If you are wondering what to do after a DWI in Dallas, the first step is simple – call a DWI attorney. You will have court appearances and hearings soon, and you do not want to go into those without a lawyer at your side. Things can happen in those hearings that can negatively impact your case, so you do not want to try to deal with your intoxication offense charges like a DIY project.
In addition to hiring a Dallas DWI attorney, you should exercise your constitutional right to remain silent. You will likely have to provide your name and address and show your driver’s license and proof of insurance, but you should not make a statement or answer questions about anything else without having your lawyer present.
Consequences of a DWI Conviction
People who have not faced this situation before might not realize how harsh the penalties can be for a DWI conviction. They might view the charge like an ordinary traffic ticket for which they can pay a couple hundred dollars at court and go on with their lives as if nothing happened.
In reality, the penalties for a DWI conviction range from bad to much worse.
After a DWI conviction in Dallas, you can:
- Lose your license for between 6 months and 2 years
- Get ordered to attend alcohol safety school
- Have to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car
- Get sent to alcohol or drug rehab
Depending on the facts of your case, your DWI charge could be a misdemeanor or a felony. If this is your first DWI offense and there were no factors that could increase the charges, like someone getting injured or a child in your car, you will likely get charged with a Class B misdemeanor.
A Class B misdemeanor in Texas can carry these penalties in addition to the DWI fallout stated above:
- Going to jail for as many as 180 days;
- Paying a fine of up to $2,000; or
- Both jail time and a fine.
Felony convictions in Texas can come with these punishments, according to Section 12 of the Texas Penal Code:
- A person convicted of a third-degree felony could get sentenced to incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for at least 2 years and no more than 10 years and get assessed a fine of up to $10,000.
- A second-degree felony can carry penalties of between 2 and 20 years with a fine of as much as $10,000.
- A conviction of a felony in the first degree could send a person to prison for life or for a term between 5 and 99 years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Charges against you can be enhanced based on a number of factors, including having an open container of alcohol in your car or having a child passenger inside.
In addition, multiple-count convictions can compound the penalties. In other words, if two people have significant injuries because of a DWI collision, the impaired driver could get a total sentence of 20 years (two counts as 10 years each) and $20,000 in fines ($10,000 for each count).
The Benefits of Working with a DWI Lawyer in Dallas
With so much at stake, you do not want to roll the dice on your freedom or finances. Get a DWI attorney to fight for you. Your lawyer can:
- Investigate the DWI arrest.
- Obtain and review police reports and any attachments or amendments.
- Look for any procedural errors in the arrest, booking, or other steps in the process.
- Explore the calibration, maintenance, and use of the breathalyzer.
- Try to find evidence that builds your defense, like security camera footage that contradicts the allegations of the arresting officer.
- File a motion to dismiss the charges if there are legal grounds for doing so.
- Negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea deal with favorable terms if appropriate.
- Help you avoid the long-term loss of your driving privileges.
- Take your case to trial seeking an acquittal.
These strategies could help you avoid or minimize the legal consequences of DWI charges.
Possible Defenses Against DWI Charges in Dallas
The potential penalties you face for DWI can change your life in the immediate and distant future. Defenses to DWI charges can include:
- There was no probable cause to arrest you in the first place
- A violation of your right occurred during or after your arrest
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) result was faulty
- You were not advised of your rights under the Miranda Warning
You can build a more credible defense with legal representation than you can on your own. If you are a first-time DWI offender, your lawyer will fight to establish a plea bargain that lets you maintain your freedom and fight for your future. Subsequent offenses could carry harsher penalties. Your lawyer can help you mitigate the damage of conviction.
How a DWI Conviction Could Affect Your Life Outside of Court
Unlike a simple speeding ticket, a DWI conviction will haunt you for many years after the court process. Let’s say that you serve your time and pay your fines, get your driver’s license back, and want to rebuild your life. That could be easier said than done, because:
- Your boss can fire you for getting a criminal conviction, even if you never have to go to jail. Texas is an at-will employment state, so you do not have job security unless you have an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement, and those documents usually allow termination for cause, which can include a DWI conviction.
- When you try to get a new job, you will find many doors closed to you because of a criminal record. The better the job, the greater the likelihood of having to consent to a background check which will reveal a criminal record.
- If you have a professional license, the state could revoke your right to practice your profession. You might have to go into a different line of work.
- If your dream is to attend an elite college or university, your application could get rejected because of the criminal conviction.
- Renting an apartment could be a challenge because the application could require you to disclose any criminal convictions.
- You and your loved ones could face social stigma, particularly if your DWI conviction is for a felony criminal charge.
Depending on what type of DWI you receive, you will have a limited amount of time to pursue legal actions. This time limit is called a statute of limitations and it determines the time you get to take care of your charges. Don’t let time slip by you by waiting too long to contact one of our attorneys.
You do not have to Do yourself a favor and protect your future. Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today to get a free consultation.