Fort Worth DWI Lawyer

Don’t take chances with your future after a drunk driving arrest. Instead, protect yourself with the best defense possible by working with a Fort Worth DWI attorney.

Many people make the mistake of viewing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge as a type of traffic offense. Although this is true in some states, in Texas, drunk driving is a criminal offense and carries harsh penalties that can impact your life for years to come—possibly for the rest of your life. Once a DWI goes on your record, it is there to stay.

Many people agree to sign a plea agreement for their DWI because they think they can later get it expunged. This is not true. DWI crimes will remain on your record forever. In some cases, you may be able to get the DWI sealed, which means that not all employers will be able to see it.

This is not guaranteed, though, as a judge makes the ultimate decision on whether to seal your record. Additionally, even with record clearing, some employers will still be able to see the DWI. There are also many requirements you will have to meet before your record can be sealed.

Getting your DWI dismissed can save your reputation, finances, driving privileges, and in some cases, even your freedom. From the moment you get pulled over and arrested, clearing your name needs to be your number one priority. In addition to the legal penalties you will face, you will also be dealing with lifelong struggles for you and your family.

Beating a DWI isn’t easy, however, which is why you’ll want an experienced Fort Worth DWI lawyer on your side.

At The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy, that’s exactly what you’ll find. We can help you build the case that gives you the best chance of getting your drinking and driving charge dismissed. We can examine your case to find errors, which can mean avoiding a conviction and all of the negative effects that come with it.

Fort Worth and Texas Drunk Driving Laws

In Fort Worth and throughout Texas, anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher can be arrested for DWI. This even applies to minors. Although minors caught driving with a BAC of less than .08 percent will instead be charged with the lesser offense of driving under the influence (DUI).

In most cases, a breath or field sobriety test will be employed. However, Texas is also known for no refusal weekends, when police can quickly obtain a warrant for a blood draw if they have reasonable cause to suspect someone of drunk driving.

Can you be charged with driving while intoxicated if you are under the legal limit? Yes, you can. If a police officer believes that your driving is impaired to the point of recklessness, you can still be charged with driving while intoxicated.

Of course, DWI doesn’t just apply to alcohol use; you can also be charged if caught driving while intoxicated by a controlled or illegal substance, such as prescription drugs or marijuana. In the case of illegal drugs, odds are good that you’ll also be charged with a related drug offense.

It’s never a good idea to take a DWI charge lightly, even if it’s a misdemeanor charge. Unfortunately, many people have the mistaken belief that misdemeanor offenses can’t affect their futures. They are wrong. Misdemeanor DWI crimes can do almost as much damage to your life as felony crimes can.

You could go to jail, receive heavy fines, lose your license, and be placed on probation where your privacy will be forfeited. You don’t have to deal with any of these issues when you fight and beat a DWI charge with help from a Fort Worth intoxicated driving lawyer.

Why Fight a DWI Charge in Fort Worth?

The penalties that come with a DWI conviction can be painful and long-lasting. The legal punishments are substantial, as Texas tends to take a hard line on drunk driving.

The penalty imposed by a conviction will depend on whether you have any prior drunk driving convictions on your record. Your charge can also be aggravated if there were any children present in the vehicle while you were driving while intoxicated.

Additionally, if you injure or kill someone, you can be charged with intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter—both serious felony offenses.

If you aren’t certain what you should expect, a DWI defense attorney from our firm can help you determine what you’re up against.

  • Your first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor that can result in a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, a one-year license suspension, and a three-year annual license retention fee of up to $2,000.
  • Your second DWI is a Class A misdemeanor that can result in a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, a two-year license suspension, and a three-year annual license retention fee of up to $2,000.
  • Your third or subsequent DWI is a third-degree felony that can result in a fine of up to $10,000, between two and ten years in prison, a two-year license suspension, and a three-year annual license retention fee of up to $2,000.

Additionally, if your BAC was higher than .15 percent, you’re facing a Class A misdemeanor with a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail.

If you get convicted for DWI at least twice within five years, the court might also require the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which won’t allow you to start the car without first passing a breath test.

Finally, if your DWI arrest occurred when you had a child passenger in the vehicle, you could be charged with a state jail felony, which will result in up to a $10,000 fine, up to two years in jail, and a 180-day license suspension.

More Reasons to Challenge a Fort Worth DWI

Unfortunately, the legal consequences of a DWI conviction are just one factor to consider. The impact of a DWI conviction can extend deep into your personal and professional lives, as well.

In addition to the possibility of having to take driving- and alcohol-related classes, your car insurance rates are all but guaranteed to see a massive increase. This means that you could be paying out of pocket for that drunk driving arrest for years to come.

A DWI can also put your job and reputation at risk, especially if your arrest occurred while you were on the clock or in a company vehicle.

You will also likely struggle to secure employment because most employers run background checks before hiring. If you are applying for a position in which you will need to drive, you could be denied employment. You could also be barred from working in certain industries that don’t allow criminal records of any kind.

Because of the fines you will be hit with, and because of your inability to secure decent employment, your entire financial life will be negatively affected. These effects could last for years, and you won’t be the only one affected by your finances; your DWI will also affect the people who are closest to you.

They will be impacted by your negative financial situation; they will likely be forced to transport you because you lost your license, which could be a huge burden for them; they will suffer embarrassment due to your criminal history; they will likely suffer in many other ways if you end up going to jail or prison because of your DWI.

Finally, a DWI might be used against you in a family law dispute if you ever get divorced or need to fight for custody of your children. A DWI conviction may make you look like an alcoholic and unable to take care of your kids. Your conviction could effectively destroy your family life.

These are all painful real-life consequences of a drunk driving charge that a Fort Worth DWI lawyer from our firm might be able to help you avoid.

Many people who failed to fight their DWI charges say that it is their biggest regret. If they could do things over again, they would fight their charge in order to be saved from all the negative ways the conviction has affected their quality of life.

Should You Try to Fight Drunk Driving Charges By Yourself?

A lot of people think that it’s a good idea to handle criminal DWI charges without legal assistance. Perhaps they think that they will do a better job defending themselves because it’s their own lives on the line. Maybe they really believe that they can’t afford to pay an attorney, so they try to go it alone. Unfortunately, it’s almost never a good idea to defend yourself.

You simply don’t have the legal knowledge, education, and experience to do so well. Additionally, you are likely to be emotional during the process, which means you might not be taken seriously in court. Even lawyers almost never try to defend themselves—it’s just not a good idea.

If you are not inclined to hire a lawyer because you don’t think you can afford one, try talking to one at our firm during a free case review. Lawyers at our office are often willing to work out payment arrangements with you so you can retain the services of a lawyer while operating within a budget.

Here’s why you should choose to work with an experienced Fort Worth DWI attorney instead of attempting to defend yourself.

  • Your attorney handles intoxicated driving cases on a regular basis, which means they can see angles and patterns that you can’t.
  • They know the laws. They know what defenses work. They know your rights.
  • It would take you years to know what your attorney knows, and it’s not feasible for you to learn everything you need to know in the short amount of time given to you before your day in court.
  • Your attorney probably has connections with the court that you don’t have. Even though it might seem weird to you, defense attorneys do know judges and prosecutors and can work out solutions with them because they have built professional relationships with them. You don’t have those resources or connections.
  • Lastly, you may not know all the defenses available in a given case, as you might be focused on the innocence defense. There might be other ways to get your case thrown out so you would never even need to step into a courtroom. You most likely won’t know how to get evidence thrown out or how to get your case dismissed.

How Can You Assist Your Fort Worth Drunk Driving Lawyer with Your Case?

Even though it’s most likely not a good idea to try to defend yourself, there are some things that you can do to help your case. Many people unwittingly harm their cases through the actions they take after their arrest.

For instance, a lot of people ignore their right to remain silent and answer all of the police officer’s questions. You don’t have to do this. You can remain silent and wait until you have a lawyer with you before answering any of their questions. You could inadvertently say something that can be harmful to your case.

One way you can help your case is by not making things worse. Don’t argue with the police or become hostile, because this can hurt your case, and it also makes you look bad if your case does go to trial. Be polite to the police and others you come in contact with during your arrest or before trial. But, always remember your rights.

Another way to help your case is to gather evidence in your defense. If you think something will help your case, make a note of it. Get statements from witnesses and keep any records or phone recordings that you think could be helpful. You never know what will help your case, so over-documenting is much better than under-documenting.

You can also help yourself by not signing a plea deal without speaking to a lawyer beforehand. Now is the time to be smart and make rational decisions. Most of the time the first plea agreement is not the best deal you can get. Plea bargains are called bargains because it’s a negotiation. Don’t sell your future short—it’s worth a lot.

Finally, one way to greatly increase the outcome of your case is, of course, to hire a knowledgeable defense attorney. Your attorney will help you in so many ways, such as giving you legal advice, getting you out of jail, helping to get you a temporary license, and defending you against conviction of a DWI.

Are Field Sobriety Tests Foolproof?

Standard procedure following a traffic stop in which an officer believes you may be intoxicated is the administration of field sobriety testing. Most people have heard of field sobriety tests and at least know about some of them. For instance, you may have heard of the walk-and-turn test where you are instructed to walk in a straight line, which tests your balance and coordination.

Many people think that these field sobriety tests are ironclad evidence against them, so if they stumble during the walk-and-turn test, or they “fail” one of the other tests, they will be arrested and convicted of a DWI crime. The problem is these tests are not perfect.

There are many reasons a person can fail one or more of the field sobriety tests, which can lead to the arrest of an innocent person.

For example, if you are participating in the walk-and-turn test you might stumble or lose your balance for reasons that have nothing to do with being intoxicated. What if you stumbled because you are naturally clumsy? What if you have a disorder that inhibits your balance and coordination? What if the pavement was uneven or full of debris?

There are so many ways to challenge field sobriety tests, so you should never accept a DWI crime on your record simply because the police officer said you failed these tests. Field sobriety tests aren’t perfect evidence, and these tests can be thrown out. At the very least, doubt can be cast on the reliability of the results.

Your Fort Worth drunk driving attorney will examine the evidence against you, including field sobriety tests, and find ways to challenge them or disprove their accuracy.

The Right Defense for Your Fort Worth DWI Case

Many people get arrested for driving while intoxicated when they are completely innocent of the offense. Just because a police officer pulls you over and believes that you are driving drunk doesn’t mean that you were. Even when a police officer testifies that you were intoxicated, that doesn’t mean they are always right.

So many people accused of a crime they didn’t commit simply plead guilty because they don’t know how to fight the offense and they fear what could happen if they fail to prove their innocence. It’s sad to think that people allow DWI crimes to be permanently affixed to their criminal records when they didn’t commit the crime.

You need to know that there are defenses against DWI charges, but the only way to beat a charge is to fight against it. Signing a plea agreement is admitting guilt and that crime will remain on your record forever. A Fort Worth intoxicated driving lawyer can investigate your DWI charge and find the best possible defense for you.

It doesn’t matter if your arrest involved a field sobriety test, breathalyzer, or blood draw—odds are that there’s a way to challenge the case against you. For instance, breathalyzer tests can be faulty, which means that it could give a reading that shows you’ve been drinking alcohol when you really haven’t.

Also, laboratory testing centers often make mistakes when handling blood. They could have made errors testing your blood; they could have accidentally mixed up vials of blood; or, they could contaminate the sample in some way, and affecting the accuracy of the sample.

Our DWI attorneys have the experience needed to identify the evidence or case flaws that can be used to get your DWI dismissed. A few examples of possible defenses against the conviction of a DWI crime are listed below:

  • Fumes in the air or substances on your clothing might have interfered with the breathalyzer
  • Rocky ground threw off your balance during a field sobriety test
  • Lack of probable cause to justify pulling you over or issuing a warrant for a blood draw
  • A rights violation committed by the officers who arrested you, which might see critical evidence declared inadmissible
  • Laboratory errors making your sample inadmissible
  • Evidence showing your identity was used in the commission of a crime
  • Evidence showing you were taking legal medication and were not under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at the time of the offense
  • Proof the officer made procedural or evidence errors such as chain of custody issues, which could lead to a dismissal of your charge

Can I Refuse to Submit to a Chemical Test in Texas?

Refusing to submit to a chemical test is in your right, but you need to understand the consequences you’ll face if you refuse. If you refused a chemical test already, a Fort Worth DWI refusal lawyer may still be able to help. When you refuse to submit to chemical testing, you are violating a law known as implied consent.

The implied consent law basically asserts that you consented to submit to chemical testing by obtaining a license in the state of Texas. This means that your refusal will come with automatic consequences.

Following a refusal, your license will be immediately suspended. You can get it back, however, if you attend the hearing and convince the judge that you had good reason for refusing the chemical test. A lawyer can help you with your hearing.

Additionally, refusing a chemical test doesn’t mean that the officer who pulled you over can’t charge you with a DWI. Some people believe that if they refuse to give a sample, the officer won’t have enough evidence to charge them with a DWI.

This is not always the case. If the officer still believes there is enough evidence against you that you were driving while intoxicated, you can still receive a DWI charge. Talk to your lawyer about any questions concerning refusal and implied consent.

What If Your Fort Worth DWI Case Does Go to Trial?

If you have a fear of the courtroom, you are far from the only one. Many people who are innocent of the crimes charged against them actually sign plea agreements to avoid the hassle of going to court. Another reason that people admit to a DWI they weren’t guilty of is because they are scared they will be convicted in court anyway.

You know that you’re innocent and there’s not enough evidence to convict you, but you are afraid that the criminal justice system won’t work the way it should and you will still be convicted. You are afraid of being convicted of a more serious charge and so you agree to a plea agreement because it seems like a better option.

If you are innocent of a crime, you probably shouldn’t sign a plea agreement. Even if you believe the prosecutor has a strong case against you, there may still be options for avoiding conviction.

In the end, you need to know that the burden of proof rests with the prosecutor’s office. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime of driving while intoxicated. If they don’t have enough evidence, or some of the evidence gets thrown out, your lawyer may be able to get the charges dropped before ever going to court.

If your case does go to court, your attorney will be prepared. They will have gathered all the evidence in your defense possible and will put up a fight for you. Some things are worth fighting for, and your future is one of them.

Fort Worth DWI FAQ

An arrest for intoxicated driving will lead to a number of questions that deserve answers. In the section below, we’ve addressed a few common concerns, but if you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact our office so you can speak with one of our attorneys about your unique situation.

Can I get the record of a first-time DWI that resulted in jail or probation sealed in Fort Worth?

Previously, this wasn’t an option in Texas. However, a recent law has now made this a possibility, and the good news is that it’s even retroactive. If you meet all of the necessary criteria for a DWI nondisclosure approval, you would then be allowed to say that you’ve never been convicted or even arrested for drunk driving.

What happens if I caused a car accident while driving drunk and someone else got hurt?

In this situation, you could be charged with intoxication assault, a third-degree felony offense. If someone died in the crash, you could instead be charged with intoxication manslaughter, an even more serious crime.

Can I be charged with drunk driving while operating a boat?

Yes, boating while intoxicated (BWI) is illegal in Texas. It carries the same penalties upon conviction that DWI does, which means that you’ll want to challenge the charge and seek a full dismissal or acquittal.

Can minors in Texas be charged with a DWI?

Minors in Texas can be charged with a DWI if they exceed the legal limit. Minors can also be charged with a DUI, which is driving while under the influence of alcohol. Driving under the influence can be charged to a minor who is driving with any alcohol in their system, even if under the legal limit. This charge comes with legal penalties similar to those of a DWI.

Should I sign the first plea agreement offered to me by the prosecutor?

It’s never a good idea to sign any plea agreement without speaking to a lawyer first. Your lawyer may be able to get you a better deal or get the charge dropped entirely.

Facing criminal charges can be scary, so it’s tempting to sign a plea agreement that seems more favorable than the charge you are faced with. However, your plea deal will still leave you with a crime on your record, and you don’t want to accept a plea deal unless there are no other options for you.

Connect with a Fort Worth DWI Attorney

When you’ve been arrested and charged with intoxicated driving, you need The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy on your side. We have extensive experience handling DWI cases and we know how to build a powerful, compelling case that will give you the best chance for getting your drunk driving charge dismissed.

To discover how we can help you, contact us to set up a time for a free, confidential consultation with a Fort Worth DWI lawyer. Just complete the form at the bottom of the page or call us directly at 817-605-1010 to begin.

Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy

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