An arrest for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI/DUI) does not mean that you are a criminal, a drunk or a bad person. More people are falsely accused and convicted of DWI than any other crime. A single police officer’s subjective opinion that you may be intoxicated is all it takes for you to find yourself handcuffed in the back of a police car. DWI carries severe consequences and requires that you take immediate action to protect your rights. In fact, if you failed or refused to take a breath or blood test, the State has already begun the process to take away your driver’s license. You should retain a qualified DWI attorney as soon as possible.
A single arrest for DWI may give rise to three cases in three distinct judicial forums. These include 1) the criminal charge which will be litigated in the criminal court; 2) the administrative license revocation (ALR) proceeding wherein the state will seek to suspend your driver’s license; and 3) a civil proceeding initiated by you to obtain an occupational driver’s license which will allow you to drive to and from work while your driver’ license is suspended. Each of these is discussed in greater detail.
Elements of DWI
A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. “Intoxicated” means: a) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or b) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
'Alcohol concentration' means the number of grams of alcohol per: a) 210 liters of breath; b) 100 milliliters of blood; or c) 67 milliliters of urine.
You May Lose Your Driver’s License Unless You Act Now
At the time of your arrest, the police officer likely presented you with a Notice of Suspension/Temporary Driving Permit (DIC ' 25). Hopefully you have thoroughly read this document and are aware that your driver’s license will automatically be suspended 40 days from the date of arrest (or the date you were served with the notice, whichever is later) unless you or your attorney request a hearing in the manner prescribed by law. The importance of requesting this hearing can not be overstated. If you retain me, this is the first formal step I will take to protect your legal rights and preserve your right to drive.
Occupational Driver’s License
An arrest for DWI can lead to suspension of your driver’s license under two circumstances 1) ALR suspension as a result of refusing to take or failing a breath/blood test; 2) consequence of criminal conviction for DWI. If you drive while your license is under suspension, you may be charged with Driving While License Suspended, a misdemeanor. If you do so while on probation for your DWI offense, you risk having your probation revoked.
An occupational driver’s license is a restricted license issued by DPS which allows you to drive to and from work, school and in the performance of necessary household duties during the period of suspension. The license may limit the times you are allowed to drive to specified hours, counties or roadways. Alternatively, the court may authorize you to keep a log detailing your driving activities which can be inspected to ensure that your driving does not exceed what the judge has authorized.
Driving While Intoxicated is a class B misdemeanor with a range of punishment of 3 to 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000.00. However, Texas law increases punishment for persons with prior DWI convictions. An individual who pleads 'guilty' or 'no contest' to a DWI charge may not received deferred adjudication. In addition to criminal penalties, a person convicted of a first DWI will be required to pay a surcharge of $1,000.00 per year for three years as a condition to maintaining his license. The surcharge increases for persons with prior convictions.
most circumstances a person convicted of DWI for the first time will not be required to spend time in jail but will, upon his timely application, receive community supervision (probation). The maximum term of probation is 2 years. As a condition of probation the person will be ordered to pay a fine, report to a probation officer, perform community service, abstain from the use of alcohol and attend an alcohol education course. In addition, a person’s driver’s license may be suspended for up to 1 year. However, if you receive community supervision and take the court ordered alcohol education course you will be able to keep your license.
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You may feel overwhelmed after reviewing the information provided at this and other sites. That's OK. DWI is a highly specialized area of the law and it may take a while for you to fully understand the process. You have taken the first step by visiting this site. Your next step is to find an attorney you feel comfortable with. My office offers a free telephone or in-person consultation. Call 713-981-4200 now to schedule an appointment.
The information presented at this website is intended to provide you with a brief overview of Texas DWI law. You should consult a qualified DWI lawyer to protect your legal rights immediately!