DWI Truths That Will Blow Your Mind
Texas DPS DWI Truths
An important DWI Truth: despite what you may think, the Texas Department of Public Safety is not related to the criminal case for your DWI. Texas DPS only handles the driver’s license suspensions. Unfortunately, Texas DPS is also responsible for commercial driver’s licenses. The main problem is that Texas DPS has specific rules regarding suspensions for both regular and commercial licenses. Some of the crazier rules are:
- Texas DPS can suspend your CDL for either a refusal or failure for one year (on a first-time DWI), even if you were not driving a commercial vehicle when you got the DWI. They can take away your license for life for a second (or more) DWI.
- One can have their driver’s license taken away before receiving a conviction for DWI. The ALR process is the administrative process Texas DPS uses to suspend your license. Usually, the ALR occurs before your criminal case is over. Because ALRs are administrative, they are civil (not criminal) hearings. This means there is no “innocent until proven guilty” like there is in your criminal case. There is no “beyond as reasonable doubt” either. All Texas DPS needs to show is that the officer “reasonably believed” that you were driving while intoxicated by a preponderance of the evidence. This means, basically, that Texas DPS only needs to prove “more likely than not”.
- You can lose your driver’s license two times for two different time periods for the same DWI. The law allows Texas DPS to suspend your license as part of the ALR process AND if the criminal judge orders a suspension. The criminal judge doesn’t always give “time served” for your ALR suspension.
- In Texas, they pop you with a $3-$6k “superfine” by Texas DPS after your court case is over. Even though it is double jeopardy (double punishment for the same crime). It also violates the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment (the “superfine” far exceeds a class A or Class B maximum fine limit). This “superfine” replaces the surcharge system that Texas DPS used before 2019.
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests DWI Truth
The “standardized field sobriety tests” are a scam. They do not test sobriety or driving ability. They test reflexes. Regardless, Texas law allows some crazy rules such as:
- The standardized field sobriety tests are touted as having an accuracy related to intoxication, yet this is bogus junk “cop” science, none of it scientifically peer reviewed. The SFSTs tend to test agility and balance more than driving ability. Standing on one foot has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to drive.
- The standardized field sobriety tests are used on DWIs with drugs even though the tests were not created using drugs (only alcohol). Different drugs have different effects on a person’s body, so why do we use the same tests for every drug? I guess that’s why they call them “standardized” tests. . . It’s ridiculous!
Interlock DWI Truths
Interlock restrictions are absurd. These restrictions treat everyday people like criminals before the State even files the case (and sometimes even if they never file the case)! Some crazy DWI Truths about interlock include:
- They make you drive with an interlock on your vehicle before a conviction. This usually applies to repeat offenders, but some counties (especially Johnson County) LOVE to force first-time offenders to install an interlock as a condition of bond. Other times, judges include interlock restrictions as a condition of an occupational driver’s license (the license that allows you to drive during a suspension). Kind of like a license suspension, the courts don’t seem to care much about “innocent until proven guilty” . . .
- The interlock companies rush interlock installation, yet require a judge’s order for DWI interlock removal (the law does not require it). The law allows for interlock removal at the end of probation or a license suspension. However, the interlock companies will be stubborn insist on seeing an “official” order before removing your interlock.
- All the punishment suffered before your court case is resolved does not count for anything– the many months paying for pre-trial services, the interlock, SCRAM monitoring, in home unit monitoring and drug testing. While some judge will consider “time served,” many will issue whatever conditions are in the plea agreement (or will issue their own conditions).
- Prosecutors try to convict people who are not even driving, sitting in parking lots. This also applies to ALR hearings. Texas DPS may suspend your license even if you were asleep behind the wheel. They can do this because the law, despite the name, defines Driving While Intoxicated as “operating” rather than driving. The law includes being asleep behind the wheel of a running car (even in park) as “operation”.
- The state may revoke your probation for a simple interlock violation. This is true even if the violation is minor such as any detectable amount of alcohol. Many mouthwash brands include alcohol, which can show up on your interlock!
More about Mimi Coffey
When people look for a Top DWI Attorney or Best DWI Attorney, they look for experience, certification, and respect in the legal community. Mimi Coffey is a nationally-renowned trial attorney, board-certified in DWI by the NCDD. She has been practicing for over 24 years and is an author of multiple DWI Defense textbooks. She is also a national and state-wide lecturer on the law.
Mimi is also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI Lawyers for Wise County, DWI Lawyer Tarrant County, DWI attorney Dallas County, DWI attorneys Collin County and DWI attorneys Parker County. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in DFW, She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.