A DWI charge is a very serious criminal offense. A conviction means the loss of freedom and driving privileges. The fines and costs are substantial. The insurance premiums for convicted drivers, if insurance is available, will dramatically increase. Subsequent convictions usually increase the jail time, fines, and costs dramatically.
Why a DWI Offense is So Serious
Standard penalties for a DWI conviction in Texas are:
- Prison. For just a first offense, a conviction will result in 3 days to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. A second conviction is 30 days plus a fine up to $4,000. A third conviction is 2-10 years in jail plus a fine up to $10,000. Unlike other states which review how many convictions you have in a ten-year period or some defined length, Texas has no look-back period
- Loss of license. A first DWI means the driver will lose his/her license for anywhere between 90 days and 365 days. For a second or third DWI, the loss of driving privileges is 180 days to two years.
- IID device. An IID device is an interlock ignition device. The device tests if the driver is intoxicated before the car can start. Anyone convicted of a second or third offense must use an IID device or their vehicles for up to one year.
Ways a Skilled DWI Attorney Fights for Clients
Defendants are entitled to hire an attorney to defend them. Skilled DWI lawyers can often help the defendant:
Challenge the Reasonable Suspicion to Stop
A police officer cannot stop every driver and force the driver to undergo field sobriety tests and a chemical test. The officer needs to have a reasonable suspicion that a traffic offense occurred or that the driver was operating the vehicle while intoxicated. For example, a driver who is constantly swerving and speeding can be pulled over. A driver who is obeying all the traffic laws and driving properly for traffic conditions should not be pulled over.
Contest Breath, Blood, or Urine Test
Drivers in Texas give their implied consent to allow a police officer to conduct a breath test after a DWI arrest and to allow a medical professional to conduct a blood or urine test. Drivers who have a .08 blood alcohol content are presumed guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. If the driver is under 21 years-of-age, then the BAC limit is a very low .02.
A DWI defense will examine if the police officer was properly trained to use the breathalyzer test, if the medical professional was properly trained to give another chemical test, and if the test results were properly interpreted. A skilled lawyer will contest whether the breathalyzer test was properly inspected, validated, and scientifically accurate.
In some cases, a lawyer can show that the defendant had a legitimate reason for having some alcohol in his/her system. The DWI attorney may argue that the test was not given in a timely manner. A lawyer can argue that the police officer failed to inform the driver that a failure to submit to a chemical test could be used in court.
Assert Constitutional Rights
Defendants who are arrested have the right to be told that they do not have to give statements that incriminate themselves and that they have a right to a lawyer. Defendants are entitled to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and have the right to due process.
Negotiate a Fair Plea Agreement
Experienced DWI attorneys can sometimes negotiate a plea agreement so that the driver is charged with reckless driving, just a traffic offense, or not charged at all.
The lawyer can assert these defenses in different ways including filing a Motion to Suppress improperly obtained or illegal evidence, through negotiations with the prosecution, at the trial of the case (often through effective cross-examination), and on appeal to higher courts.
Call Scott M. Brown & Associates Today
To speak with a strong Texas DWI advocate, please call the criminal defense attorneys at Scott M. Brown & Associates at 281-972-4386. Our law offices are located in Angleton, League City and Pearland.