Texas is one state where you do not want to receive a driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) conviction. It leads the country in DWI arrests, and courts have a low tolerance for this offense. They shell out harsh punishments and penalties for convictions at any level. Plus, DWI convictions do not fall off your record until a specific number of years have passed.
On top of all that, you risk damage to your personal and professional reputation, not to mention damaging your career, family, and future earning capacity. If you face a drunk driving charge, you need a DWI lawyer in Houston who knows the law and the science well enough to protect your reputation. An attorney from our law office will fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
When Can You Be Charged With a DWI in Houston?
A person may be charged with a DWI if they are 18 or older. To charge a person with DWI, the police officer only must believe it is more likely than not that the person has lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties or has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater.
Getting arrested for a DWI can be overwhelming and scary. You can face penalties such as jail time, probation, and fines. Our DWI attorneys in Houston could ensure that you don’t get taken advantage of and have the best chance to beat the charges.
How a Houston DWI Attorney Can Help
If you’re facing a DWI, you could expect your Houston DWI attorney to:
- Subpoena video footage from all police officers’ body cameras and dash cameras.
- Review the videos and offense reports to score your standardized field sobriety tests independently of the police officers.
- Review the lab work used to calculate your blood or breath test results.
- Fight to get your case dismissed.
- Argue your case to a jury at trial.
- Challenge every piece of evidence the state tries to use against you.
Your Rights Against Self Incrimination
While experiencing an arrest can be nerve-racking, it is important to remember you have rights against self-incrimination, which can include:
- The right to refuse to say anything to police officers other than your name and date of birth
- The right to refuse all standardized field sobriety tests
- The right to refuse a breathalyzer test or blood test
- The right to remain silent at all points throughout a police encounter
- The right to contact an attorney
A DWI Lawyer in Houston Will Review Plea Agreements
The Houston prosecution may offer you a plea bargain. This option is usually not a bargain and probably only includes a slightly lighter sentence than the maximum penalty. However, having a DWI lawyer review a plea agreement before you sign it is important, as your attorney can negotiate a better deal.
A DWI is a serious charge. It is important to avoid making a statement to law enforcement before you retain a criminal defense lawyer. We are committed to helping you move past this DWI arrest with minimal penalties. Call our criminal law firm for a review of your DWI case.
For a legal consultation with a dwi lawyer serving Houston, call 713-225-1900
How a Houston DWI Lawyer Can Help You Build a Strong DWI Case
A DWI conviction imposes serious, life-altering effects on a person. A criminal defense attorney at our law firm can fight your DWI charge. We will work for case dismissal or another resolution to keep a conviction off your record.
Your Houston DWI lawyer will help you by:
- Keeping you aware of any developments that occur in your DWI case
- Informing you of the things you can do to help your case
- Searching for evidence that supports your case
- Filing subpoenas for discovery
- Scrutinizing the evidence provided by the state
- Ensuring that a team member is always available to answer your questions
Houston DWI Attorney 713-225-1900
What Are the License and Criminal Penalties for a DWI in Texas?
A person stopped for a DWI can face serious penalties if they refuse a blood or alcohol test. They can also be penalized if they voluntarily give a breath or blood sample and have a BAC greater than 0.08%.
For example, you could face a minimum 180-day license suspension if you refused a breath or blood test. The Texas Department of Public Safety can also enforce a 90-day driver’s license suspension for failing a breath or blood test. Note that this possible driver’s license suspension is separate from the criminal case.
We can challenge the driver’s license suspension by requesting an administrative license (ALR) hearing. The ALR hearing must be requested within 15 days of the arrest.
Criminal Penalties for a Houston DWI
First-time DWI offenses in Houston are typically Class B misdemeanors. However, exceptions do apply as follows:
- If the arresting officer discovers an open container of alcohol in the vehicle as you were operating it, the charge remains a Class B misdemeanor but the minimum term in jail changes. This offense is punishable by a minimum of six days in the county jail.
- If a person’s BAC is 0.15% or more at the time of the test, the offense is enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor.
The punishment for a first-time offense DWI conviction depends on the specific facts of the DWI case. Enhancements may also apply to your drunk driving offense in the Houston area:
- Class B misdemeanor offenses are punishable by fines up to $2,000. You could also spend up to 180 days in county jail.
- Class A misdemeanor offenses are punishable by fines up to $4,000. You could also spend up to 365 days in the county jail.
If you’re facing a DWI in Houston, you want a criminal attorney who is an aggressive trial lawyer with the skills to win your case and protect your legal rights. This can go a long way toward fighting for the best possible outcome for your case.
Our lawyers have extensive trial experience, so you can rest easy knowing your team can handle your DWI case. We are committed to helping you move past this DWI arrest with minimal penalties.
Fines and Other Penalties Related to a DWI Conviction
Texas courts impose punishments based on the facts of one’s conviction, including:
- Additional fines of $3,000 for first-time convictions.
- Additional fines of $4,500 for first-time convictions with a BAC level of 0.15% or greater.
- Additional fines of $6,000 for second-time offenses
- Attendance at a Texas DWI Education Program
- Driver’s license suspension
- Requiring a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) from an insurance company
- A period of community supervision or probation
- Completing the Texas DWI Education class
- Ignition interlock restriction
Penalties for Intoxication Assault
Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony when the defendant causes severe bodily injury to another. The charge increases to a second-degree felony if:
- The injured party is in a vegetative state.
- The injured party is a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel.
Penalties for Intoxication Manslaughter
Intoxication manslaughter is an automatic second-degree felony. This occurs when the defendant causes the death of another person while intoxicated.
How Harris County Law Enforcement Proves Intoxication
The core element in a DWI is “intoxication.” Houston law enforcement believes they can identify intoxication using standardized field sobriety tests.
Law enforcement officers are trained to observe clues during field sobriety and breathalyzer tests to establish probable cause for one of the following:
- You do not have the normal use of your physical faculties
- You do not have the normal use of your mental faculties
- A valid chemical test indicates a BAC of 0.08% or more
Complete a DWI Case Evaluation form now
What You Need to Know About Drunk Driving Charges
Here are some fast things to know about drunk driving charges, some of which we’ve touched on already:
- Texas Penal Code Title 10, Chapter 49 defines drunk driving.
- Most (but not all) DWIs involve alcohol.
- The BAC limit for adults that are 21 and older is 0.08%.
- According to the Texas Department of Safety, the state has a zero-tolerance rule that applies to minors and adults under 21. Here, if you are younger than 21 and have any detectable levels of alcohol in your system, you can face a DUI charge.
To arrest you, law enforcement only needs probable cause to believe you have lost the normal use of your physical or mental faculties.
Law Enforcement Is Not Infallible
The police frequently obtain evidence illegally. However, they cannot use this evidence against you. If you refuse to consent to a blood test, law enforcement may try to obtain a search warrant for a blood draw.
Your Houston DWI attorney will get this evidence suppressed if law enforcement proceeds without your consent or fails to get a search warrant.
Law enforcement must also have a valid reason for pulling you over. If your stop is invalid, a lawyer will suppress all evidence obtained from the illegal traffic stop. For example, the police pulled you over without probable cause.
If you did not violate traffic laws, officers did not have probable cause. A lawyer can move to suppress any evidence found as a result of an illegal stop.
Your lawyer can explain the complexities of the legal system and ensure that the court hears your case and renders the right outcome.
What You Should Know About DWI Sentencing
It is important to consider hiring a Houston DWI lawyer if you face criminal charges. This is because you can receive jail time for a first-time DWI conviction. DWI punishments can also include:
- Probation or community supervision
- Community service
- Thousands of dollars in fines
- Revocation or automatic suspension of your driving privileges
- A conviction on your criminal record
- Auto insurance rate increases
Enhanced Punishments for DWI Convictions in Texas
The possible punishments and penalties for a DWI do not stop with the abovementioned penalties. Your previous DWI charges will also be a factor. If you have a previous DWI conviction, your current charge will upgrade to a Class A misdemeanor. This is punishable by a minimum of 30 days in jail.
A third or subsequent DWI is:
- A third-degree felony charge
- Two to 10 years in prison
- A potential license suspension of two years
- A $10,000 fine
Don’t leave your future to chance if this is your second or third DWI charge. Our legal team can defend your rights and pursue the best possible outcome.
Why You Should Work With a Houston DWI Defense Attorney
Punishment for DWIs can be costly. Working with a lawyer can protect your legal rights and ensure if there is a way to win, we will find it. DWIs show up on background checks. This can impact your employment options and career. If you are a rideshare driver and face a DWI, you may be unable to continue working.
Facing criminal charges can be unsettling. Your freedom is at stake. But a lawyer can represent your interests at trial. We will fight with the prosecutor to get you the best possible results. A Houston DWI attorney can gather and review the evidence against you and challenge it.
Facing drug charges can have serious legal penalties in Texas. Depending on the particular nature of the crime, you can expect to pay high fees and receive jail or prison time. A drug charge attorney can cover your need for legal counsel and offer guidance throughout the legal proceedings.
Our DWI Attorneys Will Build a DWI Defense Strategy for You
There are several defenses a Houston attorney can use to challenge a DWI charge:
Challenge Probable Cause
We could argue that the officer did not have probable cause to stop, detain, or arrest you. Law enforcement cannot pull you over for no reason.
Contest Reasonable Suspicion
If Houston police officers reasonably suspect someone is drunk driving, they can stop that person. Police can request they submit to a field sobriety test. But they cannot pull you over based on a hunch. They must have specific articulable facts indicating you committed a traffic violation or another crime.
This kind of stop isn’t always because of alcohol. You could have dropped your phone and accidentally swerved to pick it up. This situation might make law enforcement officers think that you were driving drunk.
We could argue that this was not enough evidence to justify detaining you any longer than it would take to give you a traffic ticket.
Question the Breathalyzer Reading
If you were given a breath alcohol test and failed, this could have been due to a breathalyzer malfunction. It also could be that the breathalyzer was defective. Even a person’s diet can impact breath test results. Either of these or other factors out of your control could have led to an inaccurate reading.
Prove the Officer Did Not Use the Breathalyzer Correctly
The officer who pulled you over could have failed to use the breathalyzer correctly, as the Texas Breath Alcohol Testing Program Operator’s Manual dictates. We could argue that this mistake led to an incorrect BAC reading.
Appealing a DWI Charge in Houston, Texas
According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, all criminal defendants can appeal a court’s judgment against them. The law says that any appeal must assert that the court did not apply the law correctly or that the court permitted improper behavior, which led to your eventual wrongful conviction.
These elements could warrant an appeal of a DWI conviction:
- The prosecutor conducted themself improperly.
- The court permitted testimony or evidence that should have been excluded.
- The court ruling was not founded on fact.
A DWI lawyer in Houston can present evidence supporting that one of the above errors occurred in your DWI case, significantly impacting its outcome. If the Court of Appeals agrees with the stated facts, it may decide to reverse the trial court and grant you a new trial for your driving under the influence case.
Should you lose the case on appeal, you still have recourse. Your Houston DWI attorney can file a petition for discretionary review with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
We Will Do Everything We Can to Help You Fight a Conviction
Your pending DWI charge has already put you under enough stress. Imagine the relief of handing this potentially life-altering matter over to someone who understands Texas’ complex DWI laws and will fight for your benefit, economic welfare, and freedom.
Our law firm will guide you through this uncertain time. A Houston DWI lawyer from our team will prepare your DWI defense and handle your case with a deep knowledge of field sobriety testing protocols, law enforcement methodology, and prosecution tactics.
Tell us about your charge, and we will ensure you understand your legal options. We know the tremendous impact a conviction can have on your life, freedom, career, and family. Let us help you stay on the right path.
Why Hire One of Our Houston DWI Lawyers for Your Defense Case?
Our team values our clients. We want you to have the best DWI lawyer in Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, or Galveston County.
Our practice areas include DWI cases as well as the following:
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Unlawful carrying of a weapon
- Drug crimes
- Probation violations
We Have a History of Positive Outcomes for DWI Claimants
Our founder and lead attorney, Jay Blass Cohen, is no stranger to DWI cases in Houston. He’s secured the following case results in Harris and Fort Bend counties:
- Our client was a commercial truck driver who caused an accident and failed all sobriety tests at the scene and the police station. The case went all the way to a not-guilty verdict.
- The police found our client asleep in his car on the road. He tested positive for a host of controlled substances. The case ended in a not-guilty verdict.
- Our client was a lawyer who was pulled over for his second DWI. He admitted to drinking and refused to take any sobriety tests. We secured a not-guilty verdict.
These are just some of the successful outcomes we’ve achieved for our clients. When you entrust your DWI case to us, you can rest assured that we’ll fight for the best possible outcome.
What Should I Do After Being Arrested for a DWI in Houston?
Once you’ve been arrested and charged with a DWI, all you can focus on is moving forward. We recommend hiring someone to represent you as soon as you can. The earlier we can get started on your case, the sooner we can start fighting for you.
We also recommend that you:
- Refrain from drinking: Most bond conditions in Harris County prohibit a defendant from consuming alcohol or drugs. Stay away from alcohol, as this could only compound the charges against you.
- Only speak with an attorney present: Law enforcement may want to ask you questions following your arrest. You don’t have to answer any questions without your lawyer present. The police aren’t kidding when they say, “Anything you say can and will be used against you.”
We can explain what other post-arrest measures you should take during your initial case review with us.
Contact a Houston DWI Lawyer Today for a Case Review
Worrying about what your future holds won’t help your situation. However, by working with an experienced attorney with a track record of success, you can reduce your penalties and even beat the charges.