A first offense DWI might sound harmless to you but it is a very serious charge indeed. Upon conviction for drunk driving in Texas — even your first offense — you face a substantial monetary fine, suspension of your driver’s license, and potential jail time. Your DWI will remain on your criminal record permanently, affecting your ability to get a job, rent a home, hold a professional license, or find affordable auto insurance.
Does a First Offense DWI Include Jail Time?
In Denton and throughout Texas, even a first offense DWI carries the threat of serious punishment — including potential time behind bars.
You can review the penalties for DWI convictions in Denton in the Texas Penal Code (TPC). However, the TPC defines a basic DWI as driving a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. The statutes define intoxication as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.08, but less than 0.15.
A first offense DWI with a BAC test result that falls within that range qualifies as a Class B misdemeanor. Upon conviction for a class B misdemeanor, you face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. You also face a potential one-year license suspension.
If your BAC registers at 0.15 or above, you will face class A misdemeanor charges, which carry a fine up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, and a potential two-year license suspension.
In addition to the fine and jail time, you must pay all court costs and fees, and attend (and pay for) a mandatory alcohol education program. The judge can also compel you to go to counseling, put an ignition interlock mechanism on your car, and perform community service.
At the end of your driver’s license suspension, you must pay a surcharge of $1,000 to $2,000 to reinstate your driving privileges. This fee is due annually for three years.
Perhaps the worst part about a first offense DWI conviction is that it remains forever on your permanent record. This means it will show up on any background check, giving potential employers, colleges, or landlords an opportunity to deny your application. It may also prevent you from holding a professional license, such as for teaching, real estate, or nursing. Your car insurance premiums will also be substantially higher. It may even prevent you from obtaining a student loan.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for a First Offense DWI in Denton?
Although the police and prosecutor may try to tell you a first offense DWI is a minor infraction, it is not.
And, because their primary interest is obtaining a conviction, rather than what is best for you, they may try to convince you that pleading guilty is the best option for you. When you have a DWI lawyer to represent you, you can rest assured that your attorney does have your best interest in mind.
When you choose the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to represent you, you will have all the answers to your questions and a true picture of what a first offense DWI can do to your life.
Our legal team will ensure you understand your options and how each one will affect your life. We will help you navigate the criminal justice system and represent you through every aspect of the complex and potentially frightening proceedings associated with criminal charges.
And, although the prosecutor may try to assure you that you can avoid jail time by pleading guilty to the charges, they likely will not tell you about all the other problems a conviction will cause for you.
Our knowledgeable legal team can examine the evidence in your case and identify any potential errors made by the police or during the BAC testing process. Using this information, we may successfully negotiate with the prosecutor to get your charges dropped or reduced or file legal motions to have your charges dismissed.
If your case goes to trial, we can build the strongest possible case for your defense.
Even a seemingly incriminating BAC test result never guarantees a conviction. That is why it is important for you to talk to a first offense DWI lawyer in Denton before you make any decisions that could affect your life.
Can a First Offense DWI Lawyer Help Me Keep My License?
To attempt to keep your license, you must navigate the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process which will determine the disposition of your driver’s license. For a first offense DWI, you risk losing your license for 90 days to two years, depending on your BAC and whether you caused an accident or injury.
The ALR process, overseen by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS), begins at the time of your arrest for drunk driving. The officer will seize your driver’s license and issue you a temporary driving permit.
You must schedule your ALR hearing within 15 days of your arrest. At the hearing, the arresting officer will testify under oath about your arrest. The hearing, conducted by an administrative law judge, also puts you under oath to give testimony.
If we represent you for your criminal charges, we can also represent you at the DMV hearing. Our lawyers will help you avoid giving testimony that may incriminate you and present the strongest possible case against license suspension.
This process also gives our legal team key insight into whatever evidence the prosecution has in your case, allowing us to build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
What Legal Strategies Can We Use to Fight My First Offense DWI Charges?
Although we will base our legal strategy on the details and facts of your case, we have several common strategies for defending clients against a first offense DWI charge.
One of the most common strategies we will consider is the possibility that the police lacked reasonable suspicion for pulling you over.
Our legal team will also explore whether the police failed to establish legal probable cause for arresting you and subjecting you to chemical testing for BAC.
If the officer used a field sobriety test to establish probable cause, he must have conducted that testing using standards published by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA).
We will also examine the legality of chemical BAC testing in your case. The testing must comply with all legal standards for breathalyzer testing per the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) and the NHTSA BAC testing standards.
We can leverage any deviation from the standards, mishandling of evidence, or violations of your legal rights to build your defense, or to argue for a DWI charge reduction or dismissal.
Call Today to Meet with a First Offense DWI Lawyer in Denton for Free
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg will prove you with a no-cost case review to answer your questions and help you make the best possible decision for your future.
Contact us at 214-696-9253 today to learn more.