You've been Arrested for DWI in Tarrant County. What now?

    You have 2 choices: accept prosecutor's plea offer, or fight the DWI charge. If you decide to fight the charge, there must be a trial. You are required to attend ALL hearings set on your behalf. With help, you may be able to deal with the District Attorney for a lesser charge that would not include a DWI.

    Call a local attorney who defends against charges of driving while intoxicated. This area of law is fact specific and time sensitive, and you need a lawyer with an education and background in DWI defense. Be sure to secure legal representation as soon as possible, because you have only 15 days from the day of your arrest to request an administrative hearing. An administrative hearing is where your lawyer can prevent the suspension of your driver's license.

    Having competent representation to rely on is so important when facing a charge of DWI or DUI. First, if convicted you will have a criminal record. Second, you could face even worse consequences because most employers will not hire or retain a person who has been charged with a DWI. Finally, if you hold professional, technical, or other commercial licensure, you are in danger of losing that license placing your entire livelihood in jeopardy. A DWI will stay on your record for a minimum of 5 years.

    Don't play Russian roulette with a fully loaded pistol! If you have been arrested for DWI, you need legal representation!

What to Expect Next

   When you were arrested, it is likely that your driver's license was confiscated by police. When you were released from jail, you should have received a "DIC-25." This form is titled "Notice of Suspension" and "Temporary Driving Permit." This piece of paper is a temporary driver's license, and it expires in 40 days from the date of service. So the first thing your lawyer will do is request an administrative license revocation hearing. This hearing is in regard to the suspension of your driver's license and is separate from hearings regarding the DWI charge. Here, the judge will decide whether or not to extend the validity of your temporary license.

The judge will not automatically allow you to keep your license; you will have to plead your case. In the majority of cases for a first offense of DWI, the defendant will be able to continue driving with the temporary permit. This will mostly depend on your blood alcohol content upon arrest. Note however, that if you REFUSED to give a blood, urine, or breath sample when you were arrested, your driver's license is automatically suspended and will remain suspended for 3 - 12 months, EVEN if you are not finally convicted of the DWI.

The trial for a DWI will occur anytime between 2 - 6 months, generally, after an arrest. Unfortunately, most of the factors in regard to the timing of trial is out of your hands. It depends on the complexity of your case, whether or not expert witnesses will testify at the trial, the time of year, and how full the dockets are at the courthouse (how many trials came before yours).

Issues you should consider on your own are:

  • Whether or not to apply at the Department of Public Safety for a photo I.D. You will need this if you fly frequently, plan to move, register for school, or for any activities regarding the necessity of a photo identification.

  • Request an SR-22 from your automobile insurance company. It is very likely that insurance rates are going to rise because of the DWI, however, you may be able to have the rates lowered to some extent through some kind of educational or therapeutic programs.

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