DWI / Intoxication Cases—That’s All I Do

First DWI Consequences

First DWI offenses without any other aggravating circumstances are class B misdemeanors in Texas. The maximum punishment is 180 days in jail, a $2,000.00 fine and an additional statutory state fine of $3,000.00. You can also receive up to two years probation.

Aggravating factors increase the maximum punishment for a first DWI. For example:

DWI .15: If you are arrested for a first DWI and the State of Texas alleges your alcohol concentration was .15 or more, then your offense is increased from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor. The maximum punishment is 365 days in jail, a $4,000.00 fine, and an additional statutory fine of up to $6,000.00.

DWI 1st with open container: Having an open container in your vehicle increases your minimum possible jail time in a first DWI. You can receive from 6 to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000.00 fine, and an additional statutory fine of up to $3,000.00.

DWI with a child under 15 in the vehicle: Your first DWI will be a state jail felony offense if you are accused of having a child under 15 years of age in the vehicle at the time you were driving. State jail felonies require a sentence of from 180 days to 2 years in the state jail and up to a $10,000.00 fine. It is possible for the jail sentence to be suspended and you could be placed on probation up to 10 Years.

Will I go to jail for a first DWI in Texas?

It is unlikely that you will go to jail for your first DWI conviction.

What are the conditions of a DWI probation?

If you are convicted of a DWI and receive probation, there will be many conditions required as a part of that probation. These conditions change from court to court and from county to county. However, the most common conditions require you to report to a probation officer, do community service, attend various DWI education classes, abstain from alcoholic beverages and have an interlock device installed in your vehicle for at least one-half of your probation. You may also be required to attend AA, complete an outpatient drug and alcohol course, and in some cases complete an inpatient alcohol treatment program. A driver license suspension is also possible. in addition, you will need to receive approval from the court for any travel plans outside of Bexar County.

What is DWI in Texas?

Every state has their own definition of DWI. Texas law defines DWI in the Texas Penal Code Section 49.04:

(a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

(b) Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (d) and Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.

(c) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that at the time of the offense the person operating the motor vehicle had an open container of alcohol in the person’s immediate possession, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of six days.

(d) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

What are collateral consequences of a DWI conviction?

DWI convictions also carry many consequences outside of the criminal system, these are called collateral consequences. For example:

Your Driver License:

If convicted of a DWI, the Court will order your driver license suspended. The length of the suspension depends on your prior driving history and the facts of your DWI conviction. However, you also face the possibility of an automatic driver license suspension BEFORE you go to court on your DWI. That is called an administrative license revocation (ALR) suspension.

We can fight the ALR suspension. But, we must request that hearing no later than 15 DAYS from your arrest date. The ALR hearing is also one of the most important first steps in fighting a DWI case. Find out more information about ALR suspensions.

If convicted of a DWI and you have a commercial driver license your privilege to operate commercial vehicles will also be suspended.

General Employment:

A DWI conviction may cost you your job. This is true for many employees. There are major companies in San Antonio that terminate employment if you have a DWI conviction. Many smaller companies have similar policies. If you do not lose your job, you may have difficulty transferring within your company or finding new employment.

Professional Licenses and Security Clearances:

Professional licenses are required for many jobs. Accountants, Plumbers, Medical Professionals, Electricians, Barbers, and many other occupations require state licensure. In fact, there are 49 licensing agencies in Texas. Each license has different requirements and you may have difficulty obtaining or keeping your professional license with a DWI conviction. Many people in the San Antonio area are in the armed forces or work for the government. A DWI conviction will complicate and may end your military or government career. It may threaten your security clearance, and could become a black mark on your work record. However, an experienced DWI attorney can do to help you minimize or avoid these consequences altogether.

Can DWI cases be beaten?

DWI cases can be fought at trial and won. See examples here. DWI cases can be dismissed. See examples here. DWI cases can even be reduced to other offenses as well.

If you have been charged with a DWI offense, you need help. If you have questions about a DWI case or how I can help you, please call me at 210.667.3520. I’ll be glad to talk with you.

What are the consequences of a third DWI in Texas?

If you have ever been convicted of driving while intoxicated twice and you are then arrested for a new DWI, you will be charged with a third degree felony. The State of Texas will review your entire criminal history. There is no longer a limitation that the previous DWI conviction s must be within 10 years of this new arrest. The range of punishment without any other aggravating factors, is not less than 2 years or more than 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. Felony DWI cases can be dismissed or reduced. However, it is critical to begin working on your case as soon as possible.

If you have a previous felony conviction, a jury cannot give you probation. If you have been to prison once before, the maximum prison sentence is increased to 20 years. If you have been to prison two or more times before this arrest, you will be treated as a habitual offender. The minimum sentence is 25 years and the maximum sentence is life.

However, even under habitual circumstances, it is still possible to avoid prison. There are situations where the arrest was the result of an illegal stop, where the evidence is insufficient to prove driving or intoxication. However, even where the State’s case sees very strong, it is still possible to avoid prison.

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