What Pilots Arrested For DWI Need To Know

Pilot Gary Trichter
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What Pilots Arrested For DWI Need To Know

Pilot Gary Trichter

The job of the AME in the aviator fitness for flight medical examination process is to coordinate the flow of information to the FAA so it may make an informed and safe decision regarding the aviator’s flying status. 

When an aviator has their flight physical, and there is a DWI noted in the history section of the medical application (Form 8700-2; Question 18), the AME will ask the applicant questions about that event. 

Regardless of the level of alcohol at the time of the event, the AME cannot certify the applicant and must defer that decision to the FAA.

Here, it must be acknowledged that the FAA is not known for its rapid speed decision-making process. Knowing that, how can the AME accelerate this process for the aviator? 

First, he can make sure that the aviator has timely notified the FAA Security and Hazardous Materials Safety Office (SHMSO) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, of the DWI and/or license suspension event, as the aviator has 60 days after the event to notify SHMSO. 

Should that 60-day window be missed, it is still better to then not at all. Second, the AME will remind the aviator to request their driving record from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The AME will further tell the aviator to obtain from his DWI lawyer all records from the DWI and Administrative License Revocation cases so that they, too, can be given to the AME for review. 

By doing so, the AME can make a judgment about how serious the event was and inform the FAA of that opinion. Indeed, the AME may pre-furnish those documents to the FAA to try to speed the medical application along. 

Here, in rare circumstances, the end result may be that the AME, having pre-furnished the documents to the FAA, may be able to receive telephone approval for the issuance of the medical certificate without a deferment. However, this is rare, but it has happened, and it is certainly worth trying.

A Senior AME, and especially a HIMS qualified AME (These AME’s have additional training and certification and the acronym stands for Human Interventional Motivational Study– a study that clinically and scientifically showed that aviators were very motivated to return to flying and could remain abstinent from drugs and/or alcohol — will not let the matter rest with the mere submission of the flight physical exam). 

Those AMEs will contact the FAA and try to determine what the FAA’s decisions are regarding the specific applicant and what will be the rehabilitation requirements to get the pilot back flying. That conversation will likely be with the FAA’s HIMS qualified AME.

Regarding proving sobriety to fly, the aviator should prepare themselves for frequent and random drug/alcohol tests, and also, at least quarterly visits to their AME of record. Here, it is presumed that the aviator will hire the AME to represent and guide through this FAA reapplication process. 

Of course, the aviator should be sure they have a comfortable and trusting working relationship with their AME because the process will likely take at least one year or more. 

Note, this process is fluid, and there are no guarantees that it will be successful, and accordingly, it is often the case that the aviator will become frustrated with the process. Notwithstanding, with unceasing dedication and hard work by the aviator and the AME, the light at the end of the tunnel can most often be seen.

Focusing on whether or not there will be a medical deferment because of a DWI arrest, it does not matter what BAC level resulted from an Intoxilyzer or blood test, a deferment is the default FAA position. 

Moreover, any result at, or above 0.15%, is a red flag presumption to the FAA that the aviator has a substance abuse and/or addiction problem. 

Understanding this, the aviator can expect that the FAA will want, in addition to the above, evaluations showing that there is no dependence on drugs and/or alcohol. 

In this instance, the aviator will be counseled that the cause would be better served if a licensed professional counselor (LPC) is hired to make that determination. 

Better yet the hiring of a psychiatrist or an addiction medicine specialist will make the aviator’s case to get back flying more persuasive. If money is not an object, or if the aviator wants to increase the chances of success, the aviator can create a team by hiring a licensed professional counselor, a psychiatrist, an addiction medicine specialist, and an attorney who is very experienced in FAA matters. 

From the FAA’s view, the more qualified the medical evaluators are, the more weight will be given to their opinions. Also, in almost all cases, the FAA will require that the aviator participates in an out-patient sobriety program such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. 

Here, it is important that the aviator has a log that can be signed by the individual running each meeting to prove their attendance. Also, it is a good idea for the aviator to keep a journal of what was discussed and learned at each meeting so both the log and the journal can be produced to the FAA as part of its evaluation. 

It is here, by gathering, organizing, and assembling your sobriety and a low risk to aviation safety proof, that the experienced aviation lawyer can be of great assistance.

Turning now to the type of medical application sought, if the aviator is an applying for a First or Second Class Medical Certificate, and the applicant is flying for an airline that has its own HIMS Program (generally these are national or international airlines that have their own regulations and specifications that have been HIMS approved, such as the Southwest Airlines program which is available to view on the web). 

Nevertheless, all First or Second Class Medical Certificates are certified in Washington DC. History has shown that in some cases the process takes 14-16 months just to make the initial decision. 

That being the case, if the aviator is not flying for one of these large commercial airlines or not flying commercially, many Senior AMEs will recommend that the aviator applies only for a Third Class Medical Certificate because that decision will not be made in Washington DC, but rather, the FAA in Oklahoma City makes that “okay to return to flying” decision and does so with much less delay- about a year or more. 

Here, it must be remembered that a deferment only means that the pilot can no longer act as pilot in command. The pilot can still fly with a certified flight instructor.

So, what advice do Senior AME’s give to their pilot applicants? 

To be blunt, never drink and drive. 

Being charged with a DWI, even if you are innocent, is not worth the risk of losing your flying privileges, and from a commercial pilot’s perspective, your career and your future. 

While it is legal in Texas to drink and drive while not intoxicated, it is far safer to use a designated driver, Uber or taxi, and if none are available, to show good judgment, and simply not drive if you are drinking or don’t drink if you must drive.

Here are just two examples of the collateral dangers of drinking and driving to the aviator. 

The first example, there was an aviator who was erratically driving in a church parking lot and was arrested for DWI. It took five years of sobriety proof for that aviator to be returned to flying status. 

The second example involved an aviator who was speeding to escape the threat of a sexual assault and was arrested for DWI. Her reinstatement took over a year of sobriety proof before she could be returned to flying status. 

These two examples hopefully clearly show that an aviator should not drink and drive no matter what the reason. Incidentally, even where the aviator is found to be not guilty of a DWI, the FAA still takes a presumptive guilt position until there is substantial proof of continued sobriety.

Our final advice to the aviator charged with DWI, wishing to continue in aviation, is that they should wisely choose their AME and aviation lawyer. 

Again, the aviator should be very comfortable in the choices because they will be working with that AME and lawyer for an extended period of time. 

Moreover, when thinking about drinking before driving, to first think about the cost of a bond to get out of jail, the cost of getting your vehicle from the tow truck yard, the cost of a good DWI and license suspension lawyer, a good lawyer experienced in FAA matters. 

You should also be thinking about the cost of a licensed professional counselor, a psychiatrist, and an addiction medicine specialist. Thinking in terms of a defense team, it is important to remember that the FAA Medical Certification Division decision-makers will only speak to physicians. 

To be clear, we are not talking about the enforcement process where your lawyer would be speaking to the FAA, but medical fitness, which is solely the jurisdiction of the Medical Certification Division.

Accordingly, from an aviation medical perspective, the AME is critical in knowing where the aviator’s case stands with the FAA. Having this knowledge, allows the AME to guide you and your sobriety team on the best path to have your flying privileges reinstated. 

In closing, the best defense against losing your flying privileges is by pre-deciding to NEVER drink and drive. 

However, if you do, the best medicine to overcome a medical deferment is to hire both an AME who is experienced and cares, and also, a lawyer experienced in FAA matters!

*Arthur T. Hadley, III, MD, is an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) and a pilot. He has been a practicing physician since 1972 and is a 1978 graduate of the United States Airforce School of Aeromedicine. His primary practice is Preventive Medicine, but Aerospace Medicine is a favorite sub-specialty. He has been honored to have been elected as a Fellow to Aerospace Medical Association and was an astronaut candidate and a NASA flight surgeon. Dr. Hadley has been practicing medicine from 2008 to the present at the Arthur Hadley Medicine Clinic www.fitslim.com. Dr. Hadley can be contacted by telephone at (281) 597-1010 and by e-mail at arthurhadley@hadleymd.com

** J. Gary Trichter is the senior lawyer with the Houston & Bandera, Texas Law Firm of Trichter & LeGrand, P.C.  Known as “The Cowboy Pilot Lawyer”, he has been in practice for approximately 40 years and represents clients throughout Texas.  Gary is the former co-author of the two-volume treatise entitled Texas Drunk Driving Law (1s through 4th Editions) and is author of over forty journal articles ranging from DWI, grand jury, drug couriers, aviation, to the Star-Spangled Banner.

Gary is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been voted by his peers the past 14 years as a Texas Monthly Magazine “Super Lawyer”.  He is also “Board Certified” as a DWI Specialist.  This rating comes from the National College for DUI Defense whose rating has been approved by the American Bar Association and accepted by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Gary is Founder and Past-President of Texas DWI Lawyers (formerly Texas DWI Defense Lawyers Association), past President of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and past Dean and Regent for the National College for DUI Defense.  He is a former Director and former DWI co-chair for the DWI Committee for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and past chairman of NACDL’s Drunk Driving Committee.

From an aviation experience perception, Gary has multiple Certified Flight Instructor ratings, he is a CFI, CFII (Instrument), and MEI (Multi-Engine). Mr. Trichter can be contacted by telephone at (713) 524-1010 or by e-mail at gary@texasdwilaw.com

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The POLICE: Earned Valor and Respect

Gary Trichter DWI Specialist
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The POLICE: Earned Valor aNd Respect

Gary Trichter DWI Specialist

My friends, our very existence is being attacked from within. The attack is on heroes we call policemen and policewomen.

When William Shakespeare wrote “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet“, he could’ve been referring to our police brothers and sisters.
 
Like our military, law enforcement officers stand ever ready to give up their lives for us. Unlike the military, however, they are wrongly held in contempt, misunderstood, and maligned.
 
Most people do not have any clue what it is like to be a police officer.
 
Think about this for a moment: you get up in the morning, you get dressed, you go to work, and, you really don’t know if you’ll be alive at the end of your day!
 
Not only do you not know but also, your family does know whether you will come home after work.
 
On a daily basis, they are called to respond to domestic disputes, to assaults, to burglaries, to robberies, and to murders – some after the fact and some in progress.
 
They get beat up, spit on, and verbally abused!
 
Here, every time an officer is sent to help, he/she has no clue what she/he is walking into and who she/he will interact with.
 
Will those people be friendly, will they be hostile, will they have evil intent, will they be reasonable, will they be filled with hate?
 
In every instance, the officers simply do not know, but yet, they go!
 
Why would someone volunteer to do this?
 
Because they are Racist?
 
Because they have a political agenda?
 
Because they don’t care about people?
 
No, the answer is much simpler than that! Officers go into police work to make a positive difference! They go into police work because they understand the need for the law to apply equally to all of us!
 
Moreover, they go into police work because they care about this country and about the children that will have to grow up in it – their children and your children.
 
Today, the mainstream media and the far left claim our biggest problem is police racism and its abuse of power!
 
The mainstream media and the left argue that there is a need for a major cultural change within the police profession!
 
This focus is both MISPLACED and a knowing LIE!
 
The problem is not the police, but rather, the problem is a society that disrespects the law! The problem is a society that allows others to avoid accountability for their wrongs.
 
The problem is a society that lacks the courage to directly address the problem and to tell the truth!
 
Here, the truth is THAT ALL LIVES MATTER, BLACK, WHITE, BROWN, RED, AND ESPECIALLY, BLUE! Indeed, without the BLUE, none of the lives will really matter because none of the lives will be protected!
 
The truth is that the mainstream media, the left, and gutless politicians are the BIG problem!!!
 
Our police officers, like our military, are equally important to the very existence of America! Without question, soldiers in battle deserve the valor they earned. That said, our police officers deserve no less appreciation and thanks for their Valor than that of our military.
 
Clearly, in terms of the ultimate price that could be paid, there is no difference!
 
To those that hate the police, I say read your Scripture –especially John: 13 where it is written: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
 
Moreover, I say to you, many of the claims of police abuse occurred directly because those claiming the abuse absolutely both disrespected the officers, the law, and through the first stone.
Being an officer, having to make split-second life & death decisions, on a daily basis, is incredibly hard and challenging- you can’t get it right every time.
 
Sadly, even when those decisions are right, political differences, and hateful people with an agenda, challenge officers, and not only hurt the police profession but WE THE PEOPLE, as a REPUBLIC.
 
The police culture does need a major changed, rather, it is the culture of the rebellious media and left that needs to change. To do otherwise is to put the cart before the horse. Police come in a rainbow of colors so it is a lie to label all of them Racist. It is a sin to let others call the police Racist.
 
Dr. Martin Luther King once said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
 
If Dr. King were alive today, he would say the same thing that a person should not be judged by the color of their uniform.
 
Without a doubt, he would support the police and condemn the rioters, looters, the instigators, the mainstream media, and left for destroying the very accomplishments he fights so hard to bring to all of us.
 
In our Declaration of Independence, our founders wrote as they broke ties with England, “and for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
 
Think about that pledge as you wake up every morning because every morning our police are going out to do their job where they have pledged their lives to protect you/us!
 
Think about your responsibility to protect them and their families from misplaced judgment, wrongful criticism, hate, injury, death, and politics – think about your Honor and go earn it.
 
And remember, at the end of your day, there’s a much greater chance that you will return home to your family, than does a police officer.
 
Moreover, think about what you do today, will set the stage for whether or not good people will remain in law-enforcement. Think about whether or not good people, will go into law-enforcement?
 
Do nothing and nothing good will happen.
 
Do something good and it will.
 
Without good people going into law-enforcement, our country is doomed and you will be partly responsible.
 
Tell that to your children! God bless the police, and Lord, help them in their job.
 
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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This Is Why You Should Refuse The Breathalyzer

Trichter & LeGrand DWI Lawyers
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Stopped For DWI?

This Is Why You Should Refuse The Breathalyzer

Specifically when it comes to the breath test, if you know you are going to be below the legal limit then blow. 

If you get to the point where he is asking you for a breath test then ninety-nine times out of a hundred you are going to be arrested. 

So whether you say yes or no, it is not going to change the outcome right then and there. 

So if you know that you are going to be arrested, and you typically are at that point, but you have a strong belief that you are going to come in below the legal limit based on the amount of alcohol you have had, then you really should probably go ahead and take the breath test. 

Because if you pass it you are probably going to get let go. 

It is not always that way but there is a much better chance. 

Now I think most people who find themselves in this situation are not going to have that level of confidence. 

They are not going to know if they are below the legal limit or not. 

Most of us do not know what our limit is or the actual legal limit. 

We don’t know how many beers, glasses of wine, or mixed drinks it’s gonna take us to get to .08 and there is a lot of different factors that play into that. 

Things like how quickly you drank them, what your body weight is, what you had for dinner and the last time you ate. 

So if you are in that gray area, which most people will find themselves, my advice to you is not to provide the breath test because you are giving them a piece of evidence that they can use against you. 

Just about every time they are going to be able to use that piece of evidence in court because you are consenting to it. 

When you refuse the breath test you put the officer in a position where he is going to have to go seek a warrant from a judge to draw your blood. 

They almost always will, but if they do that, that puts a few more hurdles in their way they have to get over. 

So for the typical person I am going to recommend that you do not comply and give a breath test because we want to have as many hurdles in the way later on down the line when we are defending your case because it is going to give us more opportunities to try and get favorable results for you. 

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Chances Of Getting A DWI Dismissed?

What Are The Chances Of Getting A DWI Dismissed? - DWI Lawyer Gary Trichter Trichter & LeGrand
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CHANCES OF GETTING A DWI DISMISSED

What Are The Chances Of Getting A DWI Dismissed? - DWI Lawyer Gary Trichter Trichter & LeGrand

What are the chances of getting a DWI dismissed?

That is a question I get an awful lot. 

The answer is, it depends. 

The reason I say that is, it really depends on the circumstances under which you get pulled over and what was happening before. 

My first piece of advice to anyone who gets pulled over is to be respectful, polite, and answer the questions that the officers are asking you. 

Officers are always going to appreciate someone that is polite, respectful, that feels that they feel is being compliant because, as we all know, being a police officer can be a dangerous job and if you are resistant or you are non compliant in anyway it certainly pushes you into in an area where this interaction is not going to go so well for you. 

So that is my first piece of advice. 

When you get pulled over, just be polite, be respectful and cooperate as much as you can. 

I think people’s natural inclination is to be cooperative and just do what the police officer is asking you to do. 

I think we are all brought up in that way, if a police officer stops you and asks you some questions you better do what it is that he is asking you to do or else you are going to get in trouble.

To a certain extent that is true, but there is a point when you start to put yourself in a position where you are making it more likely you are going to get arrested or if you end up getting arrested. 

Regardless, you are making it more difficult on your defense attorney later down the road to get to a favorable result in your case. 

Specifically when it comes to the breath test, if you know you are going to be below the legal limit then blow. 

If you get to the point where he is asking you for a breath test then ninety-nine times out of a hundred you are going to be arrested. 

So whether you say yes or no, it is not going to change the outcome right then and there. 

So if you know that you are going to be arrested, and you typically are at that point, but you have a strong belief that you are going to come in below the legal limit based on the amount of alcohol you have had, then you really should probably go ahead and take the breath test. 

Because if you pass it you are probably going to get let go. 

It is not always that way but there is a much better chance. 

Now I think most people who find themselves in this situation are not going to have that level of confidence. 

They are not going to know if they are below the legal limit or not. 

Most of us do not know what our limit is or the actual legal limit. 

We don’t know how many beers, glasses of wine, or mixed drinks it’s gonna take us to get to .08 and there is a lot of different factors that play into that. 

Things like how quickly you drank them, what your body weight is, what you had for dinner and the last time you ate. 

So if you are in that gray area, which most people will find themselves, my advice to you is not to provide the breath test because you are giving them a piece of evidence that they can use against you. 

Just about every time they are going to be able to use that piece of evidence in court because you are consenting to it. 

When you refuse the breath test you put the officer in a position where he is going to have to go seek a warrant from a judge to draw your blood. 

They almost always will, but if they do that, that puts a few more hurdles in their way they have to get over. 

So for the typical person I am going to recommend that you do not comply and give a breath test because we want to have as many hurdles in the way later on down the line when we are defending your case because it is going to give us more opportunities to try and get favorable results for you. 

[Interviewer]

If you refused the breath test and they get a warrant where do they draw the blood? 

Is it roadside or at the police station? 

[Aaron White]

It depends on the jurisdiction. 

A large jurisdiction like Harris County will have a station set up by the local law enforcement. 

They will have one at the jail or they will have one at a processing station with nurses that are on duty. 

They can bring the suspects into the station, get the warrant drafted via fax or email and have it sent back and forth between the judge and the police officers in the DA’s office. 

They’ll be able to draw your blood right there on site so it’s something that can happen as quick as thirty minutes to an hour after your rest. 

In a small jurisdiction they may have to take you to a hospital and they may have to be doing some driving back and forth to get the warrant signed. 

So the delay in getting a blood draw can also be of benefit because it could take three or four hours to get the blood draw and that is time that your body has to process the alcohol and it more often can result in a lower blood alcohol concentration. 

It gets a little complicated at that point as far as being able to extrapolate and all those sorts of things but you’re always better off having a lower BAC then a higher BAC. 

[Interviewer]

Okay, so let us say you took the breath test and was arrested. 

What are the chances of getting a first DWI dismissed? 

[Aaron White]

I know I sound like a broken record here but it just depends. 

We have a lot of success in finding mistakes along the way within the investigation, the probable cause for the stop, the way they administered the field sobriety tests, the questions they asked, when was the decision was made to arrest, did they follow the proper protocol and things like that. 

Police officers are just like you and me: they are going to make mistakes in their job and they are typically going to make a mistake or two in every single arrest and detention. 

Did they make some crucial mistakes? 

The question for each case becomes how many of those mistakes did they make it and did they go to the crucial elements of the investigation, detention and arrest. 

For instance, one of the most common mistakes that we find is that they jumped the gun and pulled you over for something that did not actually happen, like you were weaving within your lane. 

If we can determine later by watching their videos from their squad car that you technically did not break the law and weave within your lane or fail to maintain a single lane, then the rest of the evidence in the case is likely to be thrown out. 

So, if we can find an error there or a mistake that is to our advantage, then that is one possible Avenue to get your case dismissed and there are many others throughout the process. 

Like I was saying earlier, if you force them to go get a warrant and they make a mistake in drafting the warrant or executing the warrant, then perhaps the blood results become inadmissible and all the sudden the state has a weaker case. 

It is going to take many of those things together to convince the district attorney’s office that they do not have a good case anymore and they need to dismiss it. 

It is obviously difficult to do but we find that we are successful in getting a lot more cases dismissed because we are experienced with all these sorts of issues that can come into play in a DWI arrest and prosecution. 

Many of us have former experience being prosecutors on the other side. 

[Interviewer]

You were previously a Harris County prosecutor, right? 

[Aaron White]

Yes, Sir. 

[Interviewer]

So you have been on both sides of cases like this. 

Another question that gets brought up is about the evidence and building the evidence. 

The police video all these arrests, right? 

How do they video the arrest?

[Aaron White]

Most big agencies like Harris, County, the Houston sheriff’s office and the Houston police department are going to have a variety of different cameras that are going to be provided to the defense attorneys in a DWI arrest. 

They are going to come from the squad car with a dash camera that’s going to show the suspect’s vehicle before the arrest and before the traffic stop. 

Then sometimes it will show an angle of the interaction with the police officer. 

They are going to be equipped with a what we call body worn cameras. 

Those are cameras that are attached to their uniform on their chest, and it is going to record interactions with suspects and witnesses in every investigation that can lead to a criminal charge. 

So sometimes we get up to five, six or seven different angles of the arrest from multiple police officers who were on the scene.

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What Happens If You Are Convicted Of DWI

what happens if you are convicted of DWI
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what happens if you are convicted of DWI

what happens if you are convicted of DWI

What happens if you are convicted of DWI? There are a lot of consequences to a DWI conviction, some of which are obvious and they come in the form of range of punishment and what are called criminal consequences.

There are other consequences that are deemed collateral consequences and we can go into those in a second and those are things that can happen to your drivers license, your job or any license you need to perform your job. 

There are consequences prior to being convicted that I assume you have talked about at a different time that are administrative consequences which are based on whether you took a breath or blood test and if you refused those tests. 

For all purposes let’s just assume the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) has already been dealt with and we’re only dealing with the consequences of a conviction. 

Does that work for you? 

[Interviewer]

Definitely. 

[Leslie LeGrand]

Ok, so like everything It depends upon what happened previously in your life. 

Meaning, do you have any criminal history? 

And what happened in this specific case. 

Let us start with the DWI first and we will talk about the criminal consequences. 

So a DWI and the range of punishment depends upon what your blood or breath alcohol level comes back to and the big threshold number is .15. 

If you did not take a breath or blood test and they didn’t get a warrant to force you to give blood or breath its going to default to a Class B Misdemeanor which would be below .15. 

So lets start there, anything that is a first DWI that is below a .15 breath or blood test is a Class B misdemeanor. 

Now the range of punishment on that is anywhere up to a hundred and eighty days in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

That can be probated and if it is probated there is not any mandatory jail time on a first DWI. 

Your typical terms of probation can include community service and you will absolutely have to take something called a DWI educational course. 

That course will allow you to keep your drivers license. 

The only way you can keep driving after DWI conviction, assuming you won the ALR, is if you take the specific class. 

Now, if its above a .15 it becomes a Class A Misdemeanor. 

That means up to a year in jail or a $4,000 fine.

Again, there’s not mandatory jail time if it’s probated but you have the same class requirements and additionally you’ll have to have something on your vehicle ignition interlock for 6 months to keep driving. 

Those are the criminal consequences of a first-time DWI

Like everything in life, if you have any additional cases or criminal history, those penalties can be enhanced. 

So let assume for a second you have a prior DWI

Now it also matters when the prior DWI was. 

If you had a prior DWI within five years, then you have a class A misdemeanor regardless of what your breath or blood test comes back. 

That means anywhere up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Additionally, if it is within five years you have a mandatory jail time of five days even if that is probated. 

In other words, even if the judge gives you probation you still have to do five days in jail. 

Thats day for day because they can’t give you credit for the time that you were in jail when you were arrested. 

Additionally, even if you take the DWI educational course you will have a driver’s license suspension up to two years. 

Let us drop down for a second and let us say that your prior DWI is anywhere older than five years. 

It can be thirty years ago or it could be six years ago. 

It is still a Class A misdemeanor but your mandatory jail time goes down to three days in jail.

Now lets talk a bit about worse case scenario. 

Let’s say you have two prior DWIs and this is your third DWI. 

It does not matter when these prior DWIs were for the purposes of determining whether it could be a felony. 

Now a good lawyer will tell you if it is over a certain period of time those judgments may not be able to be used. 

If you have a lawyer who specializes or focuses on DWI they will be able to look at these judgments and tell you if these priors can be used against you. 

It is one of the first things we do here. 

But let’s assume for all purposes that they are good judgments and you have two prior convictions for DWI. 

It does not matter how old they are, what you are dealing with now is a third degree felony and the criminal consequences for that are anywhere from two to ten years in the penitentiary or $10,000 fine. 

If the judge chooses to probate that there is a mandatory ten days in jail as a condition of that probation. 

And again, you are going to have a license suspension regardless of whether you take the DWI educational course. 

So those are the criminal consequences in terms of jail time. 

The next issue is something called collateral consequences and those are things like your drivers license, your permit to carry a hand gun or if you happen to be a commercial driver.      

[Interviewer]

Right, so it’s pretty clear that the penalties and fines for a DWI in Texas are serious even if it is a first offense. 

You mentioned CDL so what happens if someone has a commercial driver’s license and they get a DWI? 

[Leslie LeGrand]

Very few people get caught driving a commercial vehicle when they get a DWI

So I want to be clear that I am not talking about that. 

I am talking about if you have a commercial drivers license and you are driving a personal vehicle. 

There are two potential ways you could lose your commercial drivers license even if you were driving your personal vehicle. 

The first one is something we touch on briefly and it’s something that happens before you’re convicted and that is the Administrative License Revocation Hearing. 

When you are arrested for DWI you’re offered either a breath or blood test and if you take it and you fail or if you refuse it you could be in trouble. 

The suspension of a commercial drivers license is a year and it happens within forty days if you don’t request something called a Administrative License Revocation and you have to do it within 15 days of your arrest.  

So let’s assume you lose the Administrative License Revocation or you have a lawyer doesn’t request one. 

What you hear and what they tell you is, let’s say you failed the breath test, that you lose your license for 90 days. 

Well, that is true. 

But that is only your class E license. 

If you don’t request an ALR hearing or you don’t win the ALR hearing you would lose your commercial driver’s license for a year. 

It does not matter if you were driving a commercial vehicle. 

You could even be driving a boat and have an ALR suspension and lose your commercial driver’s license for a year. 

Now lets talk about a suspension. 

If you are convicted of a DWI its the same, you are going to lose our commercial drivers license for a year. 

Now, if you have two or more DWIs it could disqualify you from life. 

These are very serious consequences regardless of the vehicle they were driving at the time. 

[Interviewer]

Okay. 

We have a little bit of time left so I’m going to throw this last question in there. 

What about a CHL? 

What about getting a DWI with a concealed handgun license?

[Leslie LeGrand]

Again, there are two different things that can happen. 

Let us start with the arrest. 

What you may find is that you may be shocked that you have gone through all the steps necessary to get a concealed handgun license, you legally carrying your handgun and you get arrested for a DWI. 

Suddenly you are charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon. 

The reason is that the law says that the individual engaged in criminal activity may be charged regardless of whether they have a concealed handgun license. 

So even if you have this license, you can find yourself with an additional charge of unlawful carrying a weapon. 

Now, if the DWI goes away, so does the unlawfully carry a weapon charge.

Upon arrest, not conviction, you immediately lose your concealed handgun license. 

They do not give you due process on this. 

They do not wait for the outcome. 

You are immediately suspended and disqualified from a concealed handgun license. 

If you win the case, whether its dismissed or whether you found guilty by a jury, you can reapply and you can do it immediately. 

If you are convicted of DWI it is a little different. 

If you’re convicted you’re disqualified from applying for a concealed handgun license for 5 years. 

You can still carry based on one of the other permissible means that you carry under the laws of the State of Texas but you can’t get a CHL. 

Now let us go to the worst case scenario here. 

If you’re convicted two times in a 10-year period you can be disqualified beyond five years. 

So again, these are some collateral consequences that people do not take about the impact on your life and in Texas we love to carry guns and this could disqualify you. 

Its something you may not think about which is why you need to engage an attorney that focuses primarily on DWI because its a very complicated area of the law.

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