It used to be in Texas that if you had a DWI that was beyond ten years old, that conviction could not be used against you in your current case to ratchet up the punishment. But years ago, Texas changed that law so if you had an older DWI conviction whether it was ten, twenty–even thirty years ago, it can be used to make the punishment for your present DWI conviction much more harsh. It can even change the grade of your current DWI offense to which you are presently being prosecuted.
You may have multiple DWI convictions because you may just be unlucky. After all, with increased efforts by law enforcement to deter drunk driving, it really doesn’t take much to get arrested. As a criminal defense lawyer in Houston who is also a DWI specialist, I understand this all too clearly.
But if you have an issue with alcoholism, then we need to help you address that. If we don’t first address your drinking problem, then you are more likely to come back with another DWI. And neither we (as a community) nor the courts want that because we all drive the same streets you do.
So, as a responsible citizen and a law firm that cares about our clients welfare, we try to get our clients the help they need to address all the issues we can that caused their DWI arrests and help both legally and become a better member of our community.
While the best outcome in a DWI case is a not guilty, you need to know that a DWI arrest record never goes away, unless you request an expunction of your record. An expunction allows the State of Texas to erase all the related DWI records to your case that were generated by the arrest. It’s like a legal time machine that brings your records back to the time before you were arrested making sure they are permanently and completely removed.
How many records? Let’s say a police officer in the City of Houston arrests you, the City will have a record that they will file with the Police Department. The Sheriff’s Office will have one when you are jailed and the Clerk’s office will have one when your case is filed. The District Attorney’s Office will have another record when they prosecute your case and, finally, the Texas Department of Public Safety will have one in relation to your driver’s license and criminal history.
So if a future employer conducts a background search, those records can be discovered and cause you a great deal of embarrassment or, worse, a lost job opportunity. A criminal defense attorney who is a DWI Specialist knows how to correctly and thoroughly file for an expunction and bring your criminal history back to where it was before your arrest.
Administrative License Revocation hearing or ALR is a separate case that arises out of a DWI prosecution. Most people arrested for DWIs are surprised to learn that they have not one, but two cases after their arrest: one, a criminal case against you (DWI), and the second (ALR) is a hearing against your license.
The Purpose of the ALR Hearing
The hearing is based upon failing the breath or blood test or refusing to take them when asked, but it gives you the opportunity to contest the seizure or suspension of your license. If you take advantage of the ALR hearing, quite often you won’t lose your license. Keep in mind, you have only 15 days to request your hearing with the state after you have been arrested, otherwise your license will go into automatic suspension.
What the ALR Hearing Does
By requesting an ALR hearing, you force the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to prove its case against you. The DPS must prove that the police officer who stopped and arrested you did so with either reasonable suspicion or probable cause. If they cannot prove either, you win by default.
What Happens If the ALR Hearing Does Not Go in Your Favor?
You can receive a 180 day suspension if you decline to take a test upon proper request, or, if you fail a breath or blood test, you can receive a 90-day suspension of your driving privileges. A Houston attorney who is a DWI specialist can help you navigate through this complex, often times confusing process.
Read “Do I need a lawyer to help me in a DWI prosecution and an ALR proceeding?” DWI Question that talks about the importance of hiring the right attorney for this process.
America offers a lot of all-in-one alternatives. Think about doctors. General practitioners listen attentively to health complaints, but don’t have deep experience in one particular area. That’s where they often refer you to a specialist. DWI defense is very similar.
If you are ever arrested for DWI in Houston, consider the benefits of having a Houston DWI specialist who has specific, trained knowledge about more than just the law. DWI arrests involve not only the standards of the Texas Department of Public Safety, they also involve your specific anatomy combined with the laws of biology, chemistry and physics.
A DWI specialist understands how alcohol interacts with your respiratory and cardio vascular systems, and how this interaction can affect your blood alcohol and breath tests.
Before you walk in the door, check to make sure your DWI specialist has an effective library of knowledge, trial exhibits and the research skills to evaluate all factors involved in your situation – including background profiles of law enforcement officers, their conduct and public arrests.
A DWI specialist should use all of these skills to examine and investigate every detail related to your case, because that is what you hire them to do. You need more than all-in-one representation, you need a skilled DWI specialist to provide you with everything they’ve got to make a difference in your situation.