Every Texas drunk driving charge is serious. Even a first offense DWI carries harsh monetary fines, potential jail time, a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license, and a permanent criminal record.
A first offense DWI lawyer in Garland can help protect your legal rights and fight diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Randall Isenberg of the Law Firm of Randall B. Isenberg is that lawyer.
Contact us today at 214-696-9253 for help.
Why Should You Hire a First Offense DWI Lawyer?
Even your first drunk driving offense can cause significant upheaval in your life and compromise your future. Unfortunately, many people believe that, for their first DWI charge, they can trust the prosecutor when she offers them a deal in exchange for a guilty plea.
Prosecutors typically persuade people to plead guilty on their first offense by telling them they will not have to serve any jail time. However, they neglect to tell you about the other penalties you will face if you plead guilty.
Even if you do not take the prosecutor’s deal and plead guilty, submitting to questioning without the protection of an attorney leaves you open for self-incrimination, which the prosecutor will use against you in court.
Having a lawyer ensures that the prosecutor will not take advantage of you, and that you do not say anything to incriminate yourself. It also sends a clear message that you are serious about challenging the charges pending against you.
Your DWI lawyer will investigate and analyze all the prosecution’s evidence against you to identify potential challenges to your charges.
Do not assume that you are trapped, even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeded the statutory levels for a first offense DWI charge, or that you will automatically face conviction.
By negotiating with the prosecutor or filing motions in court, your lawyer may convince them to reduce or drop the charges or convince the judge to throw your case out entirely.
And, even if your case ends up going to court, your lawyer will be prepared to present a strong case in your defense.
What Are the First Time DWI Offense Penalties in Garland?
Even a first-time drunk driving offender faces serious consequences in Texas.
The Texas Penal Code, Chapter 49, outlines the exact DWI penalties you may face. However, a first offense typically carries Class B misdemeanor charges. This assumes that your BAC registers between 0.08 and 0.149; however, it is important to note that an officer can charge you with DWI even if your BAC registers lower, if the officer determines that you do not have the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Upon conviction for a first time DWI offense, you will face up to six months in jail and a monetary fine of $2,000. You will also lose your driver’s license for as long as one year.
However, if your BAC exceeds 0.149, the prosecutor will charge you with a Class A misdemeanor. This charge carries a $4,000 monetary fine and up to one year in jail, in addition to a potential two-year suspension of your license.
You may also have to perform community service, undergo substance abuse counseling, attend an alcohol education program, and install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles that you own or drive.
Once your driver’s license suspension is complete, you will face an annual surcharge of up to $2,000 to retain your license. This surcharge applies for three years after your suspension ends.
Finally, upon conviction for any Texas drunk driving charges, your crime will become a part of your permanent criminal record. This will make it difficult and expensive to get car insurance. And, any time anyone — such as a potential employer or landlord — runs a background check on you, your criminal record will show up.
As a result, potential employers and landlords can deny your application. You may also become ineligible for some types of professional licensing.
How Can Your Lawyer Fight First Offense DWI Charges?
If we cannot successfully negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the prosecutor, we may recommend taking your case to court.
To convict you of drunk driving charges, the prosecutor must present a clear case with persuasive evidence. The prosecutor must demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt the following three key elements of a Garland DWI case:
- That you were operating a motor vehicle
- That you were operating the vehicle in a public place
- That you were statutorily intoxicated at the time
To help you avoid a conviction, we will work to establish reasonable doubt.
We can accomplish this in a number of ways. Each aspect of your arrest and chemical testing must comply with applicable laws and standards. If it did not, any evidence gathered might be inadmissible.
We might build our case on any of the following. At a minimum, the police must have a legal basis for making a traffic stop, have probable cause for arresting you and requesting blood alcohol testing, and they must read you your Miranda rights prior to questioning you.
Any misstep in any of these requirements can open the door for challenging the charges.
For example, if the police used field sobriety testing to establish probable cause, the testing must have complied with the standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
When administering breath alcohol testing, all aspects of the process must also comply with federal and state standards. This includes the breath alcohol testing standards published in the Texas Administrative Code as well as the NHTSA DWI testing procedures. If the police deviated from any of these standards, we may successfully have the evidence excluded in your case.
Will You Lose Your Driver’s License for a First Offense DWI Conviction?
One thing that many people arrested for DWI do not consider is what happens to their driver’s license. The disposition of your driver’s license depends on the outcome of a civil action known as Administrative License Revocation or ALR. The Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) handles this process.
At the time of your arrest, the police will seize your license and issue you a temporary authorization to drive. You must formally request an ALR hearing within 15 days. If you fail to request your hearing, TxDPS will suspend your license.
The length of your suspension can range between 90 days and two years.
Having your attorney represent you in the ALR proceeding is the best way to protect yourself from providing incriminating testimony. We can also glean critical information for your defense during this proceeding.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Today
The best option for your defense is an attorney who will fight tirelessly to build a strong defense for your case. Your lawyer will protect your rights and ensure that you understand your options and how they may affect your future.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg offers a free consultation and case review, to help you make the right choice in your case. Contact us today to speak with a first offense DWI lawyer in Garland: 214-696-9253.