Despite what you may believe, even your first drunk driving conviction can have a significant effect on your life. Before you agree to enter a guilty plea or give a statement to the police, discuss your options with a first-offense DWI lawyer in Allen, TX.
DWI attorney Randall Isenberg has more than 35 years of experience in the Texas criminal justice system. Let our legal team put this insight to work on your behalf.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation and case review. Call now at 214-696-9253.
A First-Offense DWI Conviction in Allen, TX, Carries Harsh Penalties
Despite what you may hear from the prosecutor, even your first drunk driving conviction will negatively affect your life.
You face charges potentially ranging from a Class B misdemeanor to a first-degree felony, depending on the circumstances of your case.
The potential penalties for each category of criminal DWI charge are as follows:
|Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 6 months in jail||Up to $2,000 in fines|
|Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in jail||Up to $4,000 in fines|
|Third-Degree Felony||2 to 10 years in prison||Up to $10,000 in fines|
|Second-Degree Felony||2 to 20 years in prison||Up to $10,000 in fines|
|First-Degree Felony||5 to 99 years in prison||Up to $10,000 in fines|
The prosecutor determines which level of charges you face based on the following factors:
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
- Aggravating factors in your case
If you registered a BAC of 0.08 to 0.149, you likely face a Class B misdemeanor for your first offense. If your BAC was 0.15 or above, the charge elevates to a Class A misdemeanor.
Even if your blood alcohol registered below 0.15, you will face the more serious charge if either of these aggravating factors were present:
- A minor child (age 14 or younger) in the car
- An open container of alcohol in the car
If you caused an accident while driving drunk, especially if you caused an injury or fatality, you face third-degree felony charges and potentially additional charges as well.
You will also potentially face some or all of the following:
- Court costs and fees
- Community supervision (supervised probation)
- Community service
- Substance abuse treatment or counseling
- Ignition interlock requirement for your vehicle
And, once you have even a single DWI conviction, you have a permanent criminal record visible to anyone who runs a background check on you. This can interfere with your ability to get a job, rent a home, obtain or hold a professional license, or get a student loan.
A First-Offense DWI Can Also Cost Your Driver’s License
In addition to the penalties noted above, you also stand to lose your driver’s license for up to a year.
When the police arrest you for drunk driving, they confiscate your driver’s license and issue a temporary permit to drive, pending a DMV hearing for license suspension. This hearing, known as the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, is your only chance to argue against the suspension of your license.
If you fail to schedule a hearing, the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) suspends your license automatically. Even if you do attend the hearing to argue against license suspension, the judge may still elect to suspend your license.
After your license suspension period ends, you must pay an annual surcharge of up to $2,000 for three years to keep your license active and in good standing.
How a First-Offense DWI Lawyer Can Help You
If you agree to plead guilty at the prosecutor’s urging, you may well avoid spending time in jail. This is the carrot the prosecutor usually dangles for first-time DWI offenders because it is the one aspect of punishment most people fear most.
You may not realize you still face the rest of the penalties that come with a drunk driving conviction.
When you trust a DWI lawyer from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, you benefit in the following ways:
- We protect your legal rights
- We identify potential flaws in the prosecution’s case
- We negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduction or dismissal of charges
Not only will our legal team represent you in all court appearances, but we also represent you at the ALR driver’s license suspension hearing. This gives us access to the prosecutor’s evidence and assists us in building a strong case for your defense.
Potential First-Offense DWI Defense Strategies
The legal team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg builds your defense case based on our investigation of your case and a detailed analysis of the evidence.
Some of the most common—and effective—defense strategies we use include:
No Reasonable Suspicion for a Traffic Stop
The police must establish reasonable suspicion that you have broken the law before they can stop your car. Simply seeing you leave the bar does not meet this standard. If they did not have reasonable suspicion, we may successfully have your stop declared unlawful.
No Probable Cause for Arrest
Once the police pull your car over, they must have probable cause to believe you were legally intoxicated before placing you under arrest. They may use field sobriety testing or a portable breathalyzer to establish probable cause. However, both methods have many potential flaws. Our legal team can dispute probable cause and potentially have any subsequent evidence disallowed.
Challenging BAC Testing Results
Chemical testing for BAC appears scientific and irrefutable. However, both breath and blood testing for BAC can produce false-positive results that could send you to jail in error. Our legal team has many options for challenging both breathalyzer and blood test methods and results.
The prosecutor must meet a high burden of proof to obtain a conviction. If we can demonstrate weaknesses in his case, the prosecutor may be willing to negotiate a reduction or dismissal of your charges. Or, if we decide to make your case in court, we can use these factors to introduce reasonable doubt.
Free Case Review for First-Offense DWI in Allen, TX
Before you make any decisions about your case, be sure you understand your options. The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg offers a free, no-obligation case review with a member of our legal team, to help you make an informed decision about your future.
To see how a first offense DWI lawyer in Allen can help you, contact us today at 214-696-9253.