There are a few ways to have a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge lowered in a Texas court, and they include:
- You or a lawyer negotiating a plea for a lesser charge
- You or a lawyer requesting (also known as petitioning) that the court dismiss the charge
In certain cases, you may not be able to secure a plea deal that works for you, and the charges may not be dismissed (though these two outcomes are possible). A third option for getting a DWI lowered in Texas is to fight the charge in trial.
Explaining DWI Law in Texas
The term driving while intoxicated, commonly referred to by its acronym DWI, is the charge levied upon those who are found to be drunk or suspected of being drunk while operating a motor vehicle. In Texas, the basis for a DWI charge generally includes:
- You were operating a motor vehicle at the time of contract with a law enforcement officer
- You took a breathalyzer test or blood test that showed your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .08 or greater OR you refused to take such tests
- A law enforcement officer suspected that you were legally intoxicated, regardless of whether you consented to give a breath or blood sample
- A law enforcement officer suspected that you were under the influence of drugs other than alcohol while operating a motor vehicle
Whether you provided a breath or blood test that showed you were legally drunk at the time of your arrest or you refused such a test, you may be facing a charge of driving while intoxicated. In either case, you may have a chance at lowering the DWI charge. If you do not at least attempt to lower the charge, you could face serious consequences.
The Cost of a DWI Conviction
According to Section 49.04 of the Texas penal code, a first-time DWI conviction is a Class B misdemeanor. The Texas Politics Project asserts that if you are convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, then you could face:
- Up to 180 days (six months) in jail
- A fine of up to $2,000
- Suspension of your license for up to one year
There are several factors that could increase the severity of your DWI charge. For example, if you submitted a blood or breath sample that showed a BAC of .15 or higher, the DWI charge could escalate to a Class A misdemeanor. For a conviction of a Class A misdemeanor, you may face:
- A jail term of up to one year
- A fine of up to $4,000
- Suspension of your license for up to two years
If you have a child passenger in your vehicle at the time of your arrest, a conviction for DWI could be categorized as a felony. A felony conviction may result in:
- Between 180 days (six months) and two years in jail
- A fine of up to $10,000
If you get convicted of DWI, the costs levied by the court (both in terms of your potential incarceration and fines), are not going to be the extent of your conviction-related expenses. You may see additional costs from:
- Legal fees
- The cost of income you lost during your incarceration
- The cost of your reputation being damaged, which could result in difficulty gaining employment and housing, and paying higher insurance premiums
These consequences reinforce how important it is for you to attempt to have your DWI charge lowered.
What Contesting a DWI Charge Consists Of
The ability to have a DWI charge reduced or dismissed may depend on the strength of, (or lack of) evidence against you. Some factors that may be in your favor when attempting to lower your DWI charge may include that:
- You refused to submit to a breathalyzer test or blood sample
- You do not have prior convictions for DWI or other criminal charges
- You were respectful in your interactions with law enforcement
It is possible that actions by the arresting officer or officers in your case may affect whether you can have your DWI charge reduced or dismissed.
It is also possible that—regardless of the evidence in your case—a prosecutor and judge could show leniency and agree to reduce your charge. Some charges that may be offered as part of a plea agreement could include:
- Reckless driving
- Obstructing a highway or other passageway
Each of these offenses may carry less serious legal consequences than a DWI conviction.
A Lawyer Will Help You Fight Your DWI Charge
You may choose to have the assistance of a lawyer as you attempt to reduce your DWI charge. Some ways that a lawyer may assist you include:
- Corresponding with the prosecutor and judge in your case to negotiate a plea deal or dismissal
- If your case requires a trial, arguing your case for a not-guilty verdict to a jury or judge
- Providing advice and feedback throughout your legal ordeal
- Defending your rights
Call Our Team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Today
Your DWI charge could be a defining moment in your life. We will represent you and attempt to have your charge dismissed or lowered. Call our team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253 for a free consultation.