The Ins And Outs Of A DWI Charge In Texas
A DWI offense in Houston is serious and the city, as well as the state, takes it very seriously. Financial penalties can be harsh, even for those who are first-time offenders. In the United States, DWIs are common, but many people that commit them are average citizens that are not your average criminal. However, if you are faced with a DWI charge, then you will be treated like a criminal.
Consequences/Charges For First-Time Offense In Texas
A first DWI offense in Houston and the rest of the state are considered Class B misdemeanors. If you’re convicted of this type of misdemeanor, the chances are you’ll be hit with a fine of up to $2,000. You may also be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail.
Bear in mind that these are the minimum penalties that you can be faced with. DWI law is incredibly complicated. This is why you need to understand every single detail associated with your case.
For example, there are various things that can complicate your offense. This is even if it’s your first offense. Penalties can quickly escalate. A few examples of how your case can be complicated include:
1. DWI .15 Or Higher
If your blood alcohol concentration levels come back as .15 or higher after taking a breath or blood test, then you may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries fines of up to $4,000 and up to a year in jail. Under state law, if you’re convicted of this type of misdemeanor, then you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car. This device prevents a driver from being able to start their car if they have been drinking.
2. DWI With Passenger Under .15
If you are pulled over and determined to be intoxicated with someone who is under the age of 15, then you could find yourself facing a felony charge. This charge is very serious and carries a potential of 180 days to two years in state jail, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. This is regardless of whether the passenger was your child or not.
3. Intoxication Assault
If you injure someone while you are intoxicated, then you can be charged with a felony. The felony is classed as a third-degree felony. This means you can be faced with fines of up to $10,000 and spend between two and 10 years in a state jail.
4. Intoxication Manslaughter
This will result in a second-degree felony. The consequences for this include prison time of two to 20 years. You could also be faced with a fine of no more than $10,000.
Sentencing: What To Expect When It’s Your First OffenseIf you’re convicted of a DWI in Houston or anywhere in Texas, then you are probably going to spend three days in jail. That is if it’s your first offense. Other forms of punishment may include probation or community service.
You might have to meet other conditions, such as going to a rehab facility that is state-approved, but this depends on the judge’s ruling. You might have to attend DWI school too and/or undertake a 12-hour course that has to be taken within six months of being sentenced to probation. If you refuse to take the course or attend it, then your license will be revoked. You can get your license back after you complete the required course.
There are civil consequences that come along with being convicted of a DWI offense, such as your driver’s license being suspended, even if it is your first offense. Your license could be suspended even without a conviction for a period of up to 180 days if you refused a breath or blood test. It may be suspended for up to 90 days if your test results were above .08. Implied consent laws mean that you consent to sobriety tests and if you refuse to do so, then the state automatically suspends your driver’s license.
ALR, short for Administrative License Revocation, starts 40 days after the Notice of Suspension is given to you. When you receive this notice, you have 15 days to put in a request for a hearing. If you want to reinstate your license, then you need to pay $125.
Finally, the Texas Department of Transportation has a surcharge. You will pay,000 per year for three years if you’re convicted. Remember, this is all for a first offense.
As you can see, a first-time DWI charge is very serious. Your personal life and your professional life can be left devastated. Your reputation can take a hit too, and a DWI charge can wreak havoc on your finances.
However, you shouldn’t give up all hope because there is something you may be able to do. Remember, police officers need probable cause and they need to gather and present evidence of a DWI offense before they can make an arrest. There are procedures they must follow under the law when they conduct sobriety tests.
DWI law is complex and nuanced. Every case is unique, which includes yours, so don’t think that you can’t win because of the evidence that has been gathered to be used against you. You can hire legal counsel. In fact, that is exactly what you should do, but make sure you hire an attorney that represents clients in DWI cases.
Have you been charged with a DWI offense in Houston because if so, then you need a professional attorney that works with clients in Houston? We urge you to call Butler Law Firm right now, or you can contact us via the form on our website. If you don’t know how to go about finding and choosing an attorney in Houston, then do a bit of research on lawyers before making a decision. Whatever you do, make sure you get legal help, even if it’s your first time being charged with driving while intoxicated offense.