Avoid License Suspension, Hefty Fines, and Increasing Insurance Rates
If you’ve been charged with a DWI in Texas, you’re dealing with significant concerns. You’re worried about losing your driver’s license, paying hefty fines, increasing insurance rates, and having a criminal record. Depending on your criminal history, you also may be concerned about time in jail or even prison. These tensions affect your family, your job, and your health. We want to help.
You don’t have to face the unknown alone. The best thing you can do for your case is call an attorney for a free consultation, so you can get answers to specific questions. Even during evenings and weekends, attorneys at Laviage Law are available to help. Email info-at-laviagelaw.com or call (832) 259-9095 for a free evaluation of your case and to schedule a hearing to keep your license.
If you’ve been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), you need a skilled Houston lawyer to protect your rights. Call The Law Office of Brian S. Laviage for a FREE consultation at (832) 259-9095 or Get Legal Help.
Is this your first DWI? Texas law now allows for an order of nondisclosure for first-time DWI offenders. Click to take the fast and free DWI Nondisclosure Eligibility Test.
Frequently Asked Questions about a DWI in Texas
Prior to your appointment, these answers to frequently asked questions may provide some helpful information:
I’ve been charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). What should I do first?
Every DWI has criminal and civil components. On the civil side, you face a driver’s license revocation, so it’s important to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing to challenge it. Your license will be automatically revoked in 40 days if you refused to give a breath or blood sample at the time of your arrest OR if your sample was over the legal limit.
IMPORTANT: Your request for an ALR hearing must be received by the Texas Department of Public Safety at its headquarters in Austin no later than 15 days after you receive (or are presumed to have received) notice of suspension or denial.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of consulting an attorney, but it’s also critical to seek rehabilitative help – the sooner, the better. The easiest place to start is a local AA meeting (Alcoholics Anonymous). AA meetings take place every day, several times a day, most likely in locations convenient to you. Dealing with any issue you may have with drugs or alcohol will not only help restore the trust of your family or workplace, but also increase your favor with a judge or court.
What about the criminal charge?
When arrested for a DWI, your criminal offense is classified in various ways, depending on your criminal history and/or the facts of the case. A summary of offenses is provided in the next section, but it’s best to call a qualified attorney to sort through a specific case.
What’s the definition of a DWI in Texas?
A DWI charge in Texas means that a driver operated a motor vehicle in a public place, or a watercraft, while under the influence of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance in your body, including alcohol concentration of:
- 0.08 for a driver over the age of 21
- 0.04 for a driver with a commercial driver’s license
- any detectable amount for a driver under the age of 21
In addition to alcohol concentration, however, “intoxication” also means “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties” because of controlled substances, drugs, dangerous drugs, or any combination thereof, according to the Texas penal code.
What are the positives and negatives of submitting to a blood or breath test?
Our attorneys usually recommend that drivers do not submit to a blood or breath test. Though your refusal will be admissible in a prosecution, it’s best to avoid providing scientific evidence of drugs in your system or an alcohol level higher than the legal limit. In addition, results of a breathalyzer test can be inaccurate, depending on the environment, your body, or issues with the technology.
Keep in mind, however, if you refused to give the specimen, you’re likely to lose your license for at least [180?] days (unless you prevail in the ALR hearing) or possibly much longer, depending on your criminal history.
Giving a specimen can be beneficial only if have not exceeded the legal limit. Remember, if you are younger than 21 years of age and have any detectable amount of alcohol in your system, your license is likely to be revoked or suspended. However, if you submit to a blood or breath test and an analysis of the specimen shows that you have an alcohol concentration of less than 0.08, you may be subject to less severe criminal penalties.
For those with a commercial driver’s license, you may be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a year or more if you refuse to provide a sample, or if your sample shows you have an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more.
DWI Penalties under Texas Law
When arrested for a DWI, your criminal offense is classified in various ways, depending on your criminal history and/or the facts of the case. The following is merely a summary and the details of a specific case are best sorted out by a qualified attorney. Please note that if you have been arrested with the charge of driving while intoxicated, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer to help reduce the severity of the punishments listed below.
First DWI Conviction in Texas
A first DWI conviction in the state of Texas is a class B misdemeanor with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours. There are a wide range of punishments available for first DWI convictions that are not limited to:
- A fine of up to $2,000;
- An annual fee of $1,000 to $2,000 for three years to keep a valid driver’s license;
- Driver’s license suspension of up to one year;
- Up to six months of confinement in a county jail;
- Completion of a 12-hour DWI Education Class within the first six months of conviction;
- 24 to 100 hours of community service.
An open-container in the driver’s immediate possession increases the minimum confinement term to six days. If a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 or more is measured through a blood analysis, urine analysis, or breath test, the conviction becomes a class-A misdemeanor under Texas law.
A qualified attorney competent in handling first DWI arrests is vital to ensuring that the arrest does not result in a conviction that is clearly capable of altering one’s life dramatically.
Second DWI Conviction in Texas
A second DWI conviction in the state of Texas is a class A misdemeanor with a minimum term of confinement of 30 days. Again, there are a wide range of punishments available for second DWI convictions that tend to double the penalties of first-time DWI convictions:
- A fine up to $4,000;
- $1,000 to $2,000 annual fee for three years to keep a valid driver’s license;
- 72 hours to one year of confinement in a county jail;
- Six months to two years of driver’s license suspension;
- 80 to 200 hours of community service;
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) which requires a deep lung air sample to be provided before the vehicle will start.
Courts tend to be harsher during DWI sentences for cases where there was an open-container in the driver’s immediate possession upon arrest, a crash with another vehicle occurred, or a crash that resulted in minor property damage. If there happened to be a minor (anyone under the age of fifteen) in the car at the time, the conviction becomes a felony. Other potential factors that could result in harsher sentences include a bad driving record, aggressive or careless traffic tickets, or resisting the officer during arrest.
Third DWI Conviction in Texas
A third DWI conviction in the state of Texas is a felony of the third degree. The potential punishments for a third DWI conviction are harsh:
- A fine up to $10,000;
- $1,000 to $2,000 annual fee for three years to keep a valid driver’s license;
- Two to ten years of confinement in the Texas State Prison system;
- Driver’s license suspension of up to two years;
- 160 to 600 hours of community service.
If you are facing a potential conviction for a third DWI in Texas, you have no time to waste; contact a competent Harris County DWI attorney immediately.
Harris County DWI Lawyers
Our Houston area lawyers are experienced in defending clients of drunk driving charges in all of Harris county. Being charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence requires skilled and experienced representation. Our attorneys will fight to keep your driver’s license, minimize fines, and keep a DWI off your record.