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Frequently Asked Questions


My license has been suspended and I have to get to work. What do I do?
Your attorney will have to file for an Occupational License with the court for you to be able to drive legally. A petition for occupational license is filed with the court and if approved the order is signed by the judge allowing you to drive at specific times of the day. You are only allowed up to 12 hours and the order must be specific as to where and when you will be on the road. The signed order must be kept in the vehicle you are driving at all times. You must have valid proof of insurance to be able to apply for an occupational license.

May a police officer use force on a person to make him take a breath or blood test?
Sometimes for blood but never for breath. An officer has authority to order a blood sample from an arrested person only if there has been an accident where a death has resulted, a death is likely to occur, or there has been a serious bodily injury. Everyone arrested for DWI who has taken the police breath or blood test has a statutory and/or due process constitutional right to a second independent blood test by their own doctor if the test can be performed within two hours of the arrest. Thus, a lawyer may offer additional benefits to an arrested person because the lawyer has a greater opportunity to arrange for and coordinate such a blood test than does the person in jail for DWI.

Does a person have a choice to refuse being video taped?
No. There are, however, quasi exceptions. For example, although a person has no right to refuse being video taped, he does have the right to refuse to perform any police field sobriety exercises and to refuse to answer any questions, the answers to which, might be incriminating. Unlike breath or blood test refusals, there are no penalties for refusing to perform field sobriety tests or refusing to answer questions while being videotaped.

If stopped for a possible DWI, do I have to take the breath test?
Texas law deems that all persons who drive with Texas licenses have already conditionally agreed, after their arrest, to take a breath and/or blood test upon being properly requested to do so by a police officer. This deemed consent arises only where the person has driven in a public place. Examples of public places are public roads, highways, beaches, parking garages and other places where the public or a substantial part of the public may gain access. However, there is no such deemed consent, or as it is sometimes called “implied consent” for a urine test.
Texas law provides that where the implied consent law is applicable, a person arrested for DWI may refuse to take the requested test. Such a refusal, however, may result in the following penalties:

1) suspension of your diving privileges for 90 days for the first arrest for DWI,
2) a 180 day suspension for a subsequent arrest if, in the first arrest you refused to submit to testing or had an alcohol concentration of .08 or greater,
3) a one year license suspension if you have a prior conviction for DWI, and
4) the admission into evidence of your refusal to take the breath test in the subsequent DWI criminal trial. The purpose of this admission, from the prosecution’s viewpoint, is to imply to the judge or jury, that the refusal was premised on the belief that the driver thought he was too intoxicated to pass the test.

If you do submit to alcohol concentration testing and fail, your driver’s license privileges can be suspended, and the test result may come into evidence in the criminal trial. The possible suspension periods are as follows:

60 days if your driving record shows no prior alcohol related arrests,
120 days for two or more prior arrests without a conviction, and
180 days if you have a prior conviction.

How much does it cost to hire an attorney for a criminal case?
Fees fluctuate depending on the experience and ability of the attorney, the type of case(s) you are charged with and the estimated time it will take to represent you. Generally, attorneys try to set their fees based on their hourly rate times the estimated time spent handling your case. Hourly fees in Grayson County range from $100.00 to $300.00 an hour. On many cases, particularly felonies, the general procedure is to require a minimum retainer with additional fees depending on how the case develops. In some instances, arrangements can be made to pay out the fees over a period of time.

What do I do if my drivers license is suspended?
Your drivers license may be suspended because of a conviction for failure to maintain insurance, for driving while intoxicated, for refusing to submit to a breath test or for other reasons. If you are stopped while driving with a suspended driver’s license, you are subject to being arrested and taken to jail. If your license is suspended, your attorney can petition the court if it is necessary for you to operate a motor vehicle to maintain employment or for other approved purposes. You must present to the court proof that you have acceptable liability insurance at the time the court hears your petition. The court is authorized to issue a Court Order, which in effect becomes your drivers license until the time for suspension expires and your normal license is reinstated.

What will be the final outcome of my case?
Many factors may determine the outcome of your case including what you are charged with and the facts of your case. The goals of a criminal defense attorney are: dismissal of the charges, a not guilty verdict by a judge or jury, plea negotiations resulting in a pleas to lower class of offense, deferred adjudication, probation or other terms that are acceptable to you under the circumstances.

Once I am represented by an attorney, what happens next?
Your attorney enters his appearance with the court as your legal representative. He will notify you of subsequent court settings and as to whether your attendance is required. Depending on your case and the circumstances, various pretrial motions may be filed including Motions for Discovery and Motions to Suppress. Your case will be set for trial by the court from time to time until it is reached on the docket for trial. During this time, your attorney will interview you and possibly other witnesses. An investigator may be retained for additional fact gathering and, with your permission, plea bargain negotiations may begin with the prosecutor.

Do I need an attorney for misdemeanors?
Yes. Misdemeanors often carry with them the potential for significant punishment including up to 2 years imprisonment and fines up to $2,000.00. An attorney has tools at his disposal and leverage that individuals do not have to achieve the best possible outcome for your particular situation.

What if 15-20% of the bond is more than we can afford?
In proper circumstances, the court may reduce the required bond upon proper filing by your attorney and hearing on a Writ of Habeas Corpus. In some cases, the attorney or bondsman may make arrangements for a payment plan.

What do I do if myself or someone close to me has been arrested?
Contact an attorney or bail bond company as soon as possible. If the arrest is for a felony, you will need an attorney to provide a waiver of arraignment in order to obtain the release from jail as soon as possible. In such a case, your attorney may also act as your bondsman. The cost of bond is generally 15-20% of the required bond.
Duke Walker
103 S Travis St., Suite 100
Sherman, TX 75090
(903) 813-3200