The criminal justice system is complicated. If you’re facing DWI/DUI charges in Texas, the questions can quickly become overwhelming. Below you will find information addressing common concerns.
However, please note that every situation is different, and this information is no substitute for speaking with a lawyer about the particulars of your case. At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC in Sugar Land, we help people facing DWI charges throughout Fort Bend County, Harris County and beyond.
Will I Have To Go To Jail?
Jail time is a top concern for many people facing DWI charges. Fortunately, a prison sentence is not a given, and there may be ways to avoid jail time — especially if this is your first offense. A lawyer can help you explore your options for getting probation instead of prison.
What Other Penalties For DUI Might I Face?
Depending on the offense involved, DWI charges can lead to serious consequences, including:
- Prison time or probation
- Significant fines and legal fees
- Suspension of your driver’s license (or loss of your CDL, if you’re a commercial driver)
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Loss of your vehicle
Beyond just the legal penalties, you might also face other ramifications such as damage to your reputation, increased insurance rates and a criminal record that will show up on background checks.
What If I Refused A Breath Test?
Although you have the right to refuse a Breathalyzer test (or blood test, for drug-related DUIs) in Texas, doing so is not necessarily a way to avoid the harsh penalties of a DWI conviction. Refusal is grounds for suspension of your driver’s license. The police could also get a warrant requiring you to submit to a breath or blood test. Even without the test, you could still be convicted of a DWI if there is enough other evidence to support the state’s case.
How Can I Get My License Back?
One of the most inconvenient aspects of a DWI arrest (or breath test refusal) is the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. You have the right to challenge the suspension if you request a hearing within 15 days after getting the notice of suspension. A lawyer can evaluate whether you have strong grounds for getting your license back.
Even if you end up with a suspended license, you might still qualify for a restricted license (also called an essential needs or occupational license). With this type of license, you can drive for limited purposes such as work, school or child care.
What Are Some Ways To Get DWI Charges Dropped Or Reduced?
The prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated the law. Weaknesses in the state’s case can work in your favor. Examples of potential grounds for dismissal or reduction in the charges include:
- The police didn’t have proper grounds for the traffic stop.
- The police forced you to take a breath or blood test without a warrant.
- Certain rights of yours were violated.
- You refused a breath or blood test, and there isn’t sufficient evidence that you were intoxicated.
- The Breathalyzer was miscalibrated or otherwise faulty.
- The state failed to carefully document who handled your blood test results (or other chain of custody issues).
- There isn’t enough evidence that you were actually driving the vehicle.
Of course, every case is different. Successfully challenging a DWI charge often requires a careful evaluation by an experienced attorney.
Is There A Way To Keep It Off My Record?
A DWI conviction is a permanent mark on your criminal record. It will show up on background checks for jobs, housing and other opportunities. This is a serious consequence to consider when determining how to proceed with your case. Depending on your situation, you may be able to get the charges reduced to a lesser offense such as reckless driving.
If you were acquitted of the charges — or the charges were dismissed — you may be entitled to expunge the records. Our lawyers can help you pursue expungement.