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Reduce your chance of severe punishment by working with an aggressive Austin drunk driving attorney from Hines & Holub.
Many people wrongly assume that, because they have been arrested for a DWI, they're automatically guilty. There are many ways to defend against a drunk driving conviction, and it's in your best interest to do so. Driving while intoxicated is a serious conviction, and having a crime like that on your record can impact you for life.
You may automatically lose your drivers license for several months or years, often leading to job loss, as well. You may spend some time in jail, and future job prospects will be in jeopardy, even if the charge is just a misdemeanor. You'll pay hefty fines, and your DWI could ruin housing, job, and loan applications many years into the future.
You should fight with everything you've got because the legal penalties and the lifelong consequences of a DWI conviction are severe. Hire an Austin DWI lawyer who understands the importance of a clean record and will fight alongside you to get your drunk driving case dismissed.
Understanding Texas DWI Laws
In Texas, if you are driving drunk, the technical term is driving while intoxicated. Usually, for adults, this means that you are operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08. Although there is a "limit," you can still be charged with a DWI even if you don't meet that threshold. Doesn't seem fair, does it?
The reason the law allows for you to be charged with drunk driving even under the legal limit is different people handle alcohol differently. For example, you may have had only one alcoholic beverage and were under the legal limit, but because of the way alcohol affects your body, you were impaired. You may be a danger to others on the road.
So how can you avoid a DWI if you can still be charged when you don't even meet the legal limit? The best way is to never drive after consuming any alcohol at all. If you've been charged with driving while intoxicated in Austin, you can avoid a conviction by fighting the charge. You don't have to automatically admit guilt or give up.
Penalties for Texas DWIs
The legal penalties for Austin DWIs will depend heavily on your particular case. There are many circumstances that can take a first-time misdemeanor DWI and shoot it up to the felony level, such as driving drunk with a child in the vehicle. The below list is a general idea of the penalties you could be facing if you're convicted:
- First-Offense Texas DWI (Misdemeanor) - Up to six months in jail, up to one year with a suspended drivers license, fines up to $2,000, and additional fines and surcharges in order to keep your driver's license
- Second-Offense Texas DWI (Misdemeanor) - Up to one year in jail, up to two years with a suspended drivers license, fines up to $4,000, and additional fines and surcharges in order to keep your driver's license
- Third-Offense Texas DWI (Felony) - Between two and ten years in prison, more than two years of drivers license suspension, up to 10,000 in fines, community service, and possible rehabilitation program
Keep in mind that there are many ways in which penalties can be increased, such as injuring someone with your vehicle while intoxicated (intoxication assault).
Other Impacts an Austin DWI Conviction Can Have
For a minor misdemeanor DWI-perhaps a first offense-the penalties may not seem all that severe. Maybe you don't drive much and don't mind your license being suspended for a few months, or maybe the fine is no big deal for you.
Be aware that it's really the long-term consequences that could turn what seems like just a nuisance DWI conviction into a nightmare that never ends. Down the road, your criminal record could influence what kind of job you get, what kind of neighborhood you can live in, and what loans and government programs you qualify for.
Suddenly, that pesky Austin DWI charge has morphed into a monstrosity intent on destroying your life. That's why it's so important to fight against a conviction. Fighting the conviction with a lawyer's help will often lead to the prosecution reducing the charges. Reduced charges will have less severe impacts on your life.
Defenses Against an Austin DWI Charge
Even when you've been pulled over, been given a sobriety test, and submitted to a blood or breath test, that still doesn't make you guilty of a DWI. What makes you guilty is that you either pleaded guilty to an offense or the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law that you were driving while intoxicated.
For your offense to become a conviction, a jury of twelve people must be completely convinced that you were driving drunk and must find you guilty. There are many ways to put reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. One of those ways is demonstrating that sobriety tests aren't foolproof.
The following are some of the defenses your attorney can use to fight a conviction:
- Sobriety Test Issues - There are many ways to challenge sobriety tests. Perhaps you were doing the walk-and-turn test, but you're naturally clumsy, which led to you tripping.
- You Weren't Properly Mirandized - Officers must follow the legal procedures in order for your arrest to be valid.
- No Cause to Pull You Over - Police officers must have a valid reason for pulling you over, or the traffic stop could be deemed illegal.
- You Weren't Drunk - Maybe you weren't drinking at all, but you might have been taking a legal prescription medication.
Austin DWI FAQ
Your questions can be answered at any time when you call our office, but we have listed a few frequently asked questions below for your convenience.
Can minors be charged with a DWI?
Yes, but it's referred to as a DUI for minors. For drunk driving charge purposes, minors in Texas are those twenty-one years old and younger. They aren't legally allowed to drive with any alcohol in their systems.
What happens if I refuse a chemical test?
Drivers in Texas must give implied consent in order to operate a vehicle. Although it's your right to refuse a chemical test, the officer can still apply for a warrant to obtain a sample, and you could still be prosecuted for a DWI. Additionally, a refusal can result in an automatic administrative license suspension.
Will I have an ignition interlock device?
That is up to the judge who decides your case, but many who are convicted or plead guilty to DWIs in Austin must have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicles.
Call an Austin DWI Attorney
Drunk driving convictions can have a long-lasting impact on your life. The only way to avoid those negative effects is to avoid being convicted altogether. Your best chance of having your case dismissed or your charges dropped or reduced is to work with an attorney who has experience defending against DWI convictions.
Call our on-call attorney now to discuss your case.
No matter how complex your charges may seem, you can have peace of mind knowing our legal team is behind you. You aren’t in this battle alone. Get our Austin criminal attorneys on your side today.