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Things to Know if Charged With DUI in Dallas



Whether you live in Richardson, Plano or Highland Park, if you are charged with a DUI in Dallas, you will want to know the basics of Dallas DUI law.

This article will explain to you the things you need to know if charged with committing DWI in Dallas.

What Is DUI in Dallas?

The term DUI stands for driving under the influence. In Dallas, this crime is also referred to as DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated. Either term can be used to refer to charges against Dallas intoxicated drivers; however, DWI is the official charge.

There are two ways to be charged with DUI in Dallas. The first is known as a per se violation.

A per se violation is when your blood-alcohol content (BAC) measures at .08 or above. This means your blood contains eight one-hundredths of a percent of alcohol.

Even if your BAC is under .08, you may still be arrested for DUI if the officer believes your driving has been impaired by drugs or alcohol. This type of DUI charge is harder for the state to prove in court. The officer will likely have to testify about the behaviors you exhibited at the time of the arrest, including the smell of your breath and your ability to focus.

You can also face elevated DUI charges in Dallas depending on the circumstances of your arrest. Specifically, if you are caught driving while intoxicated with a child under 15 in your vehicle, you may face stiffer punishment. The same applies for those with a BAC of .16 or above.

Punishments for DUI in Dallas

Dallas takes DUI charges very seriously, and the severity of punishments reflects this.

A first-time offender faces the following penalties:

  • Three to 180 days in jail
  • Fines of up to $2,000
  • License suspension for three months to one year

A second conviction is punishable by:

  • 30 days to one year in jail
  • Fines of up to $4,000
  • License suspension for 180 days to two years
  • Possible ignition interlock device installation

An ignition interlock device is a mechanism that forces you to have a BAC of under .08 to enable your vehicle.

A third DUI in Dallas is punishable by:

  • Two to 10 years in jail
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • License suspension of 180 days to two years
  • Possible ignition interlock device installation

The Process for DUI in Dallas

Before an officer arrests you for DUI, he has to first pull you over. A police officer may pull you over for one of several reasons.

He may stop you for violating a traffic law. He can also pull you over for driving erratically. Finally, can also stop you if you drive through a sobriety checkpoint. A sobriety checkpoint is a predetermined location where officers pull over random drivers and check them for DWI.

Once you have been pulled over, an officer may request that you submit to a field sobriety test. There are a number of field sobriety tests the officer may administer. The most common ones include:

  • Standing on one foot
  • Following a light with your eyes without moving your head or neck
  • Walking in a straight line, turning and walking back

If you do poorly or fail the field sobriety test, an officer will place you under arrest. You will then take you back to the police station for a BAC test. There are different types of BAC tests. Some rely on blood or other bodily chemicals. Others, like the breathalyzer, rely on your breath to determine your blood-alcohol content.

If you register a BAC of .08 or higher, you will be charged with committing DUI. Even if your BAC is under .08, you still may be charged with driving while impaired.

Hiring a Dallas DUI Attorney

If you have been charged with committing DUI in Dallas, you will want to hire a Dallas DUI attorney. Dallas DUI attorneys can represent you throughout the duration of your DUI case. If you are unable to conduct an attorney search, whether due to incarceration or another reason, find someone you can trust to assist you.

To find names of prospective DUI attorneys, ask friends and family members for referrals. Have they used a Dallas DUI lawyer in the past? If so, would they recommend him?

You can also use a site like Attorneys.com. With Attorneys.com, you can fill out an online questionnaire and we will then connect you to one or more Dallas-area DUI lawyers.

You can then set up an initial consultation with any attorney you are interested in. The purpose of this meeting is to familiarize the lawyer with your case while getting to know the attorney. You will then be in a better position to decide which lawyer to hire.

Prepare a list of questions in advance to ask the attorneys. The questions should focus on important hiring factors, including the lawyer's experience, legal strategy, case management practices and costs.

Once you have had a chance to speak to all attorneys you are interested in, you should be able to make an informed hiring decision.