When you’re pulled over and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), you may have questions about your next steps. A DWI charge is a serious issue, and it can impact your life for years following a conviction. Because of this, it’s important to fight back now, not later. 

The lawyers at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC have years of experience handling DWI cases and have seen firsthand how a DWI charge can permanently alter life for the worse. If you’re facing a DWI and you’re unsure about any part of your case, reach out for help. Our lawyers can speak with you directly, beyond the frequently-asked questions below. 

What is the difference between a DUI and DWI in Texas?

DUI, which stands for driving under the influence, is a charge only brought against minors in Texas. The individual must be under the legal drinking age of 21 and have an evident quantity of alcohol in their system. 

In DUI cases, the underage individual doesn’t need to hit the legal limit to be charged. The state has a zero-tolerance policy for people under 21 driving with any amount of alcohol in their systems.

DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated, is a charge that can be brought against any driver who gets behind the wheel while intoxicated. This includes drugs and other controlled substances in addition to alcohol.
The legal limit in Texas is 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, but as soon as alcohol impairs your ability to operate your vehicle in any way, you’re breaking the law.

Should I accept a sobriety test? 

You are not legally obligated to perform field sobriety tests. The purpose of these tests is to create evidence to use against you in court. However, that doesn’t mean you should skip it. Refusing a sobriety test can lead to an automatic license suspension, one that your lawyer may be unable to defend against, unlike a DWI offense. 

Blood, breath, and urine tests are not completely accurate. Breathalyzers in particular are known to result in false positives for many reasons. Breath tests offered at the station are often more accurate. Because of this, your lawyer may have grounds to question the validity of the test and have that evidence removed from the case. 

What defenses can I use for a DWI case? 

When you’re charged with a DWI, you need to take action and build the strongest defense for your case. That defense will depend on the details of your case. For example, the police may have pulled you over for a broken taillight, then asked you to complete a sobriety test. In this case, the police didn’t have probable cause to search you, which may impact the evidence they use.

What are the consequences of a DWI in Texas?

The penalties you face for DWI in Texas depend on several factors. One of the most important factors is whether this is your first offense, along with any aggravating factors. For example, for your first offense, you face up to $2,000 in fines, up to 180 days in jail, and a one-year license suspension. 

For further offenses, your penalties may be thousands of dollars more, and you may face months or even years in jail. You may even lose your license permanently in some cases. 

What are aggravating factors for a DWI offense? 

Aggravating factors refer to details about your specific offense that may heighten the penalties you face. For example, for a first-time offender, you may face one set of penalties. If you were driving while intoxicated and a child was in the car with you, you may face far more severe penalties. If you know of aggravating factors in your case, reach out to a lawyer for help defending your case. 

What can a DWI attorney do about my case? 

When you’re facing a scary situation like a potential conviction, having a professional with experience can make a big difference. Your lawyer can provide the information and tools you need to gather evidence that you weren’t committing a crime, for example. They can identify the best approach to your defense. 

One of the most important services a lawyer provides is representation. Your lawyer will act on your behalf in the courtroom to pursue justice, which means you can worry less about making a mistake or saying the wrong thing. 

Connect with a Reliable DWI Attorney in Fort Worth

If you or someone you love has been charged with a DWI in Fort Worth, don’t panic. You have options. The attorneys at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC are ready to put all of their experience to work, finding the best path for you to beat your DWI charge. Call 817-334-7900 today or fill out a convenient online form to get answers now.