DWI/DUI Drunk Driving

DWI/DUI Drunk Driving

DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated, in the state of Texas, is defined as an offense committed by an individual who operates a motor vehicle while his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher, or while physically or mentally impaired by alcohol or drugs. If arrested for DWI, you will be charged with a criminal case. Penalties resulting from the criminal case may include a jail term and fines. In addition, if you hold a Texas Driver's license, your privilege to operate a motor vehicle may be suspended through a process called Administrative License Revocation. In some cases, a DWI charge can also affect insurance and can even limit future employment opportunities.

Potential Penalties Resulting from the Criminal Case

Under Texas criminal law, a first offense DWI is considered a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by a minimum of three days and up to 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000 if convicted. However, if the case is complicated by other conditions including DWI with a minor, DWI assault, or DWI manslaughter, then more severe penalties will apply. If convicted of a first offense DWI, probation, also known as community supervision, is generally available in lieu of incarceration. The conditions of probation may include provisions for rehab evaluation, a DWI education program, and an ignition interlock device.

A second offense DWI is considered a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by a minimum of three days and up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000 if convicted. A third offense DWI is a third-degree felony and is punishable by two to ten years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000 if convicted. While community supervision may also be an alternative to incarceration, you will be required to serve mandatory days in jail upon conviction, and community supervision provisions may be more severe.

Potential Driver's License Suspensions and Surcharges

When you are arrested for DWI, your Texas Driver's license may be suspended through the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program. This potential suspension is completely independent of any criminal consequences. Through the ALR process, your drivers' license may be suspended for either failing a blood alcohol concentration test, which means that your BAC is .08 or above, or for refusing to take a BAC test. Unless you request an ALR Hearing within the first 15 days after you receive notice of license suspension for either failure of or refusal to submit to BAC testing, your license suspension will automatically begin 40 days from the time the notice is served to you --usually the date of your arrest. The length of the suspension is generally 90 days for a failure and 180 days for a refusal. However, if there are previous alcohol contacts that can be seen on your driving record, the suspension can be enhanced to 1 year for a failure and 2 years for a refusal. If an ALR hearing is requested on your behalf, though, then the suspension is not automatic, and only an administrative law judge can suspend your driver's license after a proper hearing has been held.

Another possible driver's license suspension is for conviction of DWI. This suspension is independent of an ALR suspension. (Do we want to elaborate here at all and explain that suspension due to conviction is not eligible for an ALR hearing?)Additionally, the Texas Department of Public Safety will assess surcharges for 3 years as listed below:

Type of Charge

Surcharge
*per year for 3 years

DWI-1st Offense
(Texas or out-of-state conviction)

$1,000

DWI- Subsequent Offense
(Texas or out-of-state conviction)

$1,500

DWI w/ BAC of 0.16 or higher
(Texas or out-of state conviction)

$2,000

As you can glean from this brief overview, the law and its penalties can be complicated and severe. Don't try to handle it alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney can guide you through the legal system, fight the charges against you, and achieve the best possible outcome for your particular case. Under Texas criminal law, a police officer must prove that there was reasonable suspicion for you to be stopped and probable cause for your arrest. The State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving while intoxicated. My first goal will be to try to get the charges against you dismissed by possibly challenging the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Among others, the challenges may address the reason that the police made contact with you, proper administration of field sobriety testing, the officer's probable cause to arrest you, accuracy of breath testing equipment (if applicable), certification of breath testing equipment operators (if applicable), and proper advisement of your rights regarding the breath test.

Throughout the process, I will be dedicated to your case. I will make sure that you are treated fairly, that you are guided through the process, and that you understand your options.

Contact me immediately for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

Call 512.777.1394. Email maryann@DefenseAttorney-Austin.com.