Even a first offense DWI in Dallas carries harsh consequences that can negatively affect your life for years to come. A DWI conviction not only includes hefty fines and mandatory jail time, but also involves a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license.
Fortunately, a first offense DWI lawyer in Dallas, TX can help, by explaining all your options under the law and helping you choose the best option for you. Your attorney can defend you against the charges and help ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today to schedule your free consultation: 214-696-9253.
What is legally intoxicated under Texas law?
Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code lays out the state’s DWI laws.
Per the statute, you are legally intoxicated if your blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or more. However, an officer may deem you legally intoxicated any time you exhibit impairment, even if your BAC does not exceed the legal limit. This offense is a Class B misdemeanor charge.
However, if your BAC was 0.15 or more, the charge is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor. If you have a passenger under the age of 15 in your vehicle, you become eligible for a felony charge.
If you are between the ages of 17 and 21, Texas maintains a zero-tolerance policy. This means that any trace of impairment, from alcohol or drugs, constitutes illegal impairment. In this case, the officer may elect to charge you with either DWI or driving under the influence (DUI), a Class C Misdemeanor.
What are the penalties for a first offense DWI in Dallas?
In Texas, DWI fines and penalties are especially harsh, even for a first-time conviction.
A first offense DWI conviction carries:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A fine of up to $2,000
- Driver’s license suspension for up to 1 year (To reactivate and retain your license, you must pay a surcharge of $1,000 to $2,000 for 3 years.)
Depending on the details of your case, the state might also require you:
- Install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
- Perform community service
- Submit to community supervision or probation
- Attend DWI school or rehab
Exacerbating factors that may increase your penalties include:
- Having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle
- A BAC above 0.08
- Having a minor (a person under the age of 15) in the car with you
What are the options if charged with my first Texas DWI?
After charging you with your first DWI, the police and prosecutor may not give you a full explanation of your options. Because their job is to obtain a conviction in your case, you should never rely on their advice.
Although a DWI attorney can provide a comprehensive explanation of your options, most Dallas drunk driving charges go one of four ways. You can:
- Plead guilty to the original charges
- Enter a plea bargain
- Plead not guilty and go to trial
- Have your charges dismissed
Even if you are not convicted of DWI, an arrest for having alcohol or drugs in your bloodstream results in the confiscation of your license at the time of arrest. You may be able to get your license back, but you must do so quickly. You have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing to contest your suspension. The ALR is a civil administrative process separate from the criminal aspects of your case.
Unless you or your attorney requests the ALR hearing, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will automatically suspend your license for a period of 90 days to two years, depending on your driving history and the circumstances of your arrest.
How can I fight a DWI charge in Dallas?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might have a few options to fight your charges.
Fighting Sobriety Test Results
The NHTSA recommends three field sobriety test methods for use during a traffic stop for potential DWI. However, courts across the U.S. have found the results of these assessments to be unreliable in many cases.
Chemical testing for blood alcohol content may be similarly unreliable. Anyone who administers blood alcohol breath testing must comply with strict regulations established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS).
Texas Administrative Code establishes state-specific breath alcohol testing regulations. NHTSA standards detail the required testing procedures and acceptable instruments that law enforcement personnel must use. Your attorney may capitalize on any deviation from these standards for defending you against your charges.
In addition to questioning the accuracy of chemical testing for blood alcohol content or the reliability of field sobriety testing, your attorney may question whether the arresting officer had probable cause to stop you in the first place.
How can a DWI lawyer help me?
Because a DWI lawyer in Dallas has intimate knowledge of Texas drunk driving laws and regulations, he or she understands how the system works. Your lawyer is also familiar with the complexities of court system, and can help ensure that every aspect of your case is handled appropriately.
But, more important, a local DWI lawyer can review every detail of your arrest and the case pending against you, to identify potential areas of weakness.
By explaining the benefits and risks of all available options, your lawyer can help you determine the best approach for you. And, whatever direction you choose, your Dallas drunk driving attorney can build a strong case on your behalf, protecting your rights under the law.
Defend against your first DWI offense. Call Randall B. Isenberg today.
In Dallas, you have many DWI attorneys from which to choose. Since this is your first DWI arrest, choosing the right lawyer can significantly affect your future. Look for a local DWI attorney who will answer your questions and explain your options thoroughly. Look for a lawyer who is available on a flexible schedule and who will provide you with a free consultation and case review.
In Dallas, contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today to learn more, or to speak with a first offense DWI lawyer: 214-696-9253.