If you get arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), you could face several penalties if convicted, such as fines, jail time, and license suspension. These penalties vary in severity based on whether this is your first DWI offense or a repeated offense. However, you might be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced with the help of a lawyer.
DWI is a serious offense in the state of Texas. It should not be taken lightly, regardless of if it is your first, second, or third offense. A DWI charge and conviction can completely turn your life upside down. Each DWI case is unique. Even if you did the exact same thing as someone else, your case may still be completely different based on your past, the arresting officer, the judge, and the prosecution. Your lawyer may also play a significant role in whether you get charged and convicted on your first DWI.
Having a lawyer by your side throughout this process might help you avoid a conviction. If convicted, your DWI may be permanently sealed in your driving record, so you might want to consider hiring a lawyer to help you avoid staining your future and facing other serious penalties.
A Lawyer Can Help You Fight Against Penalties and Protect Your Rights
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you could be charged with a DWI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is greater than 0.08 percent. Some states have “sobriety checkpoints,” which allow police officers to stop vehicles briefly to determine if the driver is impaired. However, sobriety checkpoints are not allowed in the state of Texas.
When you are charged with a DWI for the first time, it will most likely be classified as a Class B misdemeanor. As stated by the Texas Attorney General, a Class B misdemeanor can have the following penalties:
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A fine of up to $2,000
- License suspension of up to 1 year
Even if you were pulled over and charged with a DWI, you might be able to avoid conviction. In Texas, you cannot operate a vehicle in a public space if you are intoxicated. A police officer may pull you over because you were swerving or if you violated traffic laws. If they feel as though you are intoxicated, they may ask you to take a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test. While you can refuse to take a breathalyzer test, doing so might result in a suspension of your license.
To be convicted of a DWI, a prosecutor must prove:
- You were impaired from the normal use of physical or mental abilities because of alcohol, drugs, or other substances.
- You had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more.
Just because you are suspected of a DWI does not mean you will be convicted. It can be confusing to understand what happens when you get your first DWI in Texas. Many people assume they do not have a chance when it comes to DWI charges in Texas. However, you have the right to fight these charges. With the help of an attorney, you might be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
Charges Might Be Enhanced if You Are Found Guilty of Other Offenses
Even if it is your first DWI charge, the penalties could be increased under certain circumstances. While a first DWI charge is usually a Class B misdemeanor, it might be increased to a felony under the following circumstances:
Injury or Fatal Accident
You might be charged with a felony if you caused an accident that resulted in an injury or a fatality while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition, your record cannot be sealed if you are convicted.
Child in the Car
If you are charged with a DWI, and you had a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle with you, you could be charged with a felony.
If you get charged with a felony, you could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If you are convicted, you might face additional obstacles throughout your life due to your conviction. Even once you are out of prison, you might struggle with:
- Finding employment
- Finding housing
- Fighting for custody if you have children
- Keeping your professional license
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to Hire a Lawyer
A DWI lawyer can walk you through what happens when you get your first DWI in Texas. They can also help fight for your rights and fight to avoid conviction. While it can be a complicated and confusing process, the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can help protect your rights and simplify the process for you.
Just because you were charged with a DWI does not mean you have to plead guilty. You might be able to fight against the charges. If you were charged with your first DWI, call our team today at (214) 696-9253 to see what options you have available to you.