What to Expect During a Killeen DWI Arrest
Many of us have experienced it – if you’re reading this, you likely have as well. You’re driving home from an evening out and you see the familiar red and blue lights in your rear-view mirror signaling you to pull over. You had one or two drinks at dinner, so you’re a little worried about this, but you intend to cooperate fully with the police officer.
What happens next?
The traffic stop and arrest
The DWI arrest process typically starts with a traffic stop. Texas law enforcement officers are authorized to pull over drivers for traffic violations, or if they suspect a driver is intoxicated. Once pulled over, the officer will observe the driver’s behavior and appearance, including slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and the odor of alcohol on the breath.
If the officer has reasonable suspicion that the driver is intoxicated, they may ask the driver to perform field sobriety tests, such as walking a straight line or standing on one leg. These tests are voluntary, and drivers have the right to refuse them. However, if the driver refuses, the officer may use that refusal as evidence of intoxication.
The officer may also ask the driver to take a breathalyzer test to determine their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Texas has a legal limit of 0.08% BAC for adults over the age of 21. If the driver’s BAC is above the legal limit, the officer will arrest the driver for driving while intoxicated (DWI).
After the arrest, the officer will take the driver to the police station or county jail for processing.
At the police station or county jail, the driver will be booked, which can involve several procedures, including:
- Fingerprinting. The driver’s fingerprints will be taken.
- Mugshot. The driver’s photograph will be taken.
- Inventory. The driver’s belongings will be inventoried and stored until release.
- Breathalyzer test. The driver may be asked to repeat a breathalyzer test to confirm the BAC.
- Blood test. The driver may be asked to submit to a blood test if they refused the breathalyzer test or if the results were inconclusive.
- Bond. The driver may be allowed to post bond to secure their release from custody.
- Court date. The driver will be given a court date to appear and face the DWI charges.
It’s important to note that a DWI arrest does not automatically mean that the driver is guilty. You have the right to a fair trial and to defend yourself against the charges.
The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing is an administrative proceeding, which means it’s not a criminal trial. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether there is enough evidence to suspend or revoke your driver’s license based on your arrest for DWI.
The hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge and typically takes place within 15 days of your arrest. You have the right to attend the hearing, and it’s recommended to have an experienced DWI attorney present to represent you. During the hearing, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will present evidence, including the police report, the results of any chemical tests, and testimony from the arresting officer. Your attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine the DPS’s witnesses and present evidence on your behalf.
After hearing the evidence, the administrative law judge will decide whether or not your license should be suspended or revoked. If the judge decides to suspend or revoke your license, the length of the suspension or revocation will depend on several factors, including:
- Your BAC at the time of the arrest
- Whether you refused to take a chemical test
- Any previous DWI convictions
If you win your ALR hearing, your driver’s license will not be suspended or revoked, and you will be able to keep your driving privileges. However, if you lose the hearing, your license will be suspended or revoked. If this is your first offense, your license may be suspended for up to 180 days.
If you refused to take a chemical test, your license may be suspended for up to 180 days for a first offense and up to two years for subsequent offenses. If this is not your first offense, your license may be suspended or revoked for a longer period.
It’s important to note that you have the right to appeal the decision of the administrative law judge. Your attorney can help you determine whether an appeal is appropriate and represent you in the appeal process.
At court proceedings, you will face the charges against you and have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. It’s recommended to have an experienced Killeen DWI attorney present to help defend your case and protect your rights. Penalties for a DWI conviction in Texas can be severe and may include:
- Fines. A driver may be fined up to $2,000 for a first-time DWI offense, and the fines increase for repeat offenders.
- License suspension. A license may be suspended for up to 180 days for a first-time DWI offense, and the suspension periods increase for repeat offenders.
- Ignition interlock device. The driver may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle, which requires a breathalyzer test before starting the vehicle.
- Jail time. The driver may be sentenced to jail time, ranging from a few days to several years, depending on the severity of the offense and any previous convictions.
- Probation. Probation allows you to serve your sentence in the community while being supervised by a probation officer.
The DWI defense attorneys at Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm are here to protect and defend your rights when you’re facing charges. Contact us as soon as you’re arrested anywhere in Central Texas. Talk to us today about how we can work to reduce the charges against you or have them dismissed altogether. We want to help. Call us in Killeen today or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation. We also serve clients and families throughout Coryell, McLennan, and Bell Counties, and in Temple, Waco, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove, and Belmont.
I’ve dedicated my legal career to defending my clients. I demand all the evidence. I investigate all the facts, the so-called witnesses and even the police officers. I make it my business to know the law. Cases can be won or lost before you even set foot inside the courtroom.
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