Texas DWI Frequently Asked Questions

I was just arrested for a DWI, and the officer took my driver’s license. Does this mean I can’t drive?

If you were arrested and refused chemical testing or blew over a .08, the officer probably took your license and issued a Notice of Suspension/Temporary Driving Permit (DIC-25). The good news is that your license is not suspended yet. However, this form is only good to drive on for 40 days. So, you must read this form and the Statutory Warning (DIC-24) completely. Together, they will tell you that you have a right to request a hearing on the suspension of your driver’s license within 15 days from the date you were given these documents.

You may request this hearing by phone, fax or through the DPS website. Your best bet is to request it by fax (be sure to get a fax confirmation sheet) or through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) website (then print the online confirmation).

I have an out-of-state driver’s license. Should I request the ALR hearing?

Yes. DPS will still move forward with the ALR process. If you do not request this hearing, your driving privileges in Texas will automatically be suspended on the 40th day, and you will owe a reinstatement fee to DPS.

While Texas does not have the authority to suspend your out-of-state license, a suspension here in Texas may follow you to your home state, and the home state can then take action against you.

Always request your ALR hearing.

What if I miss the 15 days and do not request the ALR?

If you waited too long and missed the opportunity to request the ALR hearing, your DL will automatically be suspended on the 40th day after your arrest for the appropriate period of time. This time can be either 90 or 180 days on a DWI 1st or longer if this is a DWI 2nd or more.

This is why it is so important that you request the ALR hearing.

Also, keep in mind that if you are stopped by a police officer and your license is suspended, you can be arrested and charged with a class B misdemeanor for driving while your license is invalid.

What if I do end up with a suspension on my driver’s license?

Call an attorney right away so they can help you get an occupational driver’s license (ODL). This type of license will allow you to drive for essential needs during certain times and in certain areas.

DPS will also require money and some other documents to legitimize your ODL, but an attorney should provide you with all that information as well.

I’ve started getting a lot of lawyer solicitations saying my case has been filed. Can I check this for myself?

Yes. You can review the status of your case on the county website. Here are the links to online record searches for Denton, Collin and Dallas counties:

Denton: http://justice1.dentoncounty.com/PublicAccess/default.aspx

Collin: http://cijspub.co.collin.tx.us/default.aspx

Dallas: http://www.dallascounty.org/criminalBackgroundSearch/

I was arrested, but I do not see my criminal record online. Does that mean the case was dropped?

Probably not. Depending on the county of arrest, most cases do not appear online until the charge has been filed and assigned to a particular court.

If you were recently arrested, there is a good chance that you will not see your case online right away. All misdemeanors must go through an intake process, and this takes time. Felony cases must be reviewed by a grand jury, and this also takes time. Even if you were not recently arrested, the state of Texas has up to two years to file a misdemeanor case and three or more years to file a felony.

If you do not have an attorney, you can check online to see if your case is filed yet. If you used a bondsman to get out of jail, they should also be able to help you with this when you call in each week. Of course, it’s always best to hire a lawyer to help you with any criminal case. So give attorney Kimberly Griffin Tucker a call or fill out the contact form on the firm website. Mrs. Tucker will be happy to help.

Will I have to get a breath test device on my car?

That depends on the DWI. If it is your first DWI and you did not have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher at the time of testing, then no unless there are some grave extenuating circumstances. However, if you have a prior arrest or conviction for DWI, regardless of your BAC, then yes. In fact, many times, if you fall under one of these categories, a deep lung device (DLD) is required as a condition of bond, and it is almost always required as a condition of any ODL you may need or any probation sentence you may receive.

Can I get deferred probation on my DWI?

No. The Legislature has specifically precluded DWI offenses from being eligible for deferred probation. The Legislature has also precluded any early release from probation on a DWI charge. What this means is that for you is that when facing a DWI charge, fight it or plead it. Many factors determine whether a plea or trial is the best choice for you. That is why it is critical for you to choose a highly experienced DWI attorney, like Kimberly Tucker, to defend your DWI charge.

What is a DWI plea bargain?

Most times it is probation. For a misdemeanor DWI, the length of probation cannot exceed two years. For felonies, it is 10 years. The terms and conditions of DWI probation are largely set by set statute.  That means there is not much room for negotiating the terms and conditions of what the court will require once you agree to probation.

Standard terms and conditions for almost any DWI scenario you can imagine will at least include:

  • No alcohol
  • A drug and alcohol evaluation by a licensed professional
  • Classes – DWI Safety Education course and a Victim Impact Panel
  • Community service hours

Will I have to pay a surcharge?

If you are convicted of a DWI-related offense, the answer is yes. DPS has the ability to assess surcharges to an individual based on certain offenses that occurred on or after September 1, 2003. If DPS is assessing a surcharge against you, you will be notified by mail. These surcharges do not replace a suspension, revocation, denial, disqualification or cancellation resulting from the same conviction and may be assessed in one of two ways: point system or conviction based. DWI convictions trigger the surcharge from DPS in this case. Once levied, these surcharges must be paid within 105 days or DPS will suspend your license for failure to comply with the surcharge requirements and the suspension remains until an installment agreement is established or all surcharges (and any related costs) are paid in full.

Surcharge for 1st Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
or out-of-state conviction for DWI, Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter     $1,000
Surcharge for Driving While Intoxicated 2nd or more (subsequent DWI)
or out-of-state conviction for DWI, Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter     $1,500
DWI with Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.16 or More
or out-of-state conviction                                                                               $2,000

These surcharges amounts are assessed once a year, every year for three years.

Will I have to get a breath test device on my car?

That depends on the DWI. If it is your first DWI and you did not have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher at the time of testing, then no, unless there are some grave extenuating circumstances. However, if you have a prior arrest or conviction for DWI regardless of your BAC then yes. In fact, many times you fall under one of these categories where a deep lung device (DLD) is required as a condition of bond, and it is almost always required as a condition of any Occupational Driver’s License (ODL) you may need or any probation sentence you may receive.

I was arrested but I do not see my criminal record online. Does that mean the case was dropped?

Probably not. Depending on the county of arrest, most cases do not appear online until the charge has been filed and assigned to a particular court.

If you were recently arrested, there is a good chance that you will not see your case online right away. All misdemeanors must go through an intake process and this takes time. Felony cases must be reviewed by a grand jury and this also takes time. Even if you were not recently arrested, the State of Texas has up to two years to file a misdemeanor case and three or more for felonies.

If you do not have an attorney, you can check online to see if your case is filed yet. If you used a bondsman to get out of jail, they should also be able to help you with this when you call in each week. Of course, it’s always best to hire an attorney to help you with any criminal case. So give Mrs. Tucker a call or send her a message on her website. She will be happy to help!

I’ve started getting a lot of lawyer solicitations saying my case has been filed. Can I check this for myself?

Yes. You can review the status of your case on the county website. Here are links to Denton, Collin and Dallas counties online record searches:

What if I do end up with a suspension on my driver’s license?

Call Mrs. Tucker right away so she can help you get an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL). This type of license will allow you to drive for essential needs during certain times and in certain areas. DPS will also require money and some other documents to legitimize your ODL but a good attorney will provide you with all that information.

What if I miss the 15 days and do not request the ALR?

If you waited too long and missed the opportunity to request the ALR hearing, your DL will automatically be suspended on the 40th day after your arrest for the appropriate period of time. This time can be either 90 or 180 days on a DWI first or longer if this is a DWI second or more. This is why it is so important that you request the ALR hearing. Also, keep in mind that if you are stopped by a police officer and your license is suspended, you can be arrested and charged with a class B misdemeanor for Driving While License Invalid.

I have an out-of-state driver’s license. Should I request the ALR hearing?

Yes. DPS will still move forward with the ALR process. If you do not request this hearing, your driving privileges in Texas will automatically be suspended on the 40th day and you will owe a reinstatement fee to DPS. While Texas does not have the authority to suspend your out-of-state license, a suspension here in Texas may follow you to your home state and the home state can then take action against you. Always request your ALR hearing!

I was just arrested for a DWI and the officer took my driver’s license. Does this mean I can’t drive?

If you were arrested and refused chemical testing or blew over a .08%, the officer probably took your license and issued a Notice of Suspension/Temporary Driving Permit (DIC-25). The good news is that your license is not suspended YET … However, this form is only good to drive on 40 days. So, you MUST read this form and the Statutory Warning (DIC-24) completely. Together, they will tell you that you have a right to request a hearing on the suspension of your driver’s license within 15 days from the date you were given these documents.

You may request this hearing by phone, fax or through the DPS website. Your best bet is to request it by fax (be sure to get a fax confirmation sheet) or through the DPS website at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/customer_service/alr.aspx (then print the online confirmation).

Will prosecutors reduce or dismiss my DWI charges?

That depends on the facts of the DWI itself and whether you have any criminal history. Each county is different. It is important to hire an attorney who regularly handles DWIs in the county you are charged in to discuss the likelihood of this happening based on your case.

The officer never read me my rights. Isn’t that illegal?

The “rights” most people are referring to are commonly known as “Miranda” rights. This Miranda warning comes from a U.S. Supreme Court Decision called “Miranda v. Arizona.” This case states that a suspect must be advised of their rights before any custodial interrogation by police or prosecutors. If you are not warned, your statements made to their questions while you are in custody may not be used against you.

However, that case also states that you are not in “custody” if you are merely stopped for a traffic offense and questioned prior to being arrested. That means the police can ask you almost anything prior to arresting you and they are under no duty to warn you or give you these Miranda rights. Once you are arrested, however, things change. When this happens, the officer cannot question you any further about the facts of the case without advising you of your “rights”. If you were arrested for DWI, you may or may not have been advised of these rights after being handcuffed and transported to jail. But the officer is not required to read them to you unless he is continuing to question you and gather evidence against you post-arrest.

Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today

The Law Office of Kimberly Griffin Tucker, P.C., is based in Dallas and serves clients in Northeast Texas counties like Collin, Dallas and Denton. To discuss your case with a highly experienced criminal defense attorney, call 972-833-8246 or email the firm.