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Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

DWI- Is an offense committed when a person operates a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated.

Intoxication- Is a state in which a person does not have the normal use of their mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, a drug whether illicit or prescribed or any combination of those substances into their bodies.  It also means having a blood alcohol level concentration of 0.08 or more which may be detected using a breath, blood or urine specimen.  


 What can happen to me?

The long term effects of a DWI conviction can be severe but not something that you cannot overcome.  A first DWI is considered a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable for up to 1 year in county jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000.00. Additionally, as with all DWI, a surcharged known as the Texas Driver Responsibility Tax is assessed at a $1000.00 per year for the 3 years following the conviction.  If you are convicted of DWI then you will have it permanently on your criminal record.  As of today in the Counties’ in the DFW area no diversion program is offered for first time offenders charged with DWI and deferred adjudication is not an option.


Do I Need an Attorney?

 When you are arrested for DWI, timing becomes critical. Certain deadlines will kick in the moment you are placed under arrest and you will potentially lose out on some opportunities if you do not have legal representation promptly.  Not only are you dealing with the criminal aspects of the arrest and charge but you also have civil issues that arise concerning your driver’s license.  The criminal charges will generally require your appearance in court and you and your attorney will negotiate the terms of a plea bargain or set your case for trial and challenge the State’s evidence and witnesses.  Civilly you will have the opportunity to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing (ALR) within 15 days of your arrest.  If you refuse or fail a breath, blood, or urine test then your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for a period of times UNLESS you make a written request for the ALR hearing to challenge the suspension.

Punishment Ranges

Offense

Confinement

Fine

1st offense DWI Class B Misdemeanor

Up to 180 days County Jail

Up to $2,000

2nd offense DWI Class A Misdemeanor

Up to 365 days County Jail

Up to $4,000

DWI 3 or more Third Degree Felony

2 to 10 years in the Penitentiary

Up to $10,000

 

FAQs About DWI


Can I be charged with a DWI if I've only had a couple of drinks?

It is not against the law to drive after having a drink or even a few drinks.  It is illegal to drink and drive a motor vehicle after you have lost the normal use of your mental and physical faculties due to alcohol or other substance. Officers are trained to administer tests to help them determine whether they believe you have lost the normal use of your mental and physical faculties. They can also use a portable breathalyzer test to see if your blood alcohol level is a .08 or higher. Most of the tests also known as field sobriety tests are subjective and many “sober” people would have a difficult time completing them without “error”.


 Do I have to take the Field Sobriety Tests?

No. You have the right not to perform these tests. Officers look for clues in these tests as a part of their training in identifying an intoxicated individual. Again, these tests are subjective.  You are likely going to make mistakes.  You will be nervous, you may not be that coordinated to begin with, your attention may be somewhere else and you will be scared.  The circumstances that these tests will be administered to you will be less than ideal.   If you are asked to complete FST’s you are likely already suspected of driving while intoxicated and any “mistake” or error you make while performing these test will only “prove” to the officer that his/her suspicions are correct.


 Should I take a breath or blood test if arrested for DWI?

Generally the answer is "no", unless you've had absolutely nothing to drink.


 Won’t my license be suspended?

Yes. But there are provisions that would likely mean that you are entitled to an occupational driver’s license. This would allow you to take care of your normal daily duties and drive legally.


 How do I get an occupational driver's license (ODL)?

Our firm will take care of this process for you from drafting the petitions to appearing in court with you and providing you all of the tools you need to be successful.

This information is meant to be simply informative and not meant to be considered legal advice as each case varies. Please call the Flores Harbour Law Office today and speak with one of our attorneys for a free consultation.