For starters, the best advice any lawyer or any human for that matter can give is “don’t drink alcohol and then drive!” Seems like simple enough advice, and yet it continues to be a serious problem in our society. Lives are forever changed, and many are even ended everyday due to the carelessness of drunk drivers and law enforcement is constantly working towards finding ways to limit the danger that drunk drivers bring to the road.
The police officer’s job is difficult and dangerous and they should be commended for their service to the public. However, when it comes to DWI arrests, they do have quite a bit of discretion when choosing to pull over a vehicle they suspect is being driven by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Being arrested for DWI is basically an opinion of the officer that a crime has been committed. And, they are human and are subject to making mistakes or assuming guilt inaccurately. For this reason, if you are arrested for DWI it’s always smart to hire a DWI lawyer immediately to help ensure that you are protected and that your rights are defended in the best possible way.
The penalties, should you be found guilty of DWI in Texas are serious and life altering. In Texas a first offense conviction (Class B Misdemeanor) can include a fine not to exceed $2,000, the potential for jail time anywhere from three days to 180 days, as well as the suspension of the drivers license for anywhere from 90 days to 180 days. A second offense (Class A Misdemeanor) doubles the fine amounts and jail time often increases to anywhere between one month and one full year. With a second offense drivers license is often suspended as long as one, to two years. When a third offense occurs the fine may be up to $10,000 and can land you in prison for 2-10 years. Now, a 3rd Degree Felony, this is a charge that can also cause your driver’s license to be suspended for two years.
Sometimes there are other circumstances along with the DWI charge that can lead to added penalties. If an individual is accused of DWI and has an open container of alcohol in their vehicle they may receive an additional six days in jail and an additional fine up to $2,000 for their first offense. If an accident with serious bodily injury occurs due to the intoxication of the driver, the charge is called intoxication assault. The fine for this offense may reach up to $10,000 and come along with two to ten years in jail. If a death occurs due to the fault of the intoxicated driver, the crime is intoxication manslaughter. The prison time associated with this offense is two to ten years in prison.
In dealing with such serious crimes, having an expert opinion is crucial. In some of these more minor classifications it is possibly that an experienced attorney could help you get probation but there is never a guarantee of this. With the more serious charges of intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter you may not be eligible for probation at all. Having an experienced DWI attorney on your side will give you the best chance of having the best possible outcome should you face a DWI charge.