By Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi
December 9, 2014
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, you probably have questions. Facing criminal charges can be a frightening experience, especially if you have never been in trouble with the law, so it is highly recommended that you seek counsel from a Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi as soon as you have been arrested. In doing so, you can ensure that your rights are protected throughout every step of the process.
Most people do not realize that they have the right to say no to field sobriety testing, which may include coordination tests like the walk and turn or the one-leg stand. These tests are designed to test a driver’s cognitive and physical abilities – since poor performance could indicate impairment – but the truth is that they are highly subjective. They are not backed by scientific evidence, which means that it is up to the officer to determine whether or not a driver’s poor performance is the result of intoxication.
If you have been pulled over for suspected drunk driving, it is your right to decline participation in any sort of field sobriety testing; however, this does not include chemical testing (i.e. breath, blood or urine test). Per the state’s implied consent law, you cannot refuse to take a blood, breath or urine test without knowingly accepting the consequences. If you refuse to take a chemical test at a law enforcement officer’s request, your license could be automatically suspended for 180 days.
If you were arrested for DWI in Texas, your driver’s license may have been confiscated on the spot. However, you are not without legal recourse. As long as you move quickly, you would have the right to contest the automatic suspension by scheduling a hearing with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). You only have 15 days to submit a formal request, so it is highly recommended that you discuss your case with an experienced criminal attorney in Fort Worth as soon as possible.
Most people assume that an admission of guilt cannot be held against them if a statement was made before a law enforcement officer read them their rights – which refer to their “Miranda rights.” Among these rights include the right to remain silent and the right to hire an attorney. While this is generally true in criminal investigations, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that you are not under custody when you have been stopped for a traffic offense, and thus, do not have to be read your rights.
For this reason, the police are under no obligation to read you your rights before asking you questions like “How much have you had to drink tonight?” If you answer them honestly and admit that you have been driving under the influence, this admission can be used against you in court. Even though an officer will likely read you your rights after you have been arrested, it is important to understand that any voluntary statements made during the encounter can be used to prosecute you for DWI.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you could face jail time for your first DWI offense. In fact, the state has the power to impose a penalty of $2,000 in fines, 180 days in county jail, enrollment in a DWI education course and the suspension of your license. If you have previously been convicted of drunk driving, there is a much stronger possibility that you will be sentenced to jail time; however, with the right defense lawyer on your side, you can fight to have the charges reduced or even dropped.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Fort Worth, it is imperative that you move quickly to secure the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. At the Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi, we offer free initial consultations to all potential clients, so you would have nothing to lose by giving us a call today. If you would prefer to contact us online, you can also submit a free case evaluation form by clicking here.