In the state of Texas, alcohol-related crimes are taken very seriously. Drivers may be convicted of driving while intoxicated if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. Those convicted of driving while intoxicated may face jail time, fines, and community service. In addition to criminal penalties, they may also endure tainted reputations, loss of employment, and damaged relationships. With the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, however, those charged with driving while intoxicated may be able to have their charges reduced or dismissed, depending on the facts of the case.
Texas imposes additional penalties on those convicted of multiple DWI charges.
A first DWI offense is a misdemeanor charge that may result in between 3 and 180 days in jail, court costs, and a driver’s license suspension lasting between 3 months to one year.
For a second DWI, also known as DWI misdemeanor repetition, the offender may face between 30 days and 1 year in jail. In addition, fines and paying court costs may be ordered. If the second DWI was committed within 5 years of the first DWI, a driver’s license suspension of between 1 year and 2 years is possible. Many offenders are sentenced to probation; however, they must typically complete some jail time, have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles, and complete an educational program tailored toward repeat DWI offenders.
Defenses to DWI charges
Law enforcement officers must follow strict procedures before, during, and after arresting someone for driving while intoxicated.
For example, a law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop a driver. If the arrest is the result of a DUI checkpoint, the officers must have a system in place that determines which cars will be stopped. For example, they may decide to stop every fourth vehicle.
While the officer is with the driver, the officer must be certain that tests for DWI, such as the Breathalyzer, are administered properly. The Breathalyzer depends on technology to provide accurate results. Therefore, if a cop does not use the device accurately, DWI charges may not be proper. In addition, the officer must know how to conduct field sobriety tests. These include the walk-and-turn test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the one-leg stand test. Police officers must provide clear instructions for each of these tests and must make sure that the tests are administered under proper conditions. For example, asking a driver to complete a walk-and-turn test on uneven ground will almost certainly cause the driver to fail the test.
The officer must also abide by certain rules during the arrest. For example, the driver must be informed of his Miranda rights during the arrest—that he has the right to an attorney, that he has the right to remain silent, and that any statements made may be used against the driver in court. If the driver is not informed of these rights, the DWI charges may not be valid.
Criminal defense attorneys are trained to identify flaws in criminal charges brought by the state of Texas. With a criminal defense attorney, those charged with crimes have a much better chance of having their charges reduced or even dismissed. The sooner a criminal defense attorney is hired, the better.
If you have been charged with DWI: misdemeanor representation, call today
The Hampton Eppes Law Group handles all criminal charges. Brian Eppes and Jeff Hampton are former prosecutors who posses years of experience in the Texas criminal justice system. To schedule your free consultation, call 817-877-5200 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.