A DWI charge in Texas is actually two (2) separate cases: a criminal case and a civil case. The criminal case is what gets you arrested and thrown in jail. You will have to appear in a criminal court and face criminal charges as a result of your arrest. The civil case deals with the possible suspension of your Texas Driver's License. Based on various factors surrounding the details of your DWI arrest, you could lose your driver's license for a period from 90 days to up to two (2) years.
A. The Criminal DWI Case
There is a lot of misconception in the public regarding DWI charges and their effect on a person's criminal history and driving privileges. The following is a brief overview of the details of a DWI charge in Texas. For more detailed information regarding your DWI case, please contact Attorney Drew Prisner immediately. Attorney Drew Prisner is recognized by the American Chemical Society as a Forensic Lawyer Scientist, which means he is certified in understanding - and fighting - the scientific methods the prosecution uses to test the blood and breath samples it uses to try to convict the citizen-accused of DWI.
A DWI (first offense) can be either a Class B misdemeanor or a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, depending on the facts of the particular case. For example, if a citizen-accused's blood or breath results come back at .14 or lower, it is a Class B misdemeanor. However, if the blood or breath test comes back at .15 or higher, it is a Class A misdemeanor - even if it's the citizen-accused's very first offense!!! A person charged with a Class B misdemeanor DWI offense faces a maximum of six (6) months in county jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine. A person charged with a Class A misdemeanor DWI offense faces a maximum of one (1) year in county jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine. No one wants to spend even one day in jail, and in these tough economic times, no one wants to have to pay even a one dollar fine. Yet, Texas citizens charged with DWI can end up in jail AND pay up to thousands of dollars in fines. As you can see, the potential penalties for even a FIRST DWI conviction can be quite severe.
A DWI (second offense) is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, which means that a person charged with this offense faces a maximum of one (1) year in county jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine. It is readily apparent that the penalties can double from the first DWI conviction to the second DWI conviction. However, many people each day in Texas face a DWI (second offense) charge.
A DWI (third offense or more) conviction is a FELONY! A person convicted of a third DWI can face from two (2) to 10 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. Very few people want to go to prison, so finding and hiring the right attorney for your case is crucial.
A DWI with a child passenger under 15 years of age is charged as a State Jail Felony! So, even in a case where the citizen-accused has a completely clear criminal history, if he/she is driving with a child in the vehicle when stopped for the suspicion of a DWI, he/she could end up a convicted felon. Obviously, this is a situation that requires a skilled DWI attorney, like Drew Prisner, to help fight for the citizen-accused rights.
In many cases, a person convicted of a DWI is eligible for probation. Probation is a period of time that a person is under the court's supervision after a criminal conviction. Instead of going to jail (or prison, if it's a felony conviction) after a DWI conviction, the convicted person's sentence is "probated" by the judge so that the person can continue his or her life – subject to terms and conditions of the judge's probation.
A conviction after a DWI arrest is by NO means a given, and Attorney Drew Prisner will thoroughly evaluate your case for any weaknesses that the State might have. By reviewing the police report, viewing the arrest video, analyzing breath/blood results (where applicable), and discussing your case with the District Attorney's office, Attorney Drew Prisner will fight hard to avoid a DWI conviction going on your permanent record.
B. The Civil DWI Case
Texas is a big state with millions of miles of roads and highways. However, as a result of your arrest for DWI, you may lose your driving privileges and be unable to legally drive your vehicle. This is a terrible result, as most of us depend on our ability to drive our vehicles on a daily basis.
As a result of your arrest for DWI, your driver's license will be suspended by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) on the 41st day after your arrest. However, there is a way to fight this possible suspension. If an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing is requested within 15 days of your arrest, the suspension of your driver's license (if any) will begin only AFTER the ALR hearing, which, in many cases, is weeks or even months after the ALR hearing is requested. Thus, by requesting an ALR hearing, a suspension of your driver's license can be postponed or even avoided.
In addition to a possible driver's license suspension, a DWI conviction will trigger a DPS "surcharge," which is basically an additional fine that one must pay the State of Texas to legally drive. These surcharges are in the thousands of dollars; even a first-time DWI conviction comes with a surcharge that is over a $1,000/year for three (3) years just to legally drive! Of course, the surcharge amounts increase if one is convicted of a second (or more) DWI. Surcharges can REALLY hit one's wallet - and they can last long after one is out of jail or has completed a probation. That's why it is important to hire an experienced attorney like Drew Prisner to help avoid these surcharges.
Attorney Drew Prisner has extensive experience in handling all aspects of DWI cases, from DWI case evaluations to jury trials to ALR hearings. Over the years, he has helped many clients avoid jail time, large fines, driver's license suspensions, and DPS surcharges. A DWI conviction can negatively affect your life in many ways. You need an experienced, knowledgeable, dependable attorney on your side. But remember, to protect your criminal record and your driver's license privileges, you must act fast, as there are legal deadlines that, if missed, can prevent you from taking advantage of all your legal rights and remedies. Contact Attorney Drew Prisner today for a free consultation regarding your DWI charge.