If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence in Sugar Land TX, you could face serious consequences. A DWI is the primary drunk driving charge in Texas Law. Legal representation for a DWI charge is always recommended to ensure the best outcome for your future.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be assigned to your case and support you through every step of the process. Our law firm prides itself on creating a positive attorney-client relationship so our clients feel comfortable and confident entrusting our attorneys with their cases.
Administrative License Revocation After A DWI/DUI Arrest
The first thing you should be concerned about following a DWI arrest is administrative license revocation. Under criminal law, when an officer deals with a DWI arrest, they immediately remove the suspected driver’s license and issue them with paperwork that permits the driver to drive for 40 days. Once those following 40 days are up, an administrative license revocation will be put in place for the driver.
The length of time your license is suspended following a DWI/DUI conviction is dependent upon your individual case. This includes a prior criminal record, especially any previous DWI arrests. Even if you are not convicted, you will be issued a suspension from driving privileges for a period of time.
Driving Whilst Intoxicated Offenses In Texas
DWI 1st Offense
If this event was the first DWI and your blood alcohol content was less than 0.15 when your breath or blood was taken, the event will be charged as a Class B Misdemeanor. The maximum consequence for this offense is a maximum of 180 days in prison and a $3,000 fine that must be paid within 36 months.
The terms of your probation are not likely to include further jail time. However, this does vary between judges and the conditions of the offense. It is unlikely to have a suspended license as a result of a DWI 1st offense, but there may be several courses you must complete in regards to driving under the influence.
DWI Over 0.15 Blood Alcohol Content
A blood alcohol content over 0.15 is a chargeable offense called a Driving While Intoxicated Offense, which is a Class A Misdemeanor. The consequence of this DWI conviction is one year in prison and a fine. Even with no conviction, a Blood Alcohol Content recording over 0.15 can result in a maximum fine of $3,000. In addition, a judge can order an ignition interlock device to be fitted to your car. This is a breathalyzer that requires clear Blood Alcohol Content prior to operating the vehicle. The inclusion of an ignition interlock can be ordered for half the term of your probation.
DWI 2nd Offense
If you ever received jail time, probation, or community supervision for a previous intoxication offense, you can be charged with a DWI 2nd if the offense is repeated. This type of offense can be punishable with a maximum of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,500. If you have a prior DWI offense, there may be 5 days of jail time as a condition of your probation. In the event of you being granted probation, you could still be required to serve 5 days in county jail.
When you do leave jail for a DWI 2nd offense, you can be ordered to install an ignition interlock as a condition of you leaving jail. If a DWI conviction is found, you could be issued the device for at least half of your probation term. In addition, the court could order a suspension of your driver’s license for 2 years.
DWI 3rd And More
A result of two or more DWI offenses that led to jail time or community supervision, will mean the 3rd offense will be charged as a third-degree felony DWI. In Texas, a third-degree DWI felony offense can result in between 2-10 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10, 000.
If a defendant receives community supervision instead of a jail term, they will be ordered to serve a mandatory 30 days in prison as part of their community supervision conditions. In addition, they may be ordered to complete a treatment program whilst they are an inpatient. A DWI conviction of this type means the judge will suspend the driving license for 180 days to 2 years and order an ignition interlock to be installed on their vehicle whilst they are on community supervision.
This type of assault is defined as an individual operating a vehicle on a public road and, as a result of their alcohol impairment, causing an accident that leads to the serious bodily injury of another person. This offense is irrespective of whether the injuries were caused by mistake or by accident.
Intoxication manslaughter is similar to an intoxication assault, except that it results in the death of another person by mistake or accident. In addition, it can include any of the following machinery; an amusement ride, a motor vehicle, a watercraft, or an aircraft that was operated by a person with a blood alcohol content 0.08% or above.
DUIs And DWIs With Child Passengers
Operating a vehicle whilst intoxicated and with a passenger that is a minor under 15 years of age is a felony in Texas. If the accused is then found guilty of the offense, it is a felony punishable with a maximum fine of $10, 000 and 180 days to 2 years prison time. In addition, the accused can be tried for child endangerment charges.
Can I Refuse To Take A Blood Alcohol Content Test Or Do A Breathalyzer
In Texas Statutes, there is a ‘consent statute’ that means there is always a presumption of consent in circumstances like this. Therefore, a person that has been arrested for a DWI has consented to take a breathalyzer test to report their blood alcohol content. However, this statute does not apply to those who are unconscious or unsuspecting drivers.
Furthermore, under federal law, it is a search and seizure to take a blood specimen, and this can infringe on a person’s right to privacy, leading to serious consequences for the local criminal authority. Therefore, the accused may refuse a blood test.
However, there are some exceptions to a defendant refusing a blood test. For example, if the accused has been arrested as a result of intoxicated assault or intoxicated manslaughter, then they must comply with taking a test. In addition, if the defendant has had two prior DWI convictions, or one prior conviction with a minor as a passenger, or it resulted in another person being seriously injured or killed, they cannot refuse.
Defenses For A DWI Case
An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to find plausible defenses for your DWI case. This may result in your case receiving a reduced charge or being dismissed entirely. The following defenses are the most commonly used in these types of criminal defense cases.
The Legality Of The Traffic Stop
A DWI attorney can query the reason for the traffic stop in the first place. In order for police enforcement to issue a traffic stop, they must have some initial suspicions for the action. In many cases, this is a result of a traffic violation, and law enforcement has witnessed the accused breaking a traffic law.
This could be speeding or swerving on public roads. Therefore, for a traffic stop to be legal, the officer must have probable cause and reasonable suspicion that could be challenged in a court of law. If your criminal defense lawyer can prove you violated no traffic laws, you could see your DWI case dismissed.
Challenge The Vehicles Movement Or Operation
A district attorney must be able to prove the vehicle that the accused was in, was moving or being operated when the accused was arrested for being intoxicated over the legal limit. Operating is defined as the driver having actual control over and managing the car’s movements.
In some SWI cases, there may be circumstances that could be interpreted as operating the motor vehicle, however, that is not the case. For example, it is a common occurrence for an individual to be found drunk in their car, in the car park of a bar, and their intentions are often to sleep in the car overnight rather than drive it home.
In this circumstance, the accused could not be labeled as operating the vehicle in the DWI law. An attending police officer could arrest the individual for a DWI based on this behavior. The district attorney would then be required to prove that the individual was driving or operating the car rather than just sitting in it.
Challenge The Breathalyzer Test
There are some circumstances where the breathalyzer test used in a DWI arrest has been proven to be faulty. Similarly to every machine we use every day, they can fail or malfunction. A breathalyzer test must be routinely checked and calibrated in order to maintain its accuracy in order for it to support the state law.
When a breathalyzer is being calibrated by its technician, the smallest mistake can mean that testing would be incorrect and inaccurate. Therefore, it could not support a DWI case in court. In addition, a breathalyzer test must be taken soon after the arrest. A test taken two hours after the arrest will not show an accurate BAC test reading that occurred at the time of driving.
A DUI lawyer will be able to present evidence claiming the breathalyzer was inaccurate or that the test was taken too long after the DWI arrest.
Challenging The Field Observation Sobriety Test
An officer can request a driver suspected of a DWI to perform a field sobriety test minutes after the arrest. These actions are commonly physical acts, such as counting with the driver’s eyes closed, walking and turning, and standing on one leg. Additional action is the ‘finger to nose’ test, where the driver will be required to bring their finger to the nose at the request of the officer.
All of these tests are subjective, with no correct right or wrong. The officer will be making judgments and observations based on how the driver conducts these acts and then later relay this to the court. Furthermore, the officers will focus on what the individual did incorrectly or had trouble with, but not on what they performed ‘correctly’.
Therefore, any factors such as age, mobility, and illness will not be taken into account and could ‘fail’ the field observation sobriety test without consuming any alcohol. Overall, these tests are not accurate in deciding if a person is intoxicated and over the legal limit to drive.
DWI In Texas FAQ’s
In Texas, this offense is when a person has been proven to be driving on a public road whilst intoxicated. This is usually a result of the breathalyzer informing the officer of the driver’s blood alcohol content that is over the legal limit. Intoxication means the loss of a person’s physical and mental capabilities due to alcohol or drugs. A driver’s license can be suspended for a DWI charge.
This term is primarily used for drivers under the age of 21, as their consumption of alcohol is not legal. The state of Texas is not required to prove that the driver was intoxicated for a DUI charge. This charge can be decided through admission to consuming alcohol before driving or being able to smell alcohol on the driver at the time of the offense. A DUI is punishable by a $500 fine as it is a Class C Misdemeanor. A driving license can be suspended for a DUI charge.
Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney Today
DWI lawyers are experienced in finding the details within each individual case and potentially uncovering defense claims that could lead to a reduced charge or a dismissed case. At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we pride ourselves on providing reputable defense attorneys to those arrested for a DWI or DUI charge in Sugar Land TX.
If you have been arrested for either of these charges, call our law office on 832-843-1691 to find out how we could support your case. For the best possible outcome for your future, contact our criminal defense attorneys today.