In Fort Worth, your very first drunk driving conviction will carry harsh penalties and leave you with a permanent criminal record. Following a first conviction for DWI in Texas, you can expect a suspension of your driver’s license, a substantial fine, court costs, and a jail sentence.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may be able to fight the charges or participate in a diversion program to decrease the severity of your punishment. Engaging the services of a first offense DWI lawyer in Fort Worth can help protect your legal rights and ensure that you understand the options available to you.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg for a free consultation today: 214-696-9253.
What penalties might I face for a first offense DWI in Fort Worth?
In Texas, fines and penalties for DWI depend on the details of your arrest and your record. However, the consequences are harsh, even for a first offense DWI.
Upon your first Texas DWI arrest, you will face Class B misdemeanor charge. Texas Penal Code, Chapter 49, defines legal intoxication as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more. Upon conviction, you may face as much as 6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine. You will also face a 1-year suspension of your driver’s license.
If your BAC was 0.15 or above, however, you will face a Class A misdemeanor charge. This carries a jail sentence up to 1 year, a $4,000 fine, and up to a 2-year driver’s license suspension.
Upon sentencing, the judge may require you to install an ignition interlock device in your car. Your sentence may also include probation, community service, and substance abuse counseling or attendance in a DWI education program.
Once you become eligible to reactivate your driver’s license, you must pay a surcharge of $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years, if you want to retain your driving privileges.
What happens to my driver’s license after a Fort Worth DWI arrest?
In Tarrant County, the criminal portions of a DWI charge proceed separately from the driver’s license suspension process. Unless you meet a tight deadline for protesting your suspension, the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) will automatically suspend your license.
As a part of a Fort Worth DWI arrest, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and issue a temporary driving permit that is valid for 14 days. Unless you request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing within 15 days, TxDPS will suspend your license, regardless of the outcome of your criminal case.
The ALR driver’s license suspension ranges from 90 days to two years, depending on the circumstances of your arrest.
What are the possible defense options for a first offense DWI in Fort Worth?
Whatever the circumstances of your arrest may have been, never assume that a conviction is inevitable. To obtain a conviction, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were intoxicated, that you were operating a motor vehicle, and that you were doing so in a public place.
Also, every aspect of your arrest must comply with strict standards. At a minimum, the arresting officer must:
- Have a legal basis for your traffic stop;
- Have probable cause for your arrest; and
- Advise you of your rights before questioning
If the officer administered field sobriety testing during your Fort Worth DWI traffic stop, this may provide a possible defense strategy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that officers use specific types of field sobriety testing to establish probable cause for arrest. If the officer in your case used other tests or failed to administer the tests in accordance with established standards, any resulting evidence may be inadmissible in court.
If the police used a breathalyzer to determine your level of impairment, the testing must have complied with established standards.
The Texas Administrative Code establishes state-specific breath alcohol testing regulations. Also, the NHTSA has published standards for DWI testing procedures and instruments. Any deviation from these standards may provide an effective defense strategy for your case.
Finally, in many Fort Worth first offense DWI cases, breath testing for BAC fails to comply with TxDPS standards. The standards require BAC testers to have a valid state certification. In addition, any testing equipment used must comply with all relevant maintenance and calibration requirements.
We will examine your arrest in great detail and determine if officers made any mistakes during the arrest, or while calibrating equipment, administering tests, or handling test results.
Do you need a Fort Worth DWI lawyer for a first offense?
Even a first offense DWI in Fort Worth can have devastating consequences.
Many first-time offenders mistakenly believe that the prosecutor will take it easy on them. But going to court without the benefit of legal representation is not the best way to protect your legal rights.
A –Dallas-Fort Worth DWI attorney from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg will bring an intimate knowledge of Texas statutes. We will also obtain and scrutinize the records relating to your arrest and chemical BAC testing, in search of potential problems. Randall can then use this information to negotiate on your behalf with the prosecutor.
And because Randall has three decades of experience as a judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney, he knows has insider knowledge of how the other side operates and the best way to approach each individual case.
Schedule a free consultation with a Fort Worth first offense DWI lawyer today.
As you research your drunk driving charges and potential penalties, you will find many options for legal representation. Choosing the right Texas drunk driving lawyer for you means finding an attorney that will answer your questions and explain your options. The unique aspects of your case mean that no one-size-fits-all option will best serve your interests.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg provides a complimentary consultation and case review. We will review your case and create an approach tailored to your specific situation. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation with a first offense DWI lawyer in Fort Worth: 214-390-2670.