In addition to being able to lose your license by DPS for refusing to submit to a blood test or failing a blood test, you can also lose your license when dealing the case itself (potential for double suspensions). Generally, you’ll face a license suspension if you’re convicted of a DWI and given a jail sentence. For first time offenders who receive probation, than a license suspension is generally not required. If this isn’t your first offense, you may even face harsher license consequences, which means you may need to take extra steps to get your license reinstated. Your DWI attorney can help you avoid losing your driving privileges.
Will a DWI conviction impact my insurance policy?
If you’re convicted of a DWI, your insurance company may be notified of the incident. This conviction will play a part in your insurance policy costs. In some cases, your insurance policy may become unaffordable. In other cases, you may be denied insurance coverage.
What does it mean to be intoxicated according to Texas?
In Texas, intoxication is defined as not having the normal use of your mental or physical senses due to the use of alcohol, drugs, a controlled substance, or combination of these substances. It is also defined as having a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08 or higher. If this has been proven to be true, that’s all the prosecution needs to charge you.
What’s the difference between a DWI and DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are separate charges, but they do have a clear difference. You have to be under the legal drinking age of 21, be operating a motor vehicle, and have any amount of alcohol in your system in Texas to be charged with a DUI. You do not have to be intoxicated to be charged with a DUI. DWIs happen when you are over the age of 17 and are operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (i.e. over the legal limit).
What should I do if I’ve been stopped by the police after drinking?
You should ensure you’re being respectful of the office at all times, regardless of the situation. Staying calm and reasonable in this situation can help your case. Remember, you do not have to answer any questions and can request a lawyer before doing so (even though you won't get one during a traffic stop). In most scenarios, it is best to not answer questions if they are going to incriminate you (5th amendment).
If I’m stopped for a DWI, how soon can I speak with an attorney?
When you’re pulled over and accused of a DWI, it’s vital to speak with your lawyer as soon as possible following your arrest. The police have to do an initial investigation and book you in jail before you’re able to reach out - typically after you are bonded out of jail. Remember that you should always be respectful to the police, but not to answer any questions or tests they may ask you to do. This information may be used against you if you choose to do so.
Can I refuse a field sobriety test?
Yes. You can refuse to do the field sobriety tests (especially if you feel that you are going to fail it and that it will likely be on video), but the police officer is allowed to use your refusal in determining whether to arrest you for DWI. You may also refuse to provide a breath or blood sample, however, your license may be suspended for a minimum of 6 months (longer in repeat/severe cases) for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test or a blood test. If this happens, you have the right to request a hearing to reverse this (ALR hearing). You have to file for this within fifteen days of your arrest, so talk to your lawyer as soon as possible or let your lawyer handle the results of your Breathalyzer test.
What happens if I am convicted of a DWI?
If you are convicted of DWI, than you will be sentenced to either jail or prison, depending on whether it's a misdemeanor or felony, or probation. What type of probation and for how long depends on the facts of the case and the degree of offenses. Texas law states that it is mandatory to do some jail time depending on the type of DWI, even if you get probation. You may also face heavy fines between for being convicted of DWI ($0 up to $10,000 for felonies, along with DPS super fines, which can be additional thousands of dollars). In addition, you may have your license suspended, be ordered to have an ignition interlock device, and be ordered to complete classes, programs, and/or substance abuse treatments. Finally, a DWI conviction is permanent on your record, which can have collateral consequences on your career.
Do I have to have an ignition interlock device installed?
If this is your first offense, the judge may show leniency and you may not have to have this device installed onto your vehicle. However, there is certain offenses where it is mandatory (i.e. if you are a juvenile, or if you have been convicted multiple times where you also will not be able to drive any vehicle that doesn’t have one installed). In addition, for first time offenders who receive deferred probation, an ignition interlock device is mandatory in order to receive the future benefit of being able to non-disclosure (seal) your DWI arrest.
What if I’m arrested for a DWI with a child in the vehicle?
If you’re arrested for DWI with a child passenger (younger than 15), than you can be charged with a state jail felony and face up to 2 years in the state jail or up to 5 years of felony probation, with up to a $10,000 fine.