Texas first offense DWI lawyerIf you have been pulled over by the police on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), you may rightfully be nervous. You will be asked to perform a series of tests to determine whether you are impaired. While the tests do not have perfect accuracy, they can determine intoxication most of the time. It is important to know the penalties that you may face following a first-time DWI and hire a trusted attorney who can help fight for a reduced sentence or dropped charges.

Failing or Refusing a Chemical Test

The first penalty that you may face is an Administrative License Revocation (ALR). If a post-arrest chemical test to determine your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) shows a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, you will have your driver’s license suspended for 90 days. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC, you are facing a 180-day driver’s license suspension. Losing your license through an ALR is separate from any additional criminal penalties that you may face.

Additional Criminal Penalties for a First-Time DUI in Texas

If you are charged with a first-time DWI offense, you are facing a Class B misdemeanor. Under Texas law, the penalties could be as high as 180 days in jail, $2,000 in fines, or both. However, judges will often grant first-time offenders community service or probation following a guilty plea or verdict, which will allow them to resume their daily activities. Community service requirements include:

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San Antonio DUI defense lawyer Driving while intoxicated by alcohol is a criminal offense in all fifty states, but states vary in terms of criminal penalties. In Texas, a first-time DWI offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000, loss of driving privileges, and jail time. Texas is unique in that, unlike many other states, there is a minimum jail sentence for DWI even if the offender has never been arrested for drunk driving in the past. Penalties for second and third drunk driving convictions are punished more severely and penalties may include months or years in prison.  

If you were charged with drunk driving in Texas, contact a criminal defense lawyer for help. Your attorney can evaluate your situation and determine which defense strategies are most likely to yield favorable results in your case.  

Possible Defenses to Drunk Driving Charges in Texas

Each case is different and there is no foolproof way to defend against DWI charges. Some of the possible defense strategies a DWI defense attorney may have at their disposal include:

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san antonio dwi defense lawyerWhen a police officer makes personal contact during a drunk driving investigation, they will ask you questions like: Where are you coming from? What were you doing there? Where are you headed? This line of questioning is often used by police if they suspect that you were driving while intoxicated

Over time, many police notice patterns with bars where patrons like to get drunk, their hours of operation, and an area nearby where you might violate a traffic law. Many wonder whether this type of strategic planning is considered “entrapment.” 

Armchair experts who have watched a few police procedurals and legal dramas might say that this type of behavior is entrapment, but realistically, this is just targeted enforcement. Police identify an area rife with illegal activity and respond to it accordingly. So, what is entrapment then?

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texas dwi defense lawyerWhen a police officer conducts a driving while intoxicated (DWI) investigation, they rarely rely on a single clue to determine whether or not you have been drinking, but rather they consider the totality of the circumstances. Officers are looking for signs of drunk driving from the moment they initiate the traffic stop until the moment you are released from their custody. Understanding the evidence police may use to justify a DWI arrest can help you build a strong defense against DWI charges.

Clues Officers Look for During a DWI Investigation

This particular stage of a DWI investigation is called “personal contact,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. At this point, an officer opens up all his or her senses and takes mental notes on what he or she sees, hears, and smells. 

The officer will likely first scrutinize your appearance by looking at your eyes to if they are bloodshot, listen to your voice for slurred speech, and leaning in to smell your breath. The officer will also note your physical and verbal actions. He or she will watch for a loss or lack of coordination like shaky hands or furtive movements, and listen for abusive language or unusual statements. 

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san antonio DWI defense lawyerBeing pulled over by the police can be a scary occurrence. It can become even more uncomfortable if the police have a suspicion that you have been driving while intoxicated (DWI). If the police do think you may have been drinking, they will likely ask you to perform a series of tests to determine if you are impaired or not. These tests are not always precise and only work correctly to determine impairment most of the time, rather than all of the time. If you have been arrested for DWI, you do not have to panic, but you should know what to expect from the next steps in the process.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR)

The first thing you should know is that you might lose your license through an administrative process, separate from any criminal penalties you may also face. The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process goes into effect if you refuse to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) or fail the chemical test by having a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. A first offense of failing a chemical test results in a 90-day driver’s license suspension, while a first offense of refusing a chemical test results in a 180-day driver’s license suspension.

Potential Criminal Penalties

In addition to any administrative penalties you may be facing, you may also be facing criminal penalties. A first-time DWI offense in Texas is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, which comes with the possibility of up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, or both. With many first-time offenders, judges tend to sentence them to probation or community supervision. Community supervision is the ideal sentence for a guilty DWI plea or verdict. Community supervision allows the offender to serve their sentence while they go about their daily life. As long as they comply with requirements, they will receive a discharge for the DWI offense at the end of the supervision period. The requirements include attending an evaluation to determine whether or not rehabilitative care for a drug and/or alcohol problem is necessary. If a drug or alcohol dependency is apparent, the offender will need to attend rehabilitative services.  An offender must also participate in a 12-hour DWI education program. If the offender wants to drive with an occupational license, he or she will need to have ignition interlock devices on all of his or her vehicles.

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Office

Bexar County

In the historic King William District

1011 S. Alamo,
San Antonio, Texas 78210
210-226-0965
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