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What Penalties Can I Face After a First-Time DWI Arrest in Texas?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Georgetown criminal defense attorney DWI

Drunk driving can be very dangerous. Alcohol or drug use affects drivers in many ways, and it can lead to impairment of a person’s vision, coordination, and reaction time. Drivers need to be able to respond quickly to conditions on the road around them and take the appropriate action to avoid collisions. Drug or alcohol impairment can make it impossible to operate a vehicle safely, and because of this, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious criminal offense. While most people understand that they can face consequences if they drive while drunk, those who have not previously been arrested for DWI will likely be uncertain about the charges they may face or the procedures followed after they are arrested, and they will want to work with an attorney to determine their options for defending against first-time DWI charges.

First DWI Charges in Texas

In Texas and most other states, the legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent. If a police officer suspects that a driver is impaired, they may pull the driver over and ask them to take a portable breathalyzer test or submit to field sobriety tests. If the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver is impaired, they may perform an arrest. After an arrest, a person will be taken to a police station, and they will usually be asked to take chemical BAC tests of their breath or blood. If these tests show that a driver is above the legal BAC limit, they may be charged with DWI.

A first-time DWI is a Class B misdemeanor in most cases. A driver who is convicted of a first DWI may face penalties including jail time and fines of up to $2,000. The maximum prison sentence for a Class B misdemeanor is 180 days, and drivers will also face a minimum prison sentence of 72 hours, although if they had an open container of alcohol in their vehicle at the time of their arrest, the minimum sentence is six days. If the driver’s BAC was .15 percent or more, a first-time DWI may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, and penalties can include a jail sentence of up to one year and a maximum fine of $4,000.

The loss of one’s driver’s license is another consequence of a first-time DWI arrest in Texas. If a chemical test performed after an arrest shows that a driver was over the legal BAC limit, their license will be suspended for 90 days. If a driver refuses to take a BAC test, they will be subject to a 180-day license suspension. In some cases, drivers may be able to challenge a license suspension before it goes into effect, or they may be able to regain their driving privileges during the period of suspension by applying for an occupational driver’s license and having a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed in their vehicle.

Contact an Austin, Texas DWI Defense Lawyer

If you are facing first-time DWI charges, you will want to be sure to take the right steps to protect your rights and avoid a conviction when possible. At Morales Law Office, Attorneys at Law, PLLC., we can help you build a successful defense strategy, and we will advise you of your best options for avoiding serious consequences and maintaining your driving privileges. Contact our Travis County criminal defense attorneys today at 512-474-2222 to arrange a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.49.htm

https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/traffic/safety/sober-safe/intoxication.html

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