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DWI

Plano DWI Attorney

Defense for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Charges

Even if you have never been convicted of a crime, you can still face very serious consequences if you are charged and convicted with DWI. If you have been pulled over by a Texas law enforcement official and he or she discovers through chemical testing that you have a BAC of over 0.08%, you will almost certainly be charged with drunk driving. The prosecutors and law enforcement agents do not care if you have never even had a ticket. Texas DWI laws are very strict and are targeted at eliminating drunk driving. If you have been charged with drunk driving, a Plano DWI attorney at the Zendeh Del Law Firm will be able to offer you the aggressive defense that you need.

Defining the Crime of DWI

According to Texas law, DWI is defined as "not having the normal use of one's mental faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance in the body." In accordance to the law, any driver found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher—or 0.02% for individuals under 21, and 0.04% for commercial drivers—can be held liable.

When an officer suspects a driver of DWI, they will look for behavioral signs such as:

  • Drifting in Their Lane
  • Weaving & Swerving
  • Braking Erratically
  • Slow Reaction Time
  • Tailgating
  • Excessive Speeding
  • Driving Under the Speed Limit

If you have been pulled over for any of these reasons, a law enforcement officer may have asked you to perform a series of field sobriety tests and/or comply with a breath test. Field sobriety tests are designed to determine physical and cognitive capacity through a series of basic tasks. If the officer then had reason to believe that you were impaired, after performing poorly on these tests, they would have asked you to submit a breath sample in order to determine blood alcohol concentration. If it was higher than 0.08%, it is likely that you were arrested for a DWI.

Consequences of a DWI Conviction

In the state of Texas, DWI convictions can carry some pretty severe penalties. Even for a first time offender, jail time, fines and a driver's license suspension are all incorporated in the punishment.

  • First Offense: 3-180 days in jail, fines up to $2,000 & license suspension of 90 days to 1 year
  • Second Offense: 30 days-1 year in jail, fines up to $4,000 & license suspension up to 2 years
  • Third Offense: 2 years in jail, fines up to $10,000 & license suspension of 180 days to 2 years

If you are hoping to avoid the serious penalties of a DWI conviction, it is imperative to act quickly. As soon as you have been arrested, the next step should be to enlist the help of a qualified attorney.

How Our DWI Defense Lawyers Can Help You

Let us protect your rights! We can work with you in regards to following matters:

  • ALR Hearings: This hearing is the civil, rather than criminal, hearing after a person is arrested for driving under the influence. This civil proceeding involves the driver’s driving privileges. Upon arrest for DWI, a Texas peace officer will take possession of the driver’s license and issue them a temporary one. At this point, the driver has 15 days in which they can request an ALR hearing if they want to get their license back.

  • First Time DWI: If you have been charged with your first DWI, you could be subject to the following penalties if you are convicted: up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, up to one year of license suspension, probation, victim impact panel attendance and DWI education courses. In most cases, this is a class B misdemeanor. If convicted of driving with a BAC of .15% or higher, you may be subject to one year in jail and a two year probationary period.

  • Second DWI: In Texas, the penalties for a second DWI conviction will be more severe than for a first conviction. Jail time will be up to one year, up to $4,000 in fines, up to two years of a license suspension and the installation of an ignition interlock device in the driver’s vehicle.

  • Third DWI: With each subsequent DWI after a first conviction, charges will escalate. Upon a third conviction, a driver will be facing up to two years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, up to two years of license suspension, and required ignition interlock device. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a third DWI conviction within a certain time period may be considered a felony offense. A fourth or subsequent DWI will also be considered a felony.

  • Occupational Driver’s License: According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), a driver may be issued an occupational license even if their regular license has been suspended because of a DWI. Anyone may request this type of license with the county or district court where they reside. This type of license will only be granted to those who can prove their need to drive for their job, education or important household duties.

  • 15 Day Rule: The 15 day rule in Texas involves the ALR hearing. After an individual is arrested for drinking and driving, they have only 15 days in which they can request an administrative license revocation hearing with the DMV. In these hearings, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will have the burden of proof to show evidence of intoxication at the time of arrest. After the 15 days is up, a driver will not be allowed to request this type of hearing and their license suspension will automatically begin on the 41st day after the notice was issued.

  • Breath & Blood Tests: Breath and blood tests are different than field sobriety tests. You may be asked to submit to a breath test upon being pulled over or you may be arrested and taken to the police station where you will then be asked to submit to a test. Whatever the case, a refusal means that you are in violation of Texas’ “implied consent” law and you will face automatic license suspension. Breath and blood test results can be contested.

  • Felony DWI: There are many scenarios that may warrant a felony rather than a misdemeanor DWI. An alleged drunk driver may have caused an accident which led to serious injury or even death. Multiple DWI convictions may warrant a felony DWI or a DWI with a child passenger.

  • Field Sobriety Tests: Each state has adopted different field sobriety tests commonly used at traffic stops. If an officer pulls you over under suspicion of DWI, they may ask you to complete tests such as the walk and turn test, horizontal gaze nystagmus and the one-leg stand.

  • DWI with Child Passenger: Charges are more serious if an individual is arrested for driving while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 15. You may face up to two years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines and other serious charges.

  • Intoxication Assault: In Texas, if you were arrested for driving while intoxicated and were involved in an accident that caused serious injury to another individual, then you may be facing intoxication assault charges. This is considered a felony offense.

  • Intoxication Manslaughter: According to the Texas Penal Code, driving under the influence and causing an accident that results in the death of another individual warrants a charge of intoxication manslaughter. This is a felony offense.

Any driving while intoxicated charge is serious. To learn more about DWI charges, penalties and the defense strategies, contact our office. The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC is here to fight for the rights of those charged with DWIs and see that their charges get lessened or dropped completely.