Being 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.