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The Law: Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)or Under the Influence (DUI) in Texas



DWI Defense

People who are regular and otherwise law-abiding citizens sometimes make bad decisions. One example is driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated (DWI). This offense can ensnare people who have never seen the inside of a courthouse.

A DWI is not a traffic ticket. It is a more serious offense that carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine for a first offense. Repeat DWI offenders increase their exposure to fines and jail sentences.

If you are convicted of DWI, you will have a permanent criminal record. You will have to pay a Texas driver's license surcharge of $1,000 a year or more for at least three years. Your auto insurance rates will increase if your policy is not cancelled. . In certain professions such as professional drivers or pilots, a DWI conviction can destroy a career.

Some people think that if they are a good person who has never been in trouble before, they will get a break on a DWI charge. The truth is what kind of person you are makes little difference. The County Attorney in most counties treat all DWI cases very seriously. Public interest groups such as MADD have put increasing pressure on prosecutors to be tough on DWI cases.

What is DWI?

Many people refer to a DWI as "drunk" driving, but you should get that word out of your vocabulary. The legal term is intoxication. Intoxication has three legal definitions in Texas. A person is intoxicated if they have:

  • A blood alcohol content of .08 or greater, measured by blood or breath
  • Loss of normal use of mental faculties by reason of alcohol or other substance
  • Loss of normal use of physical faculties by reason of alcohol or other substance

Your success rate in a DWI case drops if you take a breath test and fail. In the absence of more information, we typically would advise against submitting to a breath test whose accuracy can be in doubt. If you have already failed a breath test, then it's important for your lawyer to find a way to challenge the results of the test and the accuracy of the police machine known as an Intoxilyzer.

Driver's License Suspension

If you have been arrested for DWI, typically you will have had your driver's license taken and received a notice that it will be suspended. That notice tells you that you have 15 days from date of arrest to request a hearing on the suspension. If you fail to request this hearing, your driver's license will be automatically suspended for 90 days if you failed a breathalyzer test and for 180 days if you refused to take a test.

We strongly encourage clients to have us arrange a suspension hearing. This hearing provides an opportunity for your lawyer to cross-examine the arresting officer. This may give your lawyer evidence which can be used to defend you in your criminal DWI trial. Your lawyer's most important goal is to help you avoid a DWI conviction. Even if your driver's license is suspended, your lawyer can keep you driving legally with an occupational license in most cases.

Free consultation: If you have been charged with DWI in Burnet, Llano, Blanco, Lampasas, Williamson or Surrounding Counties call our office and set up an appointment.  If you contact us soon enough, we can represent you in your criminal DWI case and in your driver's license suspension hearing.

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