Going to Trial for DWI
The DWI Trial
If you have been charged with a DWI in Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield or in the surrounding cities of Tarrant County and your case is unable to be satisfactorily resolved by means of a dismissal or a preferential plea bargain, you could be facing the prospect of a Tarrant County DWI trial.
The DWI Jury Trial
In Texas, every citizen arrested and charged with a criminal offense has the right to a jury trial. The number of jurors that will be seated on your DWI case will depend upon whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor DWI (DWI, DWI 2nd – Misdemeanor Repetition) or a felony DWI (DWI 3rd or more, DWI w/child under 15 years of age, Intoxication Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter).
If you have been charged with a DWI or DWI 2nd – Misdemeanor Repetition, there will be a total of 6 jurors seated to hear the facts presented against you by the Tarrant County prosecutor. If you have been charged with a Felony DWI, DWI w/child under 15 years of age, Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter, Texas law provides that there will be 12 jurors seated to hear your DWI case. The law provides that before any citizen can be found guilty of DWI or DUI in the state of Texas, all the jurors must unanimously determine beyond a reasonable doubt that you were guilty of the following:
- 1.That YOU
- 2.On or about the date you were stopped/arrested
- 3.In Tarrant County, Texas
- 4.Did Operate
- 5.A Motor Vehicle
- 6.In a Public Place
- 7.While Intoxicated
Usually, the most contested issue during a DWI trial is the final element listed above – While Intoxicated. Under Texas Penal Code §49.01, a person is intoxicated if they: (1) do not have the normal use of their mental faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol into the body; OR (2) do have the normal use of their physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol into the body; OR (3) has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
Although Intoxication is usually the most contested issue at a DWI trial, it is important to remember that if the Tarrant County prosecutor fails to prove ALL of the elements of the crime of DWI (as defined in Texas Penal Code §49.04), the jury will be instructed by the judge to render a verdict of NOT GUILTY.
A DWI jury trial can take anywhere from a few days to over a week to receive a verdict. Prior to the jury trial, the DWI trial team at The Hampton Law Firm will pore over the evidence and the law and make a determination if any pre-trial motions or hearings are necessary to exclude evidence from being presented by the Tarrant County prosecutor at the jury trial.
The first phase of any jury trial in the state of Texas is jury selection. During jury selection, a panel of prospective jurors is brought in to court and the Tarrant County prosecutor and your DWI attorney will have the opportunity to explain the law to the jury and determine which jurors can fairly and impartially render a verdict for your DWI trial.
If you hire The Hampton Law Firm to defend you in your Tarrant County DWI trial, our DWI trial team will clearly explain the law to the panel of jurors and work to ensure that the jurors selected for your DWI trial are free from any bias or prejudice.
After the jurors have been selected, sworn and empaneled, both the Tarrant County prosecutor and a member of The Hampton Law Firm DWI trial team will have the opportunity to present an opening statement to the jury. Because the Tarrant County prosecutor has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor will be required to call their witnesses against you (arresting police officer, assist officers, Intoxilyzer operator, technical supervisor, etc.)
After each witness (police officer, operator and supervisor) finishes answering the prosecutor’s questions, a member of The Hampton Law Firm DWI trial team will have the opportunity to show the jury the complete story behind your DWI arrest. The Hampton Law Firm DWI trial team will cross-examine every prosecution witness and show the jury the witnesses’ mistakes that discredit the reliability of the field sobriety tests, breath test/blood test and any subsequent scientific conclusions as a result of such testing.
Once the Tarrant County prosecutors have rested their case, The Hampton Law Firm will have the opportunity to decide whether it is necessary to call any defense witnesses. Under the law, only the prosecution is required to prove the elements of the offense of DWI and if it is determined that the prosecution has failed to meet its burden during the trial, it may be unnecessary to call any defense witnesses. However, if defense witnesses are needed, The Hampton Law Firm will call witnesses to the stand to further establish to the jury that the prosecution has failed to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were guilty of DWI.
After the court has prepared the jury instructions to be presented to the jury, both the prosecution and a member of The Hampton Law Firm DWI trial team will give closing arguments. During closing argument, The Hampton Law Firm DWI trial team will thoroughly apply the facts of your case to the law that the prosecution is required to prove and walk the jury through each and every element of the jury instructions to persuasively articulate how the prosecution has failed to prove their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
Why the DWI trial team approach and does it matter?
At The Hampton Law Firm, we understand that the prospect of facing a DWI or DUI trial can be intimidating and stressful. You must understand that when your Tarrant County DWI trial occurs, a team of Tarrant County prosecutors will be assigned to litigate your case. Give yourself the peace of mind of knowing that when you hire The Hampton Law Firm, you will have a legal team of former Tarrant County prosecutors that have tried over 100 DWI jury trials in the courts of Tarrant County, Texas, heading your DWI defense.
At The Hampton Law Firm, we even the odds for those charged with a DWI in Fort Worth or the surrounding cities in Tarrant County by ensuring that if your case goes to trial, you will be defended by a team of experienced DWI lawyers that have both misdemeanor and felony DWI experience. Call The Hampton Law Firm now to schedule an appointment with the Tarrant County DWI trial team and receive a free evaluation regarding your DWI case.