There are many penalties that you can face if you are convicted in Texas for driving while intoxicated. While prison time is a frightening possibility, the loss of your driving privileges is almost a given and may have a lasting effect on your life. Not being allowed to drive could cost you your job and leave you reliant on others for your basic transportation needs. A knowledgeable attorney can help you regain your driving privileges and guide you through the license reinstatement process once you are eligible.
How Long Might You Lose Your License?
The driver’s license suspension that you receive after a DWI conviction is a criminal penalty that is separate from the administrative license suspension that many people receive after being arrested on suspicion of DWI. In Texas:
A first-time DWI conviction includes a driver’s license suspension of 90 days to one year.
A second or third DWI conviction includes a driver’s license suspension of 180 days to two years.
A conviction for DWI with a child passenger in your vehicle can result in a suspension of as long as 180 days.
Following a DWI conviction, the time that your driver’s license was already suspended under the administrative penalty can be credited towards your criminal suspension.
When a person is charged with driving while intoxicated, there is a chance that they will be dissatisfied with the outcome of their court case. They may believe that they were unjustly convicted for the charge or unfairly punished after the conviction. Luckily, anyone who has been convicted of a crime in Texas has the right to file an appeal with a higher court. An appellate court has the authority to overturn a conviction or send the case back to the lower court for a new trial with new instructions.
When Should You Appeal?
Though you always have the option of appealing your conviction, you will need a strong argument if you hope to be successful in your appeal. When an appellate court considers your case, it is not retrying your case from the beginning. Your appeal must explain how the lower court misapplied the law in a way that may have affected the outcome of your case.
Common reasons for appealing a DWI conviction include:
Many people expected the number of arrests in Texas for driving while intoxicated to decrease this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a couple of factors that seem to logically point towards this:
Many restaurants and bars have been closed, which reduces the number of people driving home after drinking.
People are more likely to stay at home as a precaution to avoid infection.
News reports in the early months of the pandemic suggested that DWI arrest numbers had dropped, but it seems that was only a temporary effect. A recent story on DWI arrests in San Antonio claimed that the number of arrests from Jan. 1 to July 6 was down only four percent from the same period last year – 2,255 arrests in 2019 and 2,168 arrests in 2020.
Reasons Behind the Numbers
Why has the number of DWI arrests in Texas not decreased as people predicted? There are a few possible explanations:
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that restaurants are allowed to operate in Texas. The recent decision to close bars amid concerns about spreading the coronavirus has received attention, including protests by bar owners and employees. Texas had earlier enacted another change to how alcohol is sold when it allowed to-go alcohol sales from restaurants. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the waiver for to-go alcohol sales in order to help restaurants that could no longer serve dine-in customers. He has said that he will consider continuing the practice after the pandemic is over because of its popularity. However, to-go alcohol sales can potentially lead to drivers violating the open alcohol container laws and a charge of driving while intoxicated if they are not careful.
How Do To-Go Sales Work?
The waiver for to-go alcohol sales allows customers to purchase an alcoholic beverage as a carry-out order as long as:
They are purchasing the beverage along with food
The alcohol is in a sealed container while it is being transported
With the new rule, restaurants have been able to sell beer, wine, and kits to make your own mixed drinks at home. Despite the name, to-go alcohol sales do not allow you to take an alcoholic beverage in a to-go cup as you would with a non-alcoholic beverage.
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.