A drunk driving conviction can change your life in the worst possible ways. Fight against your charge so that you can hopefully avoid a conviction with help from a Dallas drunk driving lawyer with Chris Lewis & Associates, P.C..
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a crime in all fifty states, and the state of Texas takes it particularly seriously. You should never take any crime you’ve been charged with lightly, and DWI convictions can harm you for life—even misdemeanor crimes. It would be a mistake to brush off your DWI as a minor offense and sign the first plea deal offered you.
DWIs carry into your future and play a role in your future opportunities, from employment offerings to education opportunities and more. Even if you complete your charges and serve time in jail, the effects of a DWI can continue to follow you and shape how your loved ones interact with you.
That DWI can ruin your job prospects and cause employers to pass you over for promotions. It can affect your finances today and your financial future tomorrow. There are many other negative effects of a DWI, but there’s only one real way to avoid them. You must fight your charge. Get help battling a conviction by working with a Dallas DWI lawyer.
A driving while intoxicated crime is when a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This is measured using a combination of field sobriety tests and blood alcohol level tests. Field sobriety tests are a measure of your ability to perform certain physical activities, like walking in a straight line, to gauge whether there’s an influence at play.
For blood alcohol testing, individuals may use a Breathalyzer machine or take a blood sample and send it to the lab for determining the concentration of alcohol within their blood. This may be a lengthy process, however, and typically field test or a Breathalyzer is preferred.
Acceptable blood alcohol concentration is strictly regulated by the government through local and federal laws. The legal limit in most settings is 0.08, though it differs by the age and circumstance, like drinking while operating a bus or drinking while a minor.
For minors, Texas has a zero-tolerance policy. Getting behind the wheel with any level of alcohol in your system, even if far below the legal limit of 0.08, will result in steep penalties.
Technically, you may be under this limit and still be charged with a DWI. The legal limit set is based on research on what BAC begins to negatively interfere with an individual’s driving capabilities and prevent them from being as safe on the road. Still, the actual threshold is different for every person. If officers deem you unsafe for driving, you can be charged with a DWI even though you have a lower BAC than the limit.
You can be charged with a DWI offense any time that you drive after you’ve been drinking; however, if you’re under the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of .08, it will be more difficult for a Dallas prosecutor to convict you of this crime.
DWI convictions can greatly impact your life in a number of ways. There are the legal penalties, of course, which include jail or prison time, fines, probation, community service, and loss of your driver’s license. In some cases you may be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle, too.
In addition to the legal penalties, you can suffer many other negative ramifications of a DWI conviction.
Don’t make the mistake of failing to take a DWI crime seriously. DWI crimes significantly impact your life, which is reflected in the legal and social response that occurs during your litigation. In order to combat the case, connect with a lawyer early on.
Your Dallas drunk driving attorney will work diligently to see that the prosecutor’s case is dropped or dismissed if at all possible.
In some instances, those charged with a DWI may be expected to equip an ignition interlock device on their vehicle when they’re able to drive again. A DWI charge and conviction both carry sentences in which you may not drive, and license suspensions can last anywhere from only 180 days to multiple years. When you’re able to drive again, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID).
This device has a built-in Breathalyzer test you must use each time you activate the vehicle to drive it. Only after you submit a Breathalyzer test will you be able to drive your vehicle. This measure seeks to prevent individuals from driving under the influence again, and the length of time it must remain in your vehicle depends on the unique details of your case.
For some, the device must only stay on for a year. For others, the device is near-permanent. If you may be required to install an ignition interlock device, turn to your defense attorney to explain what to expect and how long you’ll be required to keep it.
Every DWI case is different, and every judge is different, so you won’t know exactly what your legal penalties will be until the day of sentencing; however, there are some basic penalties that are mandated by statute, depending on the drunk driving crime you’re charged with.
Your penalties will depend on several factors: how many prior DWI convictions you have, whether your BAC was over the legal limit, whether you injured or killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol, and whether any children were in the vehicle while you were driving under the influence.
Your attorney can help you understand what to expect and explain their approach for fighting for your rights and combatting the case, using their honed skills and past successes to shape their strategies for your unique case.
The following is a table that shows some of the penalties for DWIs in Dallas, Texas.
|First Offense DWI
|Fine of up to $2,000; three to 180 days in jail; loss of license for up to one year; license retention fee of either $1,000 or $2,000
|Second Offense DWI
|Fine of up to $4,000; one month to up to one year in jail; loss of license for up to two years; license retention fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000
|Third or Subsequent Offense DWI
|Fine of $10,000; between two and ten years in prison; loss of license for up to two years; license retention fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000
|Fine of $10,000; between two and ten years in prison; loss of license for up to two years; license retention fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000
|DWI with Child Passenger
|Fine of up to $10,000; up to two years in state jail; loss of license for 180 days; license retention fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000
The penalties for a DWI can have serious impacts on your life, finances, and future livelihood. To prevent you from having a DWI on your record and steep bills to pay or jail time to serve, it’s crucial to partner with a skilled defense attorney ready to fight for you.
If you’ve been pulled over and charged with a DWI in Dallas, you might think that you have no chance of avoiding a conviction; after all, the officer believes you were driving intoxicated, and it’s their word against yours. The court will surely believe the officer over you, right? Actually, that’s not how the court system works.
If your case goes to trial, the jury must be convinced that you were driving while intoxicated. There can’t just be one piece of evidence, such as the police officer’s testimony. They won’t be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, as the police officer could have been mistaken. The jury will want to see multiple pieces of evidence that prove you were driving while intoxicated.
There are defenses available, even if there was a lot of evidence in your case. For instance, the breathalyzer test could have been faulty. Perhaps it was an older or malfunctioning model, or the person using the equipment didn’t know how. What if the field sobriety tests were inaccurate?If your lawyer can argue that they were inaccurate, your charges may shift or drop entirely.
Your Dallas DWI attorney will investigate your drunk driving case, examine every possible angle, and find the flaws in the prosecution. Then, they will work to put together a case designed to help you to avoid conviction or at least lower your charge to a much lesser offense. Below, here are some of the defenses your attorney could use to try to make your DWI charge a thing of the past.
No matter what your situation is, you can bet that an attorney can improve it. Never sign that plea agreement, or talk to police officers about your case, without consulting first with a Dallas drunk driving lawyer.
When you’re facing a DWI charge in Texas, it’s of the utmost importance to have a strong lawyer backing you and fighting for your future. At Chris Lewis & Associates, we’re here to help. We offer expert legal evaluation and support, and we advocate for your future in the courtroom to help you avoid harsh penalties that can follow you for the rest of your life.
Whether you’re facing your first DWI charge and want help navigating how the litigation process works or you’re facing your third or fourth DWI and need a skilled lawyer to help you reduce or eliminate the charges you face, we’re looking forward to serving your needs. Reach out to get started.
A DWI arrest can change your life. With a DWI on your record, you may serve lengthy jail sentences, owe high fines, and face a myriad of other negative consequences with your inability to drive. In the fight for your future, you’re not alone. You can count on our trusted legal team to defend you and bring our knowledge, skills, and commitment to fighting for your future into the courtroom to best defend you.
Make sure your rights are protected—let an experienced Dallas DWI lawyer with Chris Lewis & Associates P.C. fight for you. We’re committed to fighting for your rights and supporting you every step of the way.
Call 214-984-3113 or fill out the below contact form for more information.
Arrested for a DWI? We know how scary and disorienting the situation can be. Review some of these frequently asked questions to get started, and reach out to a DWI attorney from our firm for personalized legal counsel.
Breathalyzers and blood tests both measure your blood alcohol concentration. Blood tests are believed to be slightly higher in accuracy, and when an officer chooses to utilize a blood test instead of a Breathalyzer, this may actually benefit your case. One key advantage is the amount of time it can take to retrieve a blood sample and then measure the concentration. With this added time, you’re given an opportunity to lower your blood alcohol concentration as time passes and as you drink water. With a Breathalyzer, though they tend to be highly accurate, they can experience errors. Whether it’s a user error or the product malfunctions, your lawyer can help you assess if the testing method played a role in inflating your numbers and then build a compelling argument to reflect that.
In Texas, you may refuse a Breathalyzer test, but not without penalty. When you refuse a Breathalyzer, the officer can apply for the ability to obtain a blood sample. Though this may stretch out the time and allow your blood alcohol concentration to lower into the acceptable range, it’s not without consequences. Refusal of a breathalyzer will result in an automatic one-year license suspension. This suspension is taken very seriously, but should you be facing this charge already, know that your defense attorney can still advocate getting the charge lowered or suspended.
The cost of obtaining a lawyer in Dallas to fight your DWI arrest will depend on numerous factors, including the background of the lawyer you hire, the individual rates and fees associated with your attorney, and even the underlying facts of your case. Although obtaining an attorney is an expense that some would try to avoid, the reality is that the costs of a DWI conviction can be much higher. When you don’t hire a lawyer, you risk facing maximum penalties for your DWI and getting it on your record. This can have significant impacts to your job opportunities and whether you keep your current position. It can also force you to pay a large sum or serve jail time due to your sentencing. Hire a trusted, talented defense attorney to help save money by fighting against these harsh penalties.
The state of Texas aggressively prosecutes DWIs, imposing strict criminal and civil penalties on those convicted. One of these penalties is a potential three-day stint in county jail, even for first-time offenders. Although it’s possible you could be granted probation, the possibility of going to jail is one of the most important reasons to seek out an attorney to help avoid conviction.
This depends on your criminal record and whether you have prior DWI convictions. A baseline first-time DWI is usually a misdemeanor in the second degree. However, certain aggravating factors, such as driving under the influence with a minor below 15 years of age, can push this charge into felony territory. Felonies and misdemeanors are treated differently under the law. Where misdemeanors are reserved for smaller cases, felonies are reserved for more serious cases. Whatever your unique charge, your attorney can help explain how it will impact your future and how they will advocate against it.
With the help of an attorney, you could get your DWI charge reduced or even dismissed completely. An attorney can review your case to ensure that all evidence was legally obtained and that your rights have been upheld. In some cases, you can even have a DWI charge dropped outright. The approach your DWI lawyer takes will be dependent on the distinct nature of your case. No two DWIs are the same, and the strategy may differ between each case. When you work with a good defense attorney, they will take time to build your strongest case based on its specific details and what their research shows will be your best defense.
One consideration judges evaluate when determining how to properly penalize DWI cases is if it seems like the individual will repeat this behavior or whether they’ve learned from the incident. Your lawyer will often utilize elements of this in your defense. That signals to the judge that you’ve grown, you feel remorse for what you did, and you won’t drive under the influence again. If you opt to attend an alcohol rehabilitation program, that can be even more powerful for displaying to the judge and jury that you’re turning your behavior around and addressing the circumstances on your own. Though attending rehabilitation or a program for your drinking isn’t required unless court-ordered, if you decide to do so on your own, it can help showcase your willingness to change to judges, who may decide to reduce your penalties in turn.