DWI Attorney

– Driving While Intoxicated Defense Lawyer in Hays County

Being charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can be a life-changing event.

Having an experienced and dedicated attorney at your side is crucial to the outcome of your case.

You need an attorney who can marshal the evidence to present the most favorable picture of you and the events surrounding your arrest. You need an attorney with a history of successful negotiations with prosecutors. It’s often possible to leverage favorable facts to get a DWI reduced to a less harmful charge, or even dismissed entirely. Lastly, you need an attorney who is ready and unafraid to take your case to trial and give you your day in court. I am that attorney.

Since entering the practice of law in 2002, I have defended citizens accused. I have never been a prosecutor. I have never been a law enforcement officer. I have never switched sides.

Call me today and let’s discuss your case. Arrange an in-person consultation. The consultation is always free of charge.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve never been arrested before. What is going to happen?

A charge of Driving While Intoxicated is often a person’s first experience with the police and the courts. There’s a lot to think about.

You’re entering into a process with its foundations in the US Constitution. You are going to learn a lot. Some of it is bad, and some good. The relationship between the accused and the government is actually the essence of our American life. It’s the place where our Constitutional Amendments come to life. When we meet, ask me about this. I like talking about it.

You’re also entering a financially demanding and personally frustrating period in your life. You will be tested. The courts can seem to move very slowly. It helps if you understand that while this is your first and only experience with the courts, the courts are fully busy all the time, filled with cases moving through the system. Many of those cases are worse than yours, many are much worse. I’ve also found it helps to remember that the people in the courts are not out to get you. They are out to get their work desks cleared of thousands of cases, and yours is just one of many in the flow.

There are real financial issues involved in a charge of DWI. There’s the issue of bond. You may have to recover your car from an impound lot. You will be expected to attend and pay for a DWI class. Your driver’s license may be suspended. You will have to be present in court as ordered, sometimes missing work to do it. If probation is imposed, there are monthly fees and further requirements. You will have to hire a lawyer to represent you and your interests. I want to be that lawyer.

Can a DWI get dismissed?

Yes, but that heavily depends on the facts. If the arrest was questionable, or if proper procedures weren’t followed by law enforcement, a case may be dismissed. The power to file a motion to dismiss lies with the prosecutor, so the facts must be persuasive, and so must the defense attorney. You will need an attorney with experience finding the issues that dismissals turn on.

The first aim of your attorney must be to present a compelling argument for dismissal to the prosecutor.

What is a “reduction”?

When a case cannot be dismissed, the next most important goal is a reduction of charges. Since DWI carries special consequences in Texas, convincing the prosecutor to charge the defendant with another offense, like Obstruction of a Roadway or Reckless Driving, may be the most tolerable result.

What special consequences result from DWI?

Normally, a Class B Misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of six months in a county jail and a fine of up to $2000. But conviction for a DWI also means that the defendant will be assessed a surcharge on his or her driver’s license. The amount of the surcharge varies based on various facts. If it’s a first conviction for DWI, the surcharge is usually $1000 per year for three years. In some cases, the surcharge can be as much as $2000 per year. This is a powerful reason to do everything possible to avoid a conviction for DWI.

Driver’s License Suspension

An arrest for DWI triggers an automatic driver’s license suspension. People arrested for DWI are given a form called DIC24. This form, signed by the arresting officer, informs the arrested driver that his or her license will be suspended for some period (usually six months). The form explains that the driver has 15 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing contesting the license suspension. Once the hearing, called an Administrative License Revocation hearing (ALR), is requested, the license remains valid until after the hearing. The hearing takes place outside the criminal court system, at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. An administrative law judge hears evidence from the arresting officer and then decides whether probable cause for the arrested existed. In all honesty, it usually does. Probable Cause is a very low standard of proof, way below the fifty percent mark.

Even though victory is uncommon in ALR hearings, it is nevertheless an important aspect of the case, and there are always good reasons to request and conduct an ALR. For starters, the officer must actually appear for the hearing or the suspension is denied by the judge. Second, an ALR hearing offers a valuable preview of the officer’s testimony, along with a record of the officer’s sworn answers. The prosecutor is not involved in the ALR process, so everything that happens there is known only to the defense. This is a valuable tool for any future hearings or trial in the County Court at Law in the main case.

For these reasons, no matter how bad the facts in a case are, I always request an ALR hearing. Always.

What if my driver’s license is suspended?

When a driver’s license is suspended, the driver can file a petition with the court for an Occupational Driver’s License. If approved, the driver is permitted to drive for up to 12 hours a day, but only to work, school, the court, or medical appointments. There are filing fees and other requirements the driver must provide. Ask me about them when we meet.

When should I hire an attorney?

As soon as possible. There are time sensitive issues that must be addressed, such as faster jail release, the ALR discussed above, or identifying possible witnesses. For these reasons, sooner is better than later.

What My Clients Have to Say

Incredibly thorough, hardworking and professional. No legal trouble is ever pleasant but Mr. Higgins was patient and took the time to help me understand all of my options. His mastery of the Texas Criminal Code and his ability to fiercely negotiate resulted in a very satisfactory outcome. His experience and compassion was comforting and appreciated during a very stressful time. I cannot recommend him highly enough!! Thanks Mr. Higgins!”