• Justin Sparks

How Many DWI Cases Get Dismissed in Texas?

According to the CDC, Texas is one of the three states with the highest number of driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests in the US. Thousands of cases are tried every year, with the vast majority of them resulting in court fines, probation, community service, and even jail time.


However, not all DWIs end with convictions. In fact, a combination of excellent legal support and proper appeals can lead to the complete dismissal of charges.


What is a DWI?

What is a DWI?


The term DWI stands for driving while intoxicated, and it refers to anyone operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. In Texas, the maximum blood alcohol content allowed is 0.8%.


In some cases, DWI can also stand for driving while impaired. It includes drivers who do not have complete control over their mental and physical faculties. For example, it can refer to someone driving while having a psychotic episode or suffering from paralysis from an injury.


A police officer can stop a vehicle if the driver breaks a traffic law. If they suspect that the driver is under the influence or impaired, officers can subject them to a series of roadside sobriety tests. If the vehicle operator fails, the police can take them to jail, and the state will open a case against them.


For those who are trying to obtain a commercial driver's license, find out if one can get a CDL with a DWI in Texas.


Are Dismissals Possible for DWIs?


The short answer to this question is: yes, some DWI cases can get dismissed. However, it is important to take a look at the statistics, as dismissals are not that common in Texas.


Texas DWI Statistics

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were 106,970 arrests for DWI in 2021. Of that number, only about 3% of cases resulted in dismissals. Conversely, more than 70% resulted in a conviction, whether it was for the original offense or another that was deemed appropriate by a court.


Therefore, while a dismissal is indeed possible, it does not happen quite often. For such an outcome, circumstances have to align perfectly, and an experienced attorney must handle the case.


What Can Lead to a DWI Case Dismissal?


To get a DWI dismissal, one must determine how strong the state’s case against them is. The best way to do so is by scheduling an Adjusted License Revocation (ALR) hearing.


The purpose of this hearing is for a judge to determine whether to revoke the accused's driving permit. It is essential to request this hearing up to 15 days after the initial arrest, as that is the legal window people have to appeal the license suspension.


At the ALR hearing, the defendant's attorney aims to show that the state should not revoke their driver’s license, and they can do so in various ways. One is to prove that the police stopped the driver without cause. If the attorney manages to show sufficient evidence, the ARL concludes with the license intact.


Lawyers might also try to demonstrate that the sobriety test results are incorrect or at least inconclusive. The best way to do this is to prove that the officers did not administer the tests correctly, making them unreliable.


Whichever defense strategy the legal team chooses, this hearing gives them the perfect opportunity to test it. They can hear witness testimonies and ensure that they cannot change during the trial, as well as see all the evidence that the state has. In the end, winning an ALR hearing often means that the state will have to dismiss the case later on.


Getting a Dismissal


After winning the ALR hearing, the defense refocuses on the trial. The defendant has to plead not guilty at the first adjustment hearing, after which the court proceedings begin.

As already mentioned, attorneys ought to use the same line of defense that allowed them to win the ALR. Since they already know that the state's case isn’t solid, they can exploit that fact to get a dismissal.


The Importance of Legal Help


The most important factor in dismissing DWI cases is the experience of the defense. Thus, hiring an excellent lawyer from the top DWI law firms in Fort Worth TX with a history of handling DWIs is the best decision any driver can make if they want to have a chance at a dismissal.


A skilled attorney knows how to use the evidence in the defendant’s favor, which is imperative for winning. All in all, expert legal help can make a big difference, no matter how solid the state’s case might seem.