Charged With Your First DWI In Plano?
The state of Texas is renowned for handing down harsh punishments for criminal offenses – and DWI is no exception. It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater in all 50 states. If you have been pulled over by a police officer during a routine traffic stop and through chemical testing it was revealed that you were over the legal threshold, you will most certainly be facing administrative and criminal consequences.
Texas DWI Laws
Texas laws impose some of the most severe penalties on first-time DWI offenders. For example, in Texas, a DWI conviction cannot be expunged from one’s criminal record. As a result, any person or company who performs a background check on an individual will be able to see this charge. This reality can make a DWI conviction devastating.
First Step: Request An ALR Hearing Immediately
After being arrested for DWI, you will be issued a temporary driver’s permit that will allow you to continue driving for the 40 days following the arrest. After you have been arrested, you only have 15 days to request an ALR hearing, which will allow you the fighting chance to keep your license. If you do not request an ALR hearing, you will automatically lose your license for 90 days. This penalty is increased to 180 days if you refused a chemical test. If an individual is under 21, he/she will only face a 60 day suspension if they submitted to testing. At an ALR hearing, an Administrative Law Judge will make the decision about whether your driving privileges will be suspended. Factors that will be examined include:
- Your Blood Alcohol Content Level
- Your Chemical and Field Sobriety Test Results
- Whether or Not You Refused to Take Any Tests
Consequences For First-Time DWI
In Texas, an individual’s first DWI conviction can result in a fine up to $2,000. If bodily injury or death resulted, or if there was a minor in your vehicle, you could face a fine up to $10,000. Keep in mind that other administrative and evaluation fees can be charged. For example, Texas imposes a surcharge in the event of a DWI on top of normal fines (Texas’ surcharge is $1,000 per year for 3 years for a first DWI). If you were arrested for a first time DWI offense, you can expect the following penalties:
- Up to $2,000 in monetary fines
- Up to 180 days in jail
- Up to 1 year driver’s license suspension
- Mandatory attendance at a MADD Victim Impact Panel
A minimum jail sentence for someone convicted of DWI is 72 hours. If you are charged with violating the open container law, however, you could be sentenced to 6 days in jail. If a minor was in your car, you could spend anywhere from 180 days to 2 years in jail. If bodily injury or death resulted, the penalties are worse:
- DWI with Injury: 2 to 10 years in jail
- DWI with Death: 2 to 20 years in jail
Instead of jail, a judge may order probation. The average probationary period in Texas is one to two years. If you are sentenced to probation, you will have to take a mandatory 12 hour DWI class. At an ALR hearing, a judge decides whether or not an individual should have an ignition interlock device installed into his/her vehicle. Another consequence of a first-time DWI conviction is a minimum of 24 hours of community service. A first time DWI is considered a class B misdemeanor. Other penalties that can result include disqualification from obtaining a concealed weapon license.
Texas SR22 Insurance Information
If you are hoping to get a restricted or occupational license, be forewarned that you will first have to file for SR22 insurance. You will have to maintain your SR22 for 3 years. If you incur any lapse in your coverage, the mandatory 3-year filing period will start all over again. After a DWI goes on your record, you will most likely be classified as a “high risk car insurance driver.” As a result, your current insurance carrier can either cancel your policy or raise your monthly premium.
While this information may seem daunting, the good news is that you don’t have to handle a DWI case on your own. For the aggressive legal representation and caring support you are going to need throughout this process, contact the Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC. We will be happy to assist you in whatever way we can!