DWI Lawyer Arlington, TX
Texas has some of the toughest driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws in the country. A conviction comes with life-altering consequences that can make work and family relationships difficult. Defending these charges is often time-pressured and challenging, making this an area of the law that definitely does not fall under the do-it-yourself category.
DWI is not your typical criminal defense case. There is no plea bargaining on DWI in Texas: Only acquittal or prosecution. A dedicated DWI defense lawyer can increase your chances of acquittal or at least find ways to make your sentence more bearable.
What is a DWI Charge
When it comes to alcohol use, a defendant is considered intoxicated with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. This is a “per se” rule where any individual who blows this number into a breathalyzer is presumed intoxicated. It is the minimum standard for alcohol intoxication for most states, including Texas.
For minors, Texas has a zero tolerance BAC limit of 0.02. If a defendant produces a BAC of 0.15 or more, enhanced penalties could be added to the charge. The charge may be upgraded from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A.
This picture becomes murky in cases where the intoxication results from drugs other than alcohol. Intoxication under Texas Penal Code 49.01 has a very broad definition: “not having the normal use of mental of physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of these substances, or any other substance in the body.” As a fairly subjective standard, many people may have a different perception of what constitutes abnormal mental or physical functions. The lack of a per se standard has its advantages and disadvantages. It could be easy to defend, however; it can also lead to arbitrary charges against people who were not actually impaired.
Texas is also an implied consent state. This means that when a driver is suspected of driving while intoxicated, they give consent for field sobriety and breathalyzer tests by virtue of being granted a driver’s license. Refusing a test will give a defense attorney more grounds to dispute your charges, however, that action may result in additional penalties.
What are Texas DWI Penalties
Depending on your previous record, a DWI conviction carries at least a license suspension, time in jail, and a fine. These are normally misdemeanor crimes unless you committed multiple violations or blow a BAC of 0.15.
If your first offense is a 0.08 BAC, you will face a Class B misdemeanor. Jail time will be 72 hours minimum with that increasing to six days if there was an open container in the vehicle. License suspension will occur for at least 90 days and you may be subject to alcohol assessment, education, and treatment. Fines will not exceed $2,000.
Second offenses rise to a Class B misdemeanor. Assuming you blew a 0.08 BAC, you will face a minimum of 72 hours in jail but no more than 180 days of confinement. License suspension occurs for at least one year. If you blew a 0.15 or above, you are automatically in this Class B territory, even if it is your first DWI offense. The fine ceiling increases to $4,000.
A third offense is a 3rd Degree Felony. This is where your penalties will become quite serious. Jail time will range from two to 10 years and your license will often be suspended up to two years. Fines are possible up to $10,000.
There are circumstances that can add to these penalties. DWI with a child passenger is generally convicted as a felony, no matter your previous convictions. The open container penalty mentioned earlier only applies to first offenses, however it can cause further difficulties.
Other requirements imposed during sentencing could include an ignition interlock device as well. These devices require that you blow for alcohol content before your vehicle can start. The expense for installing these devices will fall to you if you wish to continue driving.
DWI Defense Strategy
Defending an alcohol DWI can be difficult with the per se standards. In these cases, defense attorneys frequently address conduct upon arrest and breathalyzer accuracy. While suspension is mandated, it can also be disputed. The deadlines on contesting suspension are very tight but if challenged successfully, you can be free to drive or secure an occupational license so you can at least drive for employment reasons.
When the DWI involves other drugs, it can be a fight on proving intoxication since there is usually no standard other than what is observed. There is no scientific certainty with these charges of when someone is impaired. As mentioned earlier, these are easier to defend but also pose their specific challenges.
Contact a DWI Lawyer Arlington, TX Trusts
No matter the nature of your charges and the possible consequences, DWI accusations require rigorous and dedicated legal representation. You also need to retain an attorney as soon as possible to avoid or reduce license suspension and meet strict court deadlines. To make an appointment with the Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, call toll free at (817) 841-9906. You can also complete our online intake form.