An arrest for driving while intoxicated, or DWI, is appropriate in Texas when a driver operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. Penalties for DWI include jail time, fines, and community service—or even a combination of the three. Texas takes DWI charges very seriously. If a driver is arrested for driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of over .15 percent, additional penalties apply. Criminal defense attorneys experienced in DWI claims help those arrested fight these charges. In many cases, criminal defense attorneys are able to raise defenses that result in a reduction or dismissal of charges.
Penalties for DWI with a blood alcohol content of over .15
Texas has imposed additional penalties for those that are convicted of DWI with a blood alcohol content of .15 percent or greater. After all, such a blood alcohol content is nearly twice the legal limit.
A first-time offender convicted of DWI faces up to a $2,000 fine and a jail sentence of between 3 and 180 days. The offender’s driver’s license may also be suspended for a period of between 90 days to 365 days.
However, for DWI with a blood alcohol content of over .15 percent, the fine amount increases to $4,000 and jail time increases to one year.
For subsequent offenses, jail time and fine amounts increase.
Defenses to DWI charges
If you have been arrested for DWI, you may think that you are stuck with these charges. You may be at risk of losing your job and suffering damage to your reputation.
However, there are defenses available in criminal cases—even DWI claims.
For example, if you were pulled over, the officer must have had reasonable suspicion to stop you. Were you swerving? Were you disregarding traffic signals? If there was no valid reason for the traffic stop, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed.
Additionally, there may be defects in the officer’s reasoning for the arrest. The Breathalyzer is commonly used in DWI arrests. However, Breathalyzers may malfunction, or officers may not use them properly. There are specific procedures that law enforcement officers must abide by when they use Breathalyzers. If the officer failed to follow any of these specific steps, the charges may be reduced or dismissed.
Additionally, the field sobriety test is used in many DWI arrests. The field sobriety test relies on many subjective observations, however.
The field sobriety test consists of three parts: the one-leg stand test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the walk-and-turn test.
The one-leg stand test requires the subject to stand on one leg while counting. The officer observes the subject’s ability to follow directions and to balance on one leg. A number of conditions may contribute to the subject’s inability to pass this test. Injuries, medical conditions, and a variety of other causes have been cited.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test requires the officer to observe the subject’s eyes for involuntary movements, which may be a sign of intoxication. Again, certain medical conditions may cause the eyes to move involuntarily.
Finally, the walk-and-turn test requires the subject to walk a straight line in a specific manner. Medical conditions, disabilities, and other such reasons may cause a subject to fail this test.
Have you been arrested for DWI?
If you have been arrested for DWI, contact the Hampton Eppes Law Group today. Brian Eppes and Jeff Hampton are former prosecutors experienced in a variety of DWI claims. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5200 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.