Fort Worth DWI Lawyer
PUT OUR 130 YEARS OF DWI EXPERIENCE TO WORK FOR YOU
If you are facing drunk driving charges in Fort Worth or surrounding areas, you should hire a Fort Worth DWI lawyer who is well equipped to represent you right away. At the office of Jerry Loftin & Associates, we are very familiar with the way that Texas law enforcement officers approach citizens during suspected DWI traffic stops and how the Tarrant County district attorney’s office prosecutes DWI cases.
In fact, Fort Worth DWI attorneys Jerry Loftin and Trent Loftin both worked in the Tarrant County district attorney’s office and prosecuted DWI cases for several years before switching to the other side of the courtroom to defend clients charged with DWI. We know what to expect from DWI prosecutors and are prepared to fight tooth and nail to protect our clients’ rights—whether that means convincing the DA to drop or reduce charges or going to court.
As a client of Jerry Loftin & Associates, you benefit from the extensive knowledge and experience our DWI lawyers Fort Worth TX have accumulated during our more than 130 years of combined legal experience and through the tens of thousands of cases we’ve handled over the years.
Our firm is dedicated to providing the aggressive and strategic legal representation you deserve if you have been arrested for drinking and driving. You also have the right to choose a DUI attorney Forth Worth who you feel is the best fit for your case. Choosing an attorney with decades of successful DWI defense experience is a great place to start.
Arrested for DWI?
Get defense from an experienced Fort Worth DWI attorney when you contact us at Jerry Loftin & Associates today!
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN FACING DWI CHARGES
Law enforcement officers are required to follow the laws and rules established by the state and federal government, including the rights and freedoms afforded to citizens of our country by the United States Constitution.
When you’re facing DWI charges, you have the right to due process of law, the right to speak with an attorney, the right to a speedy trial, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and freedom from self-incrimination, among other rights.
Should you get pulled over for a suspected DWI or DUI, it’s critical to understand these rights and how they may apply to you during and after a traffic stop.
1) You have the right to call an attorney and refuse to answer questions from police.
While you should always be polite and never lie to law enforcement, you don’t need to be forthcoming. Instead, ask to speak with your attorney right away. You don’t have to answer questions law enforcement officers ask you during a DWI stop. The police are trained to ask questions that will trick you into admitting guilt.
For example, they may ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how intoxicated are you?” If you answer any number above zero, you admit you are intoxicated, which will only work against you when trying to get charges dropped or reduced. At Jerry Loftin & Associates, we know the techniques law enforcement uses to build a case against suspected DWI offenders and can advise you on what and what not to tell police.
Police officers are not your friends. People often believe, “If I tell the police everything they want to know, things will go better for me.” That’s because we were taught as youngsters that we shouldn’t tell a lie, and we should always comply with authority figures. Unfortunately, those beliefs will work against you when you’re stopped for suspected DWI.
The goal of law enforcement is to gather evidence to support a case against you. They’re not going to go easy on you if you make it easy for them to gather that evidence. Things will actually go better for you if you keep your mouth shut and call a Fort Worth DWI attorney.
2) You have the right to refuse to take field sobriety tests.
Law enforcement does not have the right to search for evidence—by way of field sobriety tests—without your consent. Field sobriety tests were designed to make you fail. Your heart is already racing and nerves are on edge from the police pulling you over, then you have to stand on one leg next to a busy highway with a flashlight pointed in your eyes? Plus, certain health issues, medication, and environmental conditions may also set you up to fail.
Keep in mind, if you refuse to take field sobriety tests the officer could arrest you, but if you’re already in handcuffs, they were probably planning to arrest you anyway. Allowing law enforcement officers to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs) just gives them more ammunition to build a case against you.
In addition, whether you pass or fail the field sobriety tests is up to the law enforcement officer performing the tests. You don’t want to put your liberty at risk based on one officer’s subjective opinion—a person who will present that opinion when providing testimony against you to the DA’s office or in court. There typically is no benefit to agreeing to field sobriety tests in Texas.
3) You have the right to refuse to take breathalyzer and blood alcohol tests.
Law enforcement does not have the right to search for evidence via a breathalyzer or chemical test without your consent, though you will be required to take chemical blood or urine tests once law enforcement produces a warrant. Unlike field sobriety tests, chemical tests performed in a lab provide objective results.
While you can refuse to take the less reliable breathalyzer test, once the police produce a warrant for chemical tests (blood and/or urine), you will face consequences for refusing to comply. You probably will be arrested—if you haven’t been already—and your driver’s license will likely be suspended (180 days for first-time offenders and two years for second- and third-time offenders).
Check out the DWI Tests section below for more information about FSTs and chemical tests.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT DWI IN TEXAS
FACT #1: DWI and DUI do NOT mean the same thing.
In Texas, DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DUI (driving under the influence) apply to different people based on age. DWI laws pertain to adults ages 21 years and older, while DUI laws apply to Texas citizens under that age of 21, including minors 18 years of age and younger.
FACT #2: You don’t have to register a .08 BAC or higher to get a DWI or DUI in Texas.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about DWI in Texas is you must have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08 percent or higher to be charged with a DWI or driving under the influence. In reality, Texas defines intoxication in a few different ways.
Intoxication could mean you have a BAC of .08 or higher but it could also mean you lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties because you consumed alcohol or a controlled substance, which includes both illegal drugs and prescription drugs.
For example, if you took an Ambien sleeping pill, hop in your car a few hours later, and lose normal use of your mental or physical faculties, you could be charged with driving while intoxicated or DUI, even if the drug had been legally prescribed.
In addition, if you’re under the age of 21 you could be charged with driving under the influence regardless of your BAC because the state of Texas has zero tolerance for underage alcohol and drug use. As long as the arresting officer believes a person under the age of 21 was driving under the influence, he or she can arrest the individual for DUI—even if they register a .00 BAC.
FACT #3: Getting a DWI shouldn’t be viewed as a doomsday scenario.
People often panic and envision the worst-case scenario following a DWI arrest, especially if they believe everything they see on TV or read online. While getting charged with a DWI is serious, it isn't necessarily the doomsday scenario people tend to believe.
Some DWI attorneys even prey on that fear and tell prospective clients they will end up in jail, “unless you hire me.” At Jerry Loftin & Associates, we will give it to you straight based on the evidence at hand. Our DWI lawyers Fort Worth TX believe it’s important to look ahead and not behind, and we’ll do everything legally possible to keep you out of jail.
Following a DWI arrest, if you hire a DWI attorney Tarrant County from our firm, you can expect us to listen with compassion, clearly explain what charges and potential penalties you are facing, and discuss the strategy we will employ to win the best outcome for your case. After several decades in business, we’ve handled tens of thousands of criminal cases in Tarrant County and know what it takes to provide effective DWI and DUI representation for our clients.
FACT #4: Once you’ve been pulled over, you’re always being watched (and recorded).
More and more law enforcement officers wear body cameras today, and they also have cameras recording you in the back of the squad car. Once you get to the police station, video cameras are everywhere.
In addition, it’s critical to limit what you say on the phone at the police station. Law enforcement records about 95% of phone calls individuals make from jail (attorney-client calls are privileged), so as badly as you want to tell family members what is going on, you need to be vague and not reveal any details of your activities before, during, or after your arrest, when calling from jail.
All of this recorded evidence can be—and often is—used against individuals arrested for DWI and DUI. Your DWI attorney Fort Worth can act as the go-between for you and family members and update them on your status as needed and when appropriate.
FACT #5: It’s a good idea to write down a timeline of events leading up to your arrest.
Once you’ve been released from jail, take time to create a timeline to give your attorney showing what you did the day leading up to the arrest and when. This should include all details from the time you woke up, what time you ate breakfast and other meals, what food you actually ate, where you were drinking, during what time, how many drinks you had, and what you told the police.
You should also tell your DWI lawyer Ft Worth about any medical conditions or surgeries you’ve had and any drugs (legal and illegal), medication (prescribed and OTC) or supplements you take. It may also helpful to take photographs of locations you visited leading up to your arrest.
TEXAS DRUNK DRIVING PENALTIES
We understand you and your family may be feeling overwhelmed and fearful about the charges you are facing. The penalties for a DWI conviction are very serious, especially if there are other factors involved. In most cases, penalties are determined based on whether or not you have a prior record of driving while intoxicated. Some penalties you may face include:
- Time in jail.
- Suspension of your driver’s license.
- Fines up to $10,000.
If a child was riding in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, or if you are being accused of causing injury or death in a related accident, the consequences could be much more serious.
The penalties for DWI under the state laws of Texas may include:
- First time DWI: 72 hours to 180 days in prison, 90 days to 1-year license suspension, and up to a $2,000 fine.
- Second time DWI: 30 days to 1 year in prison, 6 months to 2-year license suspension, and up to a $4,000 fine.
- Third time DWI: 2 years to 10 years in jail, 6 months to 2-year license suspension, and up to a $10,000 fine.
The penalties for DUI (21 years of age or less) under the state laws of Texas may include:
- Maximum fine of $500.
- Suspension of driver’s license for up to two months.
- Required completion of alcohol education program.
- Community service.
TESTING FOR DWI IN TEXAS
Field Sobriety Tests
After an officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, they will ask you questions and observe your behavior to determine whether you might have drugs and/or alcohol in your system. During questioning, they will check to see if your eyes are bloodshot, whether you or your vehicle smell of alcohol or drugs, if your speech is slurred, or whether your reactions are delayed.
If the officer suspects you might be intoxicated, they may request you submit to field sobriety testing (FST). FSTs can include the following:
- Horizontal-Gaze Nystagmus Test: The officer may hold a pen or small flashlight in front of your eyes and ask you to follow it as they move it around.
- Walk-and-Turn Test: The officer may ask you to walk in a straight line, making sure the heel of one foot meets the toe of the other, and then turn around and do it again.
- One-Leg Stand Test: The officer may ask you to stand on one leg while counting to 30.
Although you are required to exit your vehicle at the officer ’s request, you do not have to submit to the FSTs. You can politely refuse and ask to call your Fort Worth DWI lawyer as we explained above. These tests are difficult for people to pass, whether or not they have alcohol and/or drugs in their system, and submitting to FSTs may provide the officer with evidence that can be used against you in court.
Another test the officer might administer is a field breath test, which is different from a chemical test that may be administered later. The officer will request you blow into a portable device to determine the amount of alcohol in your system. The results from the breathalyzer are not always conclusive, and as with FSTs, you can respectfully refuse to submit to the test.
Keep in mind, if an officer suspects that you were driving while intoxicated, they may arrest you regardless of your taking the FSTs or submitting to a portable breathalyzer test.
If you are arrested on suspicion for DWI, you may be required to submit to chemical tests, which involves taking your blood or urine to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system. Technically, you can refuse to submit to a chemical test, but doing so could result in a suspension of your driver ’s license for up to 2 years.
CAN A DWI BE DISMISSED IN TEXAS?
If you do not agree to enter a guilty plea and elect to fight DWI charges instead, there is approximately a 45 percent chance your charges will be reduced or dismissed. In cases where you cannot get DWI charges dismissed, your DWI lawyer Fort Worth, TX may be able to convince the district attorney to reduce charges to a lesser offense. In Texas, some of those lesser offenses may include:
- Reckless driving
- Obstruction of a passageway
EXPLORING EFFECTIVE DEFENSE STRATEGIES
It's not against the law to have a drink and to drive. It's against the law to drink and be intoxicated. That fine line may be determined by an officer who decides whether he thinks you are intoxicated, based on his training and experience, which in many cases is pretty limited.
As your Tarrant County DWI attorney, our primary goal is to convince the DA that the DWI charges filed against you should be dropped or reduced to a lesser offense. To do so, our Fort Worth DWI defense lawyers gather all of the necessary evidence leading up to, during, and following your arrest to use in your defense.
No DWI case is 100% foolproof, and even if the deck is stacked 99% against you, it ’s our job to find that 1% crack in dam of the DA ’s case—which takes one small mistake by an officer—to break the dam and get charges dropped. There is almost always a crack somewhere in that dam.
After reviewing all of the evidence—witness testimony, video evidence, police reports, research on the arresting officer, etc.—some defense tactics we may use to clear your name include:
- Bringing shoddy police work to light, like tampering with evidence, evidence not stored properly, or improper chain of custody of evidence.
- Showing that the breathalyzer equipment used was not properly calibrated.
- Providing evidence that your breath or blood test was not valid.
- And other defense tactics and strategies.
If our Fort Worth DWI attorneys can prove that your rights were violated when you were pulled over, we may be able to get the case dismissed. These are just a few examples of the strategies our firm utilizes to help protect your rights and defend your case. We pay great attention to detail and are committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve a positive outcome!
Contact us at our office at (817) 429-2000 for a
free consultation if you need a Fort Worth DWI lawyer.