Dallas DUI Defense Lawyer

When you’re behind the wheel, life can change in a brief instant. One moment you’re headed home from dinner with friends and the next moment you’re in police custody, under arrest for driving under the influence or “DUI.”

A DUI arrest can be an extremely sobering experience, especially for those who’ve never been involved in any sort of legal trouble before. You could be facing the loss of your driver’s license, court hearings, fines and even jail time! There’s also the shame and embarrassment you may be feeling; emotions that can be intensified and compounded by the fear of facing criminal proceedings!

You could be arrested for DUI if you’ve been drinking alcohol, took illicit drugs or even took a prescription drug exactly as the doctor ordered! The latter point is often a shock to many motorists, who had no idea that they could be arrested for driving while taking a prescription medication!

At the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, our Dallas law firm has the skills and experience required to help you get through this challenging experience. Don’t try to handle this on your own! Trust your case to an experienced Dallas DUI lawyer who can maximize chances are of seeing a positive case resolution. Our practice founder, Attorney Jeffrey C. Grass, has over 20 years of experience, including time as a U.S. Navy Judge Advocate (JAG). He also maintains an AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI in Dallas or the surrounding area, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass today to arrange a confidential and free case evaluation. Call (214) 431-3897.

Frequently Asked Questions After a Dallas County DUI Arrest

DUI Defense LawyerA DUI arrest often represents a person’s first-ever arrest, making the experience even more frightening and stressful. This is especially true of those who don’t drink or use illicit substances; individuals who didn’t realize that driving after taking their prescribed medication was unlawful!

At the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, we believe that addressing your questions and concerns can go a long way toward reducing some of the stress and fear that you’re experiencing. So, let’s look at some of the most common questions that we discuss with clients arrested for DUI and drunk driving in Dallas, Texas.

What’s the Legal Limit in Texas?

The legal limit refers to your blood alcohol content or BAC. Texas BAC limits vary depending upon factors such as age and vehicle type;

  • For a driver age 21 or older – .08%
  • For a commercial driver – .04%.
  • For a driver under age 21 – .02%.

Please note that BAC does not apply for drivers accused of driving under the influence of another substance such as a drug (illicit or prescribed.) These cases are evaluated differently by looking at whether the drug is present in your bloodstream.

Is a Texas DUI a Misdemeanor or Felony?

Texas law allows prosecutors to pursue a DUI case as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the unique circumstances in your case.

The prosecutor will consider factors such as:

  • whether you’ve been convicted of DUI previously;
  • whether there was a child (age 15 and younger) in the car at the time of the alleged crime;
  • whether there is an element of severe recklessness; and
  • whether another person was injured or died as a result of the alleged DUI.

Cases involving a repeat offender, a young passenger, injury/death and extreme recklessness can result in a felony DUI in Texas. A first-time offender who is just over the limit and has no prior history of a DUI arrest may face a Class B misdemeanor.

Will I Lose My License for DUI in Dallas County and the state of Texas?

DUI lawyers often address the question of whether a DUI will lead to the loss of driving privileges. Texas does have very strict DUI laws. In fact, even a drug crime conviction can result in loss of license in this state.

Each case is unique, but generally speaking, it is likely that your Texas driver’s license will be suspended if you have a BAC of .08% or more. You will face suspension if you are convicted or if you refuse to take a test.

Texas has what’s known as an implied consent law. In other words, you are required to submit to a chemical test to determine if you are under the influence. Some suspects believe that by refusing the test, they can avoid conviction because the prosecutors will not have conclusive evidence. And while this is true – the prosecutors will not have your test results as evidence – refusal will result in a monetary fine and an automatic 180-day license suspension for a first-time offender. If you have one or two prior DUIs, the mandatory suspension timeframe is two years for refusing a chemical test.

Typically, the administrative license revocation begins 40 days after you’re notified. It’s typical to receive notification when you are arrested. The suspension typically last 90 days for first-time offenders. If your license is suspended, you typically need to pay a reinstatement fee in order to get your driving privileges restored.

It is possible to seek a hearing with the Texas Office of Administrative Hearings to avoid getting your license suspended, but you must contact our DUI lawyers promptly because you have just15 days to submit a request! Your attorney can offer representation at this hearing and at court proceedings.

Will I Have to Go to Jail for a DUI in Texas?

Jail time is a very real concern for some clients, but this is where you can really benefit from retaining the services of an experienced Dallas DUI defense lawyer.

In the case of a first-time offender, Texas law allows for probation or a jail sentence of 3 to 180 days, plus a license suspension of anywhere from 90 days to one year. It’s also common to be subject to a monetary fine of up to $2,000 or more if there was a child in the vehicle, along with a court-mandated treatment program evaluation, community service and a DUI education program.

In Texas, the Driver Responsibility Program with the Texas Department of Transportation results in an annual surcharge of $1,000 to $2,000 (depending upon BAC) for a period of three years. You could also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device if you have a BAC of .15% or above or have a prior DUI on your record.

The penalties for subsequent DUI offenses carry much harsher penalties.

Would a DWI in Dallas County be considered a misdemeanor or felony?

If a defendant is charged with DWI (Driving Under the Influence), and it is their first offense, the crime could be considered a misdemeanor. If a defendant is arrested more than once for DWI, the charges can still be misdemeanors if there is a length of time between each crime, typically 7-10 years. DWI is considered a felony if:

  • The victim sustained serious bodily harm.
  • The incident caused a death.
  • The defendant’s BAC was over the legal limit (.08 percent).
  • The defendant has more than two prior DUI convictions.
  • The passengers are under a particular age.
  • The defendant’s license was restricted, suspended, or revoked.
Is it illegal to enforce DWI checkpoints?

No. Although we are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by the Fourth Amendment, DWI checkpoints are permitted because law enforcement agencies believe these searches are necessary since much of the time they already have probable cause. This probable cause gives officers the authority to stop and question every driver. The court considers DWI checkpoints unreasonable if the searches and seizures were random, invasive, or unwarranted. Many defendants view these sobriety checkpoints as unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment since the police stop is technically a seizure. Drivers must stop at the DWI checkpoint and comply with all the officer’s requests until they are instructed to leave. However, per the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 1990, DUI checkpoints are not only legal but an appropriate method of police work protected by the law.

Can I get a DWI if I don’t have a driver’s license?

Yes. You can get charged with a DWI as an unlicensed driver in Texas. Driving without a license is against the law, and this offense could cause the defendant to lose their driving privileges. If you do not have a license when charged with a DWI, you can face fines, court costs, and jail or prison time. Defendants may also have to wait up to 5 years or more to receive a driver’s license.

What are the penalties in Dallas County for a misdemeanor and felony DWI?

If you are convicted of a DWI, you could face harsh punishments that can affect you for the rest of your life. A defendant convicted of a misdemeanor for their first offense may have their license suspended, and the court could impose fines, court costs, probation, DUI programs, and jail sentences.

Penalties for a misdemeanor or felony DWI conviction also include:

  • Driver’s License Revocation-If you are convicted of a DWI, and it is your first offense, your licensed may be revoked for up to 2 years.
  • Background Checks-Many employers rely on background checks to ensure they hire employees they can trust. A misdemeanor or felony DWI conviction will show up on your background check.
  • Employment-You could also risk losing your current job due to a DWI conviction. A consistent work schedule is difficult to maintain because of court dates, court-mandated community service, DUI programs, and even jail or prison time.
  • Auto Insurance Rates-After a DWI conviction, your insurance premiums can drastically increase. Insurance providers will increase your auto insurance rate because drivers are considered “high-risk” following a misdemeanor or felony DWI conviction.
  • Professional Relationships-A defendant convicted of a DWI also jeopardizes professional relationships due to their criminal charges. Even getting arrested for DWI or DUI could cause your boss or fellow employees to view you negatively.
Does a DWI charge also include drugs?

Yes. DWI or Driving While Intoxicated also includes illegal drugs and prescription medications. If you are under the influence of any drug that impairs your judgment or motor skills, you at risk of receiving a DWI. According to Section 49.01 of the Texas Penal Code, driving while intoxicated means losing control of the use of your mental or physical functions due to drugs, alcohol, or both. If more than one drug has been combined, there is a possibility the drugs could cause an over dose or even death.

In the state of Texas, you can be convicted of DWI because of your inability to use your mental or physical functions due to drugs, rather than the amount of the drug in your blood system. Regardless of the amount in your body, a driver is considered impaired if the drugs or alcohol prohibit them from safely operating a motor vehicle in Texas. Each DWI case is unique, so each driver must be assessed individually by the prosecutor.

What happens during a field sobriety test in Dallas County?

During a field sobriety test, the officer will have the suspect perform different tests to measure their balance, attention span, coordination, and motor skills. If the officer has probable cause, they can arrest the driver if they are intoxicated, but first, the suspect will be instructed to complete the field sobriety test.

If the suspect is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will be unable to complete these physical tests, and their performance can be used against them in court. Many of these decisions are usually confirmed and supported during an appeal. Field sobriety tests guarantee that officers have probable cause to arrest intoxicated drivers before they hurt themselves or other people.

Under the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA),the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) includes the following tests:

Walk and Turn: This tests the driver’s attention span and their ability to walk in a straight line. Although many intoxicated drivers can complete this test, the officer instructs the suspect to walk in a straight line for nine steps (heel-to-toe), turn around, and then complete the test again in the other direction.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: During this test, the officer instructs the driver to use only their eyes to follow an object that is moved from side to side. This test observes the nystagmus or involuntary eye jerking that occurs when an impaired suspect moves their eyes back and forth. More specifically, the officer is looking for three distinct features: the suspect is unable to follow the moving object, the eye jerking becomes exaggerated and involuntary it occurs 45 degrees from the center or the eye.

One-Leg Stand: The officer instructs to the driver to balance on either their left or right foot and lift the opposite foot six inches above the ground for 30 seconds. Standing on one foot often causes impaired drivers to wobble, outstretch their arms, drop their feet, hop, or even fall.

Are you legally required to complete field sobriety tests in Dallas?

No. A driver can lawfully refuse to participate in a field sobriety test, but they could be required to take another test to determine if they are intoxicated, like the blood or breath test

Are DWI and DUI the same in the state of Texas?

The driver’s age determines whether they are charged with a DWI or DUI. According to the laws in Texas, if a suspect is 21 or older and they are caught driving while intoxicated then they could receive a DWI. However, if a suspect is younger than 21 and they are impaired while operating a motor vehicle they could receive a DUI. Regardless of the age of the driver, any amount drugs or alcohol in your body could result in a DWI or DUI. In the state of Texas, the punishments are also different for DWI and DUI. If a suspect is convicted for a DWI and it is their first offense, they could receive up to six months in jail, a $2,000 fine, and lose their license for one year. To retain their license, the driver must pay up to $2,000 per year for three years. If a minor is caught driving impaired, they could receive up to 40 hours of court-mandated community service, a $500 fine, attend drug and alcohol programs, and get their license suspended for two months.

Trust Our Dallas County DUI Defense Lawyers to Handle Your Case

DUI Defense LawyerIf you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, you could stand to suffer some serious consequences and penalties, ranging from the loss of your driver’s license, the loss of your ability to get to work, and as a result, the loss of your ability to provide for yourself and your family.

At the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, our firm was founded by a talented DUI defense attorney with over 20 years of experience handling first-time and subsequent DUI cases, felony DUI offenses, DUI cases involving a child in the vehicle, intoxication assault, resisting arrest and intoxication manslaughter.

Our Dallas law firm will work hard to help you maintain your driving privileges and your freedom. Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass to arrange a fully confidential and free case evaluation. Call (214) 431-3897.