When you have been charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas, you may have many pressing questions, one of which is: If I am convicted, will I be sentenced to jail? Your aim is to avoid conviction, but what are your options if a conviction seems unavoidable? The good news is that many DWI convictions end in probation instead of jail time. Probation has its own limitations, such as travel restrictions and not being allowed to consume alcohol. However, many people prefer this to the alternative of spending months in jail. What is the likelihood that you would receive probation if you are convicted for your DWI charge? The answer depends on many factors:
Is This Your First DWI?: Though Texas law does allow a jail sentence for a first-time DWI, the judge is more likely to be lenient if this is your first offense with no aggravating factors. The hope is that this was a one-time lapse in judgment and that the terms of your probation would mitigate the risk of you repeating the offense. A second or third DWI conviction suggests a pattern of behavior, and the judge is more likely to require you to spend some time in jail or prison.
How Far Were You Over the Legal Limit?: A driver is considered legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.08 percent. However, being charged with DWI with a BAC of 0.15 or greater is a more serious offense, even if it is your first DWI. The maximum jail sentence increases from six months to one year, and the judge may view the higher level of intoxication as requiring stricter punishment.
Was Anyone Hurt or Killed?: A DWI accident that results in an injury or fatality will be upgraded to a more serious charge. An injury would be intoxication assault, a third-degree felony that could result in two to 10 years in prison. A fatality would be intoxication manslaughter, a second-degree felony that could result in two to 20 years in prison. Each charge could be upgraded further if the person injured or killed was an on-duty first responder.
Was a Child in Your Vehicle?: A DWI charge can also be upgraded if you had a passenger who was younger than 15. DWI with a child passenger is punishable by six months to two years in jail.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer
How you present your defense in your DWI case will determine whether you are convicted and how severe the penalties will be if you are convicted. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock will work to get you the best possible outcome in your case. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.
You will occasionally see news stories about a person who was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after police found him or her driving the wrong way on a highway exit ramp. Driving the wrong way on a road is dangerous but not a serious offense by itself. In Texas, it is a traffic violation with a fine of as much as $200. You would need to commit the offense four times within a year in order for your driver’s license to be suspended. If prosecutors charge you with reckless driving, the maximum jail sentence upon conviction would be 30 days. However, driving the wrong way on a road could hurt your defense against a DWI charge in several ways:
You Are Conspicuous: In order to conduct a DWI stop, a police officer must have reason to believe that you are committing a traffic violation or are a danger to yourself or others. Driving the wrong way on a road qualifies as both. Even if a police officer is not there to witness it, other drivers will notice and likely report it. Authorities sometimes set up traffic cameras at highway exit ramps in order to identify people who drive the wrong way. If you are identified as the driver, you will have a difficult time claiming that the stop was not justified.
You Appear Disoriented: There is no plausible reason to drive the wrong way down a road or exit ramp. The officer who stops you will assume that you are either intoxicated or very confused. Starting with that bias, the officer may easily interpret your appearance or behavior as signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If your case goes to trial, the prosecution will use the fact that you were driving the wrong way to argue that your judgment was impaired.
There Is Greater Risk of an Accident: Driving the wrong way can result in a head-on collision with serious or fatal injuries to both parties. You could be charged with intoxication assault if someone was injured in the accident or intoxication manslaughter if someone died. Both are felony charges that carry mandatory prison time and a fine of as much as $10,000 if you are convicted.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Attorney
There are ways to defend yourself if you are accused of a DWI after you were driving the wrong way on a road. You could contest whether prosecutors can prove that it was your vehicle or claim that you were confused but not intoxicated. A San Antonio DWI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can contest the charges against you. To schedule a free consultation, call 888-726-5625.
Being convicted for possession of an open alcohol container in the passenger area of a vehicle is essentially a traffic ticket if there are no other related charges. In Texas, it is a class C misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of as much as $500. However, an open alcohol container charge is sometimes coupled with a driving while intoxicated charge. Having an open alcohol container is an aggravating factor in a DWI case and may increase your punishment if you are convicted.
What Is an Open Container?
An open alcohol container is any receptacle holding alcohol that shows signs of being used. This includes when:
Driving without a valid driver’s license is a relatively minor charge in Texas when compared to driving while intoxicated. Driving with a suspended license is more serious, but a first-time offense will not result in jail time unless there are other factors. Combining this charge with a DWI charge is more consequential for defendants. The penalties for driving without a license or with a suspended license will still seem light when compared to a DWI conviction. However, this minor charge can hurt your defense against your DWI charge because it makes you seem irresponsible.
Driving Without a License
Being charged with driving without a driver’s license is less severe than being charged with driving with a suspended license. Driving without a license may occur if you:
The Law Offices of Sam H. Lock, with offices in San Antonio and Seguin, Texas, provides criminal defense representation for people charged with state and federal crimes throughout Texas and the United States, including San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Midland, Pecos, Waco, Hondo, New Braunfels, Laredo, Kerrville, San Marcos, Boerne, and Del Rio, Bexar County, Guadalupe County, Comal County, Wilson County, Gonzales County, Kendall County, Bandera County, Caldwell County, Hays County, Travis County, Medina County, Blanco County, Burnet County, Atascosa County, Live Oak County, Nueces County, Uvalde County.