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Your Houston, TX DWI Guide

Answers to Common DWI Questions

Driving While Intoxicated: it's not as simple as it sounds. If you have been charged with DWI, whether it is your first or second time, or whether it is accompanied by circumstances that could enhance the penalties, like a DWI with a child, then you are probably full of questions. This guide is here to help you navigate and uncover answers to all of those questions.

At Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C., we want our clients to be well-informed. Knowing fact from fiction helps relieve some fears about fighting your DWI, and it can even add a cautious amount of confidence that you can and indeed should fight your DWI charge(s). Doug Murphy is committed to a complete, aggressive defense. Contact our office today so that he can begin reviewing your case and outlining your options. In the meantime, read through these questions and answers to better inform yourself.

What Are Texas' DWI Offenses?

If an officer pulls you over for a traffic stop or arrives on the scene of an accident and detects you may be drinking and driving, there are a number of offenses that could be charged depending on the facts and circumstances. These DWI and DWI-related offenses include:

What Kinds of Penalties Can You Expect From a DWI in Texas?

Just as there are a number of DWI and DWI-related offenses, there are also a number of penalties you can expect that correspond with those offenses. Generally speaking, in Harris County, you can expect any of the below penalties if you are convicted of a DWI offense:

  • Driver's license suspension
  • SCRAM bracelets or other methods to restrict driving privileges
  • Jail time
  • Fines and fees, and
  • Enhanced penalties if the "victim" of an accident purportedly caused by drinking and driving falls under certain criteria.

But the penalties do not end there. If you are convicted, you end up with a criminal record. In only a few cases, primarily your first DWI conviction, can a person have the arrest and criminal records expunged or sealed. Without the latter, you are left with what's known as collateral consequences, and these consequences can impact your life well after you have paid your so-called debt to society by completing your sentence successfully.

What Is the Criminal Process of a DWI in Harris County?

You may not know this, but if you are charged with a DWI in Texas, you actually have two things to consider: (1) your driver's license suspension; and (2) your criminal charges.

Administrative Process

Once you are arrested for DWI, your driving privileges are suspended, and you are provided a temporary license, which is actually a Notice of Suspension. You have 15 days to appeal the license suspension and request an Administrative License Revocation hearing. This process is through the Texas Department of Public Safety. It is important to contact Doug Murphy prior to this administrative process because he can (1) provide ALR defense to safeguard your driving privileges, and (2) begin obtaining evidence and information to be used in your criminal defense.

Criminal Process

The criminal procedure includes everything and anything from the moment you are arrested to the moment the charges are dropped or you are either convicted or acquitted. The process can be daunting and complex. Many of you may want to just plead guilty or take a plea deal for two basic reasons: (1) you think the evidence is indisputable and you will be convicted anyway; and (2) the process is too long and will interfere with your day-to-day living. Both of these assumptions are far from accurate.

First, Doug Murphy is here to advise you that DWI cases, no matter how complex they are, are indeed defensible. See below for a better understanding of what these defenses entail.

Second, Doug Murphy is here to tell you that if you do not fight your DWI because of the impact the process can have on your daily living, then you don't want to know what that impact will be if you fail to fight the charge and plead guilty. You end up with a criminal record that can follow you through life and affect anything from work to family to your constitutional rights.

What Defenses Can You Use Against a Texas DWI?

DWI is a complex area of criminal law, and a comprehensive knowledge of it is required for any good defense. Doug Murphy has skill and insight obtained from nearly two decades of experience with a wide range of cases and trials. Here are a few of the defenses that can be incorporated into your defense strategy—if applicable:

  • Constitutional violations. Doug Murphy will analyze your case, the video, the police reports, etc., to determine if any violation occurred, like failure to have reasonable suspicion to initially pull you over and improper search and seizure of your person or property.
  • Field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are primarily subjective and are based on little science. Plus, there can be any number of causes that can produce negative results, from environmental conditions to the mental or physical health of the person.
  • Breath tests. So many people think a breath test is damning evidence. But these tests and their results can and are regularly challenged. From the maintenance of the machines to the administration of the tests to the handling of the results, these tests prove faulty quite often. In addition, there are other reasons your results can indicate intoxication, and these reasons include anything from your diet to specific health conditions.
  • Blood tests. So many people also think a blood test is damning evidence, but the same proves true here: they can be faulty for a number of reasons. That said, blood tests are more scientific and more difficult to challenge but all the same, they can be challenged. The chain of custody tends to be a particular problem with blood tests, but the testing itself has its issues.
  • DRE reports. There are a lot of problems associated with drug recognition experts and what they say they can determine via the DRE steps. These reports and results can also be challenged.
  • Motions to the court. Moving the court to take specific action is a strategy Doug Murphy will utilize when it is available. Most importantly, he will move the court to suppress evidence or exclude witness testimony, and in many cases when these motions are granted, the charges are dismissed. For example, if there is a constitutional violation like an improper warrant to take a blood sample, Doug Murphy will file a motion based on this violation to request the court to suppress the blood results. When that happens, the State loses its most important piece of evidence, and if it cannot in all likelihood prove the case, the State will be forced to dismiss the charges.

What Are Some of the Most Common Questions People Have After Being Charged With a DWI or DWI-Related Offense in Texas?

Of course, not all of the above information will answer all the many specific questions you have about the unique circumstances of your case. Here are some questions that relate to particular DWI situations. Click on the links to find the corresponding answers to and discussions about those questions.

Who Is the Best DWI Attorney in Harris County, TX for My Case?

The "best" DWI attorney is in some ways subjective because it all depends on what you mean by and expect of the "best." But there are other ways, too, to help determine the best DWI attorney, and that's by considering experience, knowledge, client reviews, peer reviews, case outcomes, accolades, Board Certifications, and demonstrated commitment. Doug Murphy possesses each of these things.

Contact Doug Murphy today either online or at 713-229-8333 to get answers to more of your specific questions about your unique DWI case. His office is based in Houston, TX, but he represents clients in the entire region, including Harris County and other surrounding area counties.

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