DWI: A Crash Course

The DWI Process in Texas 

Having good information is a prerequisite for knowing your rights and how to protect them. At The Law Offices of George A. Scharmen we’re committed to two things—making sure people know how the DWI process works in Texas, and then giving them the vigorous defense they need and deserve. 

From our San Antonio office, we serve clients in both the English and Spanish-speaking communities. Free consultations and payment plans are available. Call (210) 405-9730 or fill out our online contact form today

Step-By-Step in the DWI Process in Texas

The Arrest

A police officer must have reasonable suspicion that a driver might be intoxicated before even making the stop. Even after making the stop, there must still be probable cause for doing a breath and blood test. If that test comes back at 0.08% or higher, the driver ca be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. 


The judge will set a bail amount within 48 hours of the arrest. It’s not strictly necessary to have a lawyer for the bond hearing, but it can be extremely helpful. The terms of bail—or if it is granted at all—will depend on a number of factors, ranging from prior record to the circumstances of this particular arrest to the likelihood the defendant can be trusted to return for future court appearances. Our attorney can advocate for the defendant. 

The Arraignment

This is the first appearance the defendant will make in court, and it is when a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea is entered. It may be tempting for a defendant to just want to put a bad event behind them. But even a first DWI offense in Texas has serious consequences. Our lawyer can advise defendants on the best path forward for their specific case. 

ALR Hearing

The Administrative License Revocation hearing will decide if the defendant can maintain an active driver’s license while the court proceedings are going on. It’s important for defendants to understand that the default is for the license to be suspended. The  defendant and their lawyer must request an ALR hearing within 15 days of when the license was suspended (likely the day of the arrest) or the suspension stays in place. 

Pre-Trial Motions

The value of an experienced lawyer who understands how to investigate a DWI may become apparent during pre-trial motions. Blood and breath tests have strict protocols that must be followed. The failure to follow protocol can invalidate the results of the test—in large part, because those protocols are designed to guard against the false positive readings that happen more than people may realize. If authorities did not follow the proper process, our attorney can file a motion to suppress. If the motion succeeds, the test results cannot be admitted at trial. Which, in a DWI arrest, can effectively end the case. 

The Trial

Even if the test results are admitted, there are still options for a strong legal defense. Blood alcohol content (BAC) readings can be impacted by any number of factors that go beyond having too much to drink. Common foods and everyday medications can trigger a false reading. Our lawyer, and our award-winning legal staff drill down into each and every case, looking for the important details that might end making the difference at trial. 

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Five-Star Client Testimonials

  • "He knows the law inside and out and uses that to your advantage."
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  • "The dismissal saved my career and my professional license."
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Why Choose George A. Scharmen? How We Stand Out
  • Going the Extra Mile
    While we try to avoid the courtroom for clients, I promise to be ready for anything - including a jury trial.
  • Extensive DWI Experience
    For more than 40 years, I have exclusively practiced criminal law and DWI defense.
  • Recognized in the Community
    Highly respected among colleagues, I'm double-board certified and the recipient of many awards and accolades.
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