General Information On DWI Charges In Texas

If you have hired us because you were charged with DWI, the following is some general information about your situation. It is our belief that the more informed you are, the better you will be able to deal with your situation. We are available to answer any specific questions and address any concerns you may have regarding your charges.

You Do Not Have To Be Drunk To Be Charged With DWI

DWI means driving while intoxicated. This is not necessarily the same as driving while drunk. Under Texas law, the State must only prove that you were not "normal" while driving and that the reason you were not "normal" was due to the voluntary introduction of an intoxicant. For DWI purposes, an intoxicant may be alcohol, or legal or illegal drugs.

Subsequent Convictions Carry Increasingly Harsh Penalties

A first DWI offense is usually punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. An abnormally high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading carries even greater consequences. A second offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. A third offense is a felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Subsequent DWIs carry an even lengthier prison sentence.

Costs Of A Conviction

If a person is convicted of a DWI, a number of costs are incurred. If placed on probation, there is usually a monthly probation supervisory fee. Classes are usually required, which also cost money. The court may also sentence an offender to community service. In addition, there are also court costs that can run into the hundreds of dollars. The Texas Department of Public Safety will also assess a nonnegotiable surcharge of at least $1,000 per year for three years.

Driver's License Suspension

A DWI conviction may also result in a driver's license suspension. This usually does not occur for a first offense, unless the driver is under 21 years of age at the time of the arrest. It may be possible to keep your driving privileges if you agree to the installation of an ignition interlock device, an additional out-of-pocket cost.

If you refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test or are found to be over the legal limit for driving, you have 15 days to request an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing. If you do not request a hearing within 15 days, your license will be suspended 40 days after your arrest. If you have timely requested a hearing, your license cannot be suspended until the ALR hearing is held. If you have hired us within this 15-day window, we can request an ALR hearing on your behalf.

Occupational Driver's Licenses

If your driver's license is suspended, it may be possible to obtain an occupational driver's license. This is a license that grants you limited driving privileges so that you may commute to your job or to school. This is a separate process from your DWI charge, and we can discuss this further if this becomes an issue.

The Long Line And The Short Line

We refer to a "long line and a short line" with regard to DWI arrests. During your initial court appearance, there are two lines leading to the judge's bench. The short line is the line of people who are making a mistake and are demanding a trial at the earliest possible date. The long line is the line of people who are trying to gain as much evidence gathering and negotiation time as possible, and are asking that their case be delayed until that process is complete.

We almost always put our clients in the long line in order to give us the necessary time to thoroughly prepare your defense.

We Will Work Hard To Achieve A Favorable Resolution

We will do our very best to resolve your case in the most favorable way. Ideally, we would like to see the prosecutor reject or dismiss your case. Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee such an outcome. If you choose to plead out, you must make an appearance before the judge. It is critical that you are drug- and alcohol-free for every court appearance.

We know that this is a lot of information to digest. Please call us at 254-304-6354 if you have any questions.