Fort Worth-Dallas DWI/DUI Attorney
Have you been arrested for DWI?
Being arrested for DWI can be a life-altering experience and cause trouble for you and your family for years to come. If convicted, then you will carry a permanent criminal record that can cause stress with friends and family, difficulties with securing and maintaining employment, and financial problems. Penalties for DWI in Texas are harsh, and offenders are aggressively prosecuted. Don’t let emotion and worry overwhelm you. Contacting a Fort Worth/Dallas DWI attorney could be of great help to you.
DWI/DUI Law in Texas
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are two different offenses in Texas. The charge of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is made when a person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. A person is considered “intoxicated” under Texas law if the person is determined to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more while operating a motor vehicle and/or is impaired by the loss of his/her normal use of mental or physical faculties because of the introduction of alcohol or drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. There are several different field sobriety tests that law enforcement use to determine if that level has been reached, and the timing and type of test can greatly influence the results and can lead to innocent people being arrested for DWI.
The charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is made when a person under the age of 21 (a minor) operates a motor vehicle in a public place or a watercraft “while having any detectable amount of alcohol” in his/her system. Someone 17 or older can be prosecuted as an adult for DWI if intoxicated or a DUI if any alcohol is detected. If under 17, then you can still be prosecuted for DUI; Texas law provides for the prosecution, conviction and punishment of juveniles who drink alcohol and drive.
Penalties for a DWI/DUI in Texas
If you are arrested for drinking and driving, then you face the possibility of steep fines, probation, community service, jail time and loss of your driving privileges. In addition, a DWI conviction on a person’s driving record can cause their motor vehicle insurance premiums to drastically increase or cost them their insurance all together.
Punishment in a Texas DWI Case
A first-time DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor, unless it is shown at trial that an analysis of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more, in which case the offense is a Class A misdemeanor. While a Class B misdemeanor conviction does not require that a defendant serve jail time, the law requires that someone convicted of DWI be confined in jail for at least 72 hours. If it is shown at trial that, at the time of the offense, the defendant had an open container of alcohol in his/her “immediate possession,” then the minimum jail sentence is six days. If a first time DWI offender receives probation instead of jail time, then there will probably be enhanced terms and conditions.
A Class B DWI conviction can also result in the defendant losing his/her driving privileges for up to a year and an annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain their driver’s license. A Class A misdemeanor DWI can mean the loss of driving privileges for up to 2 years and an annual fee of $1,500 to $2,000 for three years to retain your driver’s license
A second DWI (if the defendant has already been convicted of DWI once) is a Class A misdemeanor that requires a minimum jail term of 30 days, the loss of driving privileges for up to 2 years, and an annual fee of $1,500 to $2,000 for three years to retain your driver’s license. There will also be enhanced terms and conditions if a second-time DWI offender receives probation instead of jail time.
A third DWI conviction is a Third-Degree Felony that carries a fine not to exceed $10,000, 2 to 10 years in prison, the loss of driving privileges for up to 2 years, and an annual fee of up to $2,000 for three years to retain your driver’s license. If a three-time DWI offender receives probation instead of jail time, then there will be enhanced terms and conditions. If you are convicted of more than one DWI within a span of 5 years, then you will face mandatory installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device, at your own expense.
Punishment in a Texas DUI Case
In Texas, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs could result in jail time, fines and loss of driving privileges. DUI is a Class C misdemeanor, unless the defendant is a minor who is not a child and who has been previously convicted at least twice of DUI. If an individual charged with a DUI has 2 prior DUI convictions, then the offense is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor. In such a case, if the court assesses a fine, then the fine cannot be less than $500.00, whether or not the court also imposes a jail sentence. A first-time offense could also result in the suspension of your license for up to one year.
An arrest for DWI carries with it the risk of a loss of driving privileges. In addition to fines and possible jail time, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) may suspend an individual’s license. Upon a DWI arrest, you only have 15 days to request an administrative hearing to try to prevent your driver’s license from being suspended by the Texas DPS. For your first DWI arrest, you could face a license suspension of up to 180 days for refusing a breath test and 90 days for a failed breath test. A conviction for DWI will result in further suspension of driver’s license, if the sentence is not probated. A subsequent DWI conviction could result in a longer suspension. In the event of a felony DWI conviction, you will face substantially greater restrictions on your license, including the possibility of a driving restriction during bail. Even if someone convicted of a felony DWI is sentenced to community supervision (probation) instead of jail/prison, the license suspension could last the entire period of community supervision
DPS Administrative (ALR) Hearings
You have a constitutional right to a hearing before your driver’s license is suspended. Under Texas Law, these hearings are held by the State Office of Administrative Hearings. At the hearing, the DPS is required to prove the officer who stopped you had reasonable suspicion to stop and probable cause to believe that you were driving while intoxicated. We will work hard to defend your rights and protect your driving privileges before any suspension takes place. If at the hearing it is ordered that your license be suspended, then we will work to help you get an occupational license. An occupational license allows you to drive a non-commercial motor vehicle in connection with work, school-related activities or the performance of essential household duties. In the event that we believe that your license was unjustly taken away we may appeal the decision and fight the license revocation. If you do lose your license, however, then this does not necessarily mean that you cannot drive. Contact us to speak with a DWI defense lawyer and learn how we can help you get an occupational (essential needs) or work license.
If you have been arrested for DWI or DUI, then it is important to understand that the potential penalties of being convictions will vary depending on the facts of your case. If you’re facing DWI/DUI charges, then our firm wants to help. The Owens Law Firm can explain your situation, and we can get to work building a strong defense for you!
Building a Strong Drunk Driving Defense
There are many things that can go wrong when the police arrest somebody for DWI or DUI. The arresting officer might have pulled you over without reasonable suspicion. The officer may not administer the field sobriety tests correctly. A breathalyzer may give an inaccurate reading. The police might mishandle or fail to properly preserve the evidence. Whatever the case, if you are facing DWI or DUI charges in Tarrant or Dallas County, then you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer representing you. We know how to challenge field sobriety tests and protect our clients’ rights. If police violated your constitutional rights in executing the arrest or in submitting you to a blood draw without a proper warrant, then we will fight for a dismissal of charges. Considering the financial burdens and other costs of being convicted, the assistance of a DWI/DUI defense attorney can be a good investment.
How an Attorney Can Help
Letting your legal rights remain unprotected and risking your future livelihood simply isn’t worth it. If you have been arrested on drunk driving charges, then we will stand up for your rights. Contact us today by e-mail or by telephone at 817-334–7997 to speak with an experienced Fort Worth-Dallas DWI/DUI defense lawyer. The Owens Law Firm will fight to defend your rights and driving privileges and work hard to achieve the best outcome possible in your case.