Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is like no other criminal charge in the State of Texas. After a charge of driving while intoxicated or other DWI-related charge, you face two procedures: the criminal process and the administrative process, and through both procedures, you can suffer separate penalties. The criminal process is completely independent of the administrative process. The criminal process, if convicted, can result in a sentence of jail time, steep fees, among other potential sentencing requirements. The administrative process can result in either suspension or revocation of your driver's license.
If you have been charged with a DWI or related offense in Houston, Texas, or its surrounding areas, you need an attorney who will defend both your freedom from incarceration and your privilege to drive. Doug Murphy is that attorney. He focuses on you and your rights rather than a quick plea deal with the State. He knows that both the criminal and administrative processes have serious consequences for you. He will take the time to understand your case and develop a defense strategy accordingly. Contact Doug Murphy, Board-certified DWI and Board-certified criminal defense lawyer, today.
What Happens at the Time You are Arrested for DWI in Texas?
If you have been arrested for a DWI in Texas, the police officer should (1) first read to you an Implied Consent warning; and then (2) immediately ask you to provide a sample of your breath, blood or urine, the first of which is the most common and the last of which is the least common. The order is of importance because it could mean an officer failed to comply with the law, and that can be used to counter the State's case against you.
Your response to the request will also have an impact on the case. If you refuse to provide a breath or blood sample, the police officer will request a warrant to take a sample of your blood. By refusing, two challenges for you arise: (1) your privilege to drive may be suspended for a longer period of time; and (2) a blood test is more difficult to challenge in court than a breath test. With regard to the first point, if you hire an experienced DWI criminal defense attorney, your attorney will immediately request an ALR hearing to contest the suspension. With regard to the second point, if you hire an experienced DWI criminal defense lawyer, he will aggressively challenge the results of the blood test and any other available evidence. An experienced lawyer will show no fear of challenging the State because an experienced DWI lawyer should have a good understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding the handling of your blood sample and knowledge of how to interpret or read complex blood results. Nothing should go unnoticed with an experienced DWI and criminal defense lawyer, like Doug Murphy.
Upon your arrest, you face criminal charges and a Texas license suspension 40 days after the issuance of a Notice of Suspension. The Notice is generally given at the time it is determined what your blood alcohol content level (BAC) is or at the time you refuse to provide a chemical sample to determine your BAC. If you provided a breath sample and your BAC was 0.08% or more, then the Notice will be issued immediately upon arrest. Your driver's license will be confiscated, and in lieu of it, the Notice will act as a temporary license that expires 40 days from the date of your arrest. The same will be true if you refused to submit to a test.
On the other hand, if a blood sample was taken, the Notice of Suspension will be sent to you at the time the results are reported and it was shown your BAC was at or above 0.08%.
You have 15 days from the date you were issued the Notice of Suspension to request a hearing to challenge the Texas license suspension. If you want to protect your driving privilege and get a head-start on preparation for a criminal process, you should contact Doug Murphy, reputable DWI and criminal defense lawyer in the Houston, Texas area, today.
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing & Driver's License Suspension
If you do not file a request for an ALR hearing in a timely manner, i.e., within 15 days of the Notice of Suspension, your driver's license will automatically be suspended. If you voluntarily provided a breath or blood sample to test for your BAC level and it was your first DWI offense, automatic suspension will be for 90 days. If you did not voluntarily provide a breath or blood sample, but it was still your first DWI offense, your driver's license will automatically be suspended for 180 days.
If you or your attorney timely filed a request for an ALR hearing (i.e., within 15 days of the Notice of Suspension), then you can begin preparations for the ALR hearing.
Who files the request for an ALR hearing?
If you hire an attorney after your DWI arrest, the attorney can file the request for an ALR hearing on your behalf.
If you do not hire an attorney, you must file the request on your own. The officer should have given you instructions how to file the request.
But remember: this is an adversarial hearing, thus, the State will be represented by an attorney who knows the procedures, the laws, the expectations, and the regular arguments. You, on the other hand, may not. Not only will hiring an attorney--if experienced--help protect your privilege to drive, the attorney will also know how the ALR hearing works and will be able to counter the arguments of the State.
There's also another benefit to hiring an attorney to represent you at the ALR hearing: preparation for your defense in the criminal DWI proceeding.
Why should you hire an experienced DWI and criminal defense lawyer for your ALR hearing?
The answer is threefold: (1) timely adherence to the rules and process; (2) protection of your rights; and (3) preparation for a DWI criminal defense.
Following the Rules
You should know that the rules of evidence and procedure apply to an ALR hearing, and they still apply regardless if you represent yourself or not. Doug Murphy will request a hearing for you. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will send confirmation to him. He will advise you of the hearing date and important details attached to the date.
Additionally, Doug Murphy knows the process, the rules, the expectations, and the arguments used by the State. He always comes prepared for ALR hearings, ready to challenge whatever the State puts forth, and quick to think on his feet when challenged with the unexpected.
Protecting Your Rights
Challenging the State's arguments is in part what Doug Murphy will do to protect your driving privilege. As to your driving privilege, you want to avoid driver's license suspension at all costs. To lose this privilege for any amount of time can be problematic if you attend school, have a family, have a job, need to run errands, or whatever the case may be. You may not live in an area where public transportation is convenient. You may not have friends or family who can act as your personal Uber driver. You need your car. An experienced attorney knows how to challenge the State enough to perforate its arguments against you; Doug Murphy is dedicated to the same. Time is of the essence, though, so contacting Doug Murphy immediately after your DWI arrest is essential.
As for challenging the State's arguments. The burden of proof is on the State to prove two things at the administrative DWI license suspension hearing in order for it to win its case and deny you of your driving privilege. These two conditions are:
- The officer had probable cause to stop you; and
- You either refused to provide a breath, blood or urine sample upon request of the police officer, or your BAC level tested 0.08% or higher.
If the ALR judge believes that the two conditions are met, then your driver's license will be suspended. If, however, you hired an experienced DWI and criminal defense lawyer who was able to successfully challenge the State, then your driving privileges will be restored.
Preparing for DWI Trial
Doug Murphy is a trial lawyer. He prepares each case anticipating it will go to trial. He does so because he respects your rights and understands that mistakes happen. His trial skills are useful at an ALR hearing. In fact, an ALR hearing can be the foundation upon which your criminal defense case is developed. The same rules of evidence and procedure apply to an ALR hearing that also apply to a criminal case. Doug Murphy will use this as an opportunity. First, he will prepare thoroughly so that you do not incriminate yourself during the ALR hearing. Second, he will challenge the evidence the State has against you.
Doug Murphy can and will subpoena the police officer to the hearing. The benefit of this is simple: Doug Murphy will use it to acquire insight into what the officer did or did not do during the arrest; and will use it to question the officer, under oath, about the details of the events surrounding your arrest. This method locks in the officer's testimony; if his testimony changes at trial for the criminal case, Doug Murphy can -- depending on strategy -- either impeach him or “refresh” the officer's memory.
Through the ALR hearing, Doug Murphy is able to obtain a better understanding of what happened and what evidence the State has against you for the criminal trial. With this knowledge, Doug Murphy will investigate the case and develop a trial strategy that addresses the State's evidence in a manner that is least damaging to you.
It should be noted, however, that the standard of proof at ALR hearings is set very low; it's based on a preponderance of the evidence and not beyond a reasonable doubt. If you do not want your driver's license suspended, you have to fight it, but you can't fight it alone. Experience, insight, and strategy work hand-in-hand to prevent license suspension, and to get that, you need to hire the right kind of attorney.
Board-Certified DWI & Board-Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer in Houston, Texas
To prevent suspension of your license, you need a criminal defense lawyer who possesses the requisite knowledge, insight, and experience to challenge the State's case against you. Attorney Doug Murphy is a Board-certified criminal defense lawyer and a Board-certified DWI lawyer who fights on behalf of his clients and give back to the legal community by teaching other attorneys how to do the same. Contact Doug Murphy online or at 713-229-8333 today to discuss the circumstances of your case.