Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Intoxication Offenses
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is crime that is taken very seriously in Texas and with it comes very severe penalties and consequences. For many people, a DWI charge is their first encounter with the law, therefore it is very important for people to know and understand their legal rights. In any DWI case, it is crucial to have an experienced defense attorney who can help protect your rights. If you are convicted of a DWI offense you face substantial monetary penalties and fines, loss of your driver’s license, community service, and community supervision (supervised probation) for a period of years. As a former prosecutor who has handled hundreds of DWI and intoxication related cases over the course of her career, I will ensure that that the government has followed the law in your case. I will utilize my years of prosecutorial experience to provide you with the best representation and defense possible in your DWI case. Contact Eyler law offices at 214-540-7750 or email us from our contact page today to protect your legal rights.
Texas Implied Consent and Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
Texas has some of the strictest DWI laws in the United States. It also has one of the highest DWI rates in the country. Texas drivers need to know that Texas has the implied consent laws which mean that every person who has a Texas driver’s license automatically consents to a scientific, chemical test of their breath, blood, or urine to determine blood alcohol content or the presence of any intoxicating drugs.
Our local and state law enforcement has responded to the implied consent law by having “no-refusal weekends”, whereby they obtain a search warrant to obtain your blood even without your consent. This means that you cannot refuse to give them a blood specimen or they can “force” you to give a specimen. To make matters worse, if you refuse such a test your driver’s license will be confiscated and you will be issued a temporary driver’s license until your court hearing. During the hearing your test refusal will be used against you and the court may rule to suspend your driver’s license.
To get your driver’s license back you will have to attend an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing at the Texas Department of Public of Safety (DPS). Eyler Law Offices, will handle your ALR hearing, defend you against criminal charges and help you apply for an occupational or restrictive driver's license, which permits you to drive under certain specific conditions.
Texas Driving While Intoxicated Offenses and Consequences
In addition, our Texas government has responded by implementing stricter penalties for anyone who is convicted of DWI. As you can see by the following information, the penalties become more severe each time a person is convicted for a DWI offense.
First DWI offense (Class B Misdemeanor):
- up to a $2,000 fine
- 72 hours to 180 days in jail
- Driver’s license suspension: 90 days to 1 year
Second DWI offense (Class A Misdemeanor):
You need to know that if arrested and accused of a DWI Second or greater offense, Texas law requires the Court to order that the person to install and maintain a deep lung air device on the car that the person intends to drive and operate while DWI charges are pending. This will be a condition of release from jail while you are on bond. You are expected and required to breathe into this deep lung air device and give it a breath sample, each time you start your car. This machine will also require you to periodically give breath samples while driving to monitor and insure sobriety. You will lose every bit of your privacy in your car as this new technology has made these devices “user sensitive” so that someone else cannot blow into the device for the driver and some come included with dash cameras. You also face the following penalties for a 2nd DWI offense:
- up to a $4,000 fine
- 30 days to 1 year in jail
- Driver’s license suspension: 180 days to 2 years
Third DWI offense (3rd Degree Felony DWI):
A third time offender of Driving While Intoxicated typically indicates to the court that the person has a significant problem with alcohol. Generally there will be some type of rehabilitative treatment ordered in the punishment phase of your case, if confinement in the penitentiary is to be avoided. As an example, sometimes an in-patient, incarceration program, Substance Abuse Felony Probation (SAFP) is ordered. This particular program requires confinement in a Texas Corrections Facility for alcohol and drug rehabilitation. If you successfully complete the SAFP program, you will be released and put on probation for a term of up to ten (10) years. You will also face the following punishment as well:
- up to a $10,000 fine
- 2 to 10 years in penitentiary
- Deep lung air device
- Driver ‘s license suspension: 180 days to 2 years
- Community Service from 160 hours up to 600 hours
In addition to the above, if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, the range of consequences that you face include:
- Higher insurance rates
- Loss of driving privileges
- Loss of future employment opportunities
- A minimum $3,000 surcharge (fees paid to the State in addition to all other fines and penalties)
- A permanent criminal record
Intoxication Assault (3rd Degree Felony)
Intoxication assault charges generally follow a driving while intoxicated accident (drunk driving accident) where someone was injured or killed. What makes this type of case difficult is that the prosecution just has the burden of proving that you were intoxicated at the time of the accident. And they do not have to show that you intended to harm or cause injury to anyone before they file the charges.
The punishment for intoxication assault will be more severe than DWI offenses. An intoxication manslaughter assault punishment ranges from 2 to 10 years in a Texas Department of corrections facility and up to a $10,000 fine.
Intoxication Manslaughter (2nd Degree Felony)
Intoxication Manslaughter charges follow a driving while intoxicated accident (drunk driving accident) where someone that was involved in the accident was killed. Once again, just like Intoxication Assault, the prosecution does not have to prove you intended to kill anyone. They merely need to prove that you were intoxicated at the time of the accident and that the accident happened because you were intoxicated. The punishment for Intoxication Manslaughter is from 2 years to 20 years in a Texas Department of Corrections facility and up to a $10,000 fine.
If you have been charged with any Driving While Intoxicated offenses, it is important for you to immediately contact an aggressive and experienced defense attorney who can effectively handle your case. At Eyler Law Offices we will ensure your rights are protected. We will fight to make sure your rights are respected throughout the legal process. We will investigate your case to also ensure that the law enforcement officials followed the law and did not abuse their authority at any time in their investigation. Eyler Law Offices understand the high stakes in any DWI or intoxication case, and because of that you can count on us to vigorously defend your rights to ensure that justice is served.