Houston, TX, is one place you do not want to face a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction. Texas leads the country in DWI arrests and courts have a low tolerance for DWI offenders. They shell out harsh punishments and penalties for convictions at any level and a DWI conviction doesn’t fall off your record after a certain number of years.
On top of it all, you risk damage to your personal and professional reputation. Not to mention damaging your career, family, and future earning capacity. If you face a DWI charge, you want a Houston DWI lawyer who knows the law and the science to protect your reputation. Blass Law 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 years of age or older. To charge a person with DWI the police officer only must believe it’s more likely than not 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. Your DWI attorney in Houston, TX, can ensure that you don’t get screwed and have the best chance possible to beat the charges.
If you’re facing a DWI, you should hire a Houston DWI attorney who will:
- 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
While experiencing an arrest can be nerve-racking, it is important to remember that 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 any and 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
The Houston prosecution may offer you a plea bargain. This is usually not a bargain at all and probably only includes a sentence that is less than the maximum penalty. However, it is important to have a DWI lawyer review a plea agreement before you sign it, as your attorney can definitely 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 lawyer. We are committed to helping you move past this DWI arrest with minimal penalties. Call Blass Law 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 Blass Law can fight your DWI charge. We will work for a dismissal of the case 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 the 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 Penalties for a DWI in Texas?
If you‘re facing a DWI in Houston, TX, you want an attorney who knows and wants 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.
With a Houston-based DWI lawyer from Blass Law, you can rest easy knowing that you have the best DWI defense team in Houston, TX. We are committed to helping you move past this DWI arrest with minimal penalties.
There are two parts to a drunk driving case: the driver’s license case and the criminal case.
What happens when a person is charged with a DWI in the Houston area? If they refuse to give a specimen of their breath and/or blood, they can face serious penalties. They can also be penalized if they voluntarily give a sample of breath and/or blood and have a BAC of greater than 0.08%. The Texas Department of Public Safety can suspend their driver’s license for failing a breath or blood test for 90 days.
If the driver refused a breath or blood test, the driver could face a minimum 180-day license suspension. Note that this possible driver’s license suspension is separate from the criminal case.
We can challenge the drivers license suspension by requesting a hearing. This is referred to as an ALR hearing. ALR stands for administrative license revocation hearing. A hearing must be requested within 15 days of the arrest.
First-offense DWIs 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 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. There may also be enhancements that apply to your drunk driving offense in the Houston area. This includes:
- 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.
Fines and Other Penalties of a DWI Conviction
Texas courts impose these punishments based on the facts of one’s conviction:
- 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, sometimes called DWI Offender Education
- 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, and it’s when the defendant causes serious bodily injury to another person. 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.
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How Houston Law Enforcement Proves Intoxication
The core element in a DWI is “intoxication.” Texas law enforcement in the Houston area believes they can identify intoxication using standardized field sobriety tests.
Law enforcement is trained to observe clues during field sobriety and breathalyzer tests to establish probable cause that:
- You do not have the normal use of your physical faculties; or
- You do not have the normal use of your mental faculties; or
- A valid chemical test indicates a BAC of 0.08% or more.
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 .08%.
- Texas has a zero-tolerance rule that applies to minors and adults under the age of 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 must simply have probable cause to believe you have lost the normal use of your physical and/or mental faculties.
Law Enforcement Isn’t 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. What happens if law enforcement proceeds without your consent or fails to get a search warrant? Your Houston DWI attorney will get this evidence suppressed.
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, let’s say 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. They can 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/community supervision
- Community service
- Revocation or suspension of your driving privileges
- A conviction on your criminal record
- Auto insurance rates can increase
Enhanced Punishments for DWI Convictions in Texas
The possible punishments and penalties for a DWI do not stop with the penalties mentioned above. 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 May Want to Work With a Houston DWI 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 in Houston can cover your legal options and offer guidance throughout the legal proceedings.
The DWI Attorneys at Blass Law Will Build a DWI Defense Strategy for You
There are several defenses a Houston DWI 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 without a reason why.
Contest Reasonable Suspicion
If Houston police officers have reasonable suspicion that 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 isn’t always because of alcohol. You could have dropped your phone and accidentally swerved to pick it up. This might make the officer think that you could have been driving drunk. We could argue that this was not enough evidence to justify detaining you any longer than to give a traffic ticket.
The Breathalyzer Did Not Give an Accurate Reading
If you were given a breath alcohol test and failed, this could have been due to a breathalyzer malfunction. This could also have happened because the breathalyzer is a piece of junk. A person’s diet can impact breath test results. Either of these or even other factors out of your control could have led to an inaccurate reading.
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 have the right to 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, either of which led to your eventual, wrongful conviction.
These elements could warrant an appeal of a DWI conviction:
- The prosecutor conducted himself or herself improperly.
- The court permitted testimony or evidence that should have been excluded.
- The court ruling was not founded in fact.
A DWI lawyer in Houston, TX, can present evidence supporting that one of the above errors occurred in your DWI case, rendering a significant impact on 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.
Blass Law will stand by your side through this difficult time. A Houston DWI lawyer from our team will prepare your DWI defense, handling your case with a deep knowledge of standardized field sobriety testing protocols, law enforcement procedures, and prosecutorial tactics. Tell us about your charge, and we will make certain you understand your legal options.
We know the tremendous difference a conviction can make in your life, your freedom, your career, and your family. Let us help you stay on the right path.
Why Hire a Blass Law Houston DWI Lawyer 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 and 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 some of these outcomes for defendants in Harris and Fort Bend counties:
- Our client was a commercial truck driver who caused an accident and failed all sobriety tests—both at the accident scene and at 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 positive 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.
Hear What Previous Clients Have to Share About Blass Law
When our previous clients share their experiences about working with Blass Law, they say:
- “I contacted Jay last year after I had been arrested and charged with a Class B Misdemeanor. I was very nervous about being convicted of this crime but Jay always assured me he was going to fight to get the best outcome possible for me. Several months later Jay got the case dismissed!” —Jake S.
- “I feel that Jay worked in my best interest with extreme integrity throughout the entire process and my case was eventually dismissed. I would 10/10 recommend Jay and Blass law firm for any criminal law issues you may encounter.” —Nicole M.
- “I used Jay Cohen for my first DWI (and only). I gotta say I made the BEST decision going with Jay and his team. Not only was my case dismissed after 6 months on the dot, but his attention and guidance through it all really helped me achieve my dismissal.” —Claudia D.
Out of 12 client reviews on Avvo, we have a solid five-star rating. We also have a similar rating on Google Reviews. We hope these testimonials speak to our commitment.
What Should I Do After Being Arrested for a DWI in Houston?
Once you’ve been arrested and charged with a DWI, the only thing 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 following your case review.
Call Blass Law Today for a Case Review
Reach out and call Blass Law today to learn about what our team can do for you and your family.
You do not need to be scared about what your future holds. We cannot get to work on your case until we hear from you. Call us now, as time is of the essence.