A DWI in Texas is a very serious offense and can result in hefty fines, license suspension, and even jail time. It is imperative to seek the help of a Montgomery County DWI lawyer who can help you navigate your first offense, walk you through the complex legal system, and build a robust defense strategy.
Attorney Jay Blass Cohen and our criminal defense team at Blass Law understand the gravity of these charges and are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for your first DWI offense.
What Is DWI Charge in Texas?
According to our Montgomery County criminal defense lawyers, a DWI in Texas refers to driving while intoxicated, which is operating a motor vehicle while having lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties, or having a blood alcohol concentration greater than 0.08, per Texas Penal Code § 49.10. In Texas, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%. However, a driver can still be arrested if the police officer suspects they do not have “normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug…or any other substance into the body.”
This means that even if you don’t have alcohol in your system, any signs of impairment can still result in an arrest. Even a first offense DWI can have a major impact on your life and career, leaving you with a criminal record.
For a legal consultation with a first offense lawyer serving Montgomery County, call 713-225-1900
Texas DWI Penalties Based on Offenses
In Texas, the legal penalties for a DWI conviction can be quite severe.
A first offense DWI conviction in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor, as outlined in Texas Penal Code § 12.03. If you are convicted, you can be sentenced to up to six months in jail, a $2,000 fine, and suspension of your driver’s license for 90 days to one year.
However, registering a BAC of greater than 0.15% can result in a Class A misdemeanor, per Texas Penal Code § 49.04. This comes with the possibility of jail time for 72 hours to one year, fines up to $4,000, and suspension of your driver’s license for 90 days to one year.
A second Texas DWI offense can also result in a Class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this offense, you can be sentenced to 30 days to one year in jail, fines up to $4,000, and suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days up to two years.
A third Texas DWI offense can result in a third-degree felony. If you are convicted of a third or subsequent DWI offense, you face a prison term of 2-10 years, fines up to $10,000, and suspension of your driver’s license for 180 days up to two years.
Other circumstances that could increase the severity of your penalties include having an open alcohol container in your vehicle, driving with a child while intoxicated, and causing bodily injury or death.
In addition to legal penalties, there are other potential consequences of a DWI conviction, including job loss and the inability to obtain other employment or personal loans. Criminal convictions – even misdemeanors – will appear on any criminal background checks run by state agencies, public and private employers, and others who have an interest in your character, reputation, and qualifications.
In many instances, a Montgomery County first offense DWI lawyer from Blass Law can help you achieve the most favorable outcome in your case and avoid some or all of these consequences.
Montgomery County First Offense Attorney 713-225-1900
What Are the Common Defenses Used for First Offense DWIs?
There are many defenses commonly used by Montgomery County first offense DWI attorneys that can help people in this situation. Some of the most common defenses include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, questioning the accuracy/validity of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results, and arguing that your rights were violated during the arrest process.
Challenging the Legality of a Traffic Stop
This defense strategy typically involves questioning whether the officer had enough reasonable suspicion that you were intoxicated to pull you over or if they observed an actual traffic violation. Examples that may warrant reasonable suspicion include speeding, tailgating, swerving, braking or changing lanes too abruptly, responding too slowly to traffic signals, and others. The officer may also have pulled you over for a simple, routine traffic violation, such as a broken taillight or headlight.
If there was reasonable suspicion, the officer may have had probable cause to arrest you based on their observations. An arrest typically occurs if you fail a field sobriety or breathalyzer test or if the officer determines you were acting intoxicated. However, if it can be shown that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause, this could bring into question if subsequent evidence gathered should be omitted from the case – or whether the prosecution has a case at all.
Questioning the Accuracy/Validity of Sobriety Tests
Another common defense strategy for DWIs is questioning the accuracy/validity of sobriety tests administered by law enforcement. This involves challenging the reliability of field sobriety tests or breathalyzers, which can be affected by factors such as improper use, defective equipment, or health conditions or medications that may affect the results.
Casting doubt on the accuracy of these tests can undermine the prosecutor’s case, potentially leading to a reduction or even a dismissal of the charges.
Identifying Rights Violations
Identifying potential rights violations, such as your Fourth Amendment right to not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures, may help your criminal defense attorney build a defense against a DWI.
Under the Fifth Amendment, you also have the right to remain silent during a police interrogation and speak with a defense attorney. If police neglected to read you your Miranda rights after taking you into custody and interrogating you, this could be used in your defense.
Having a criminal defense lawyer point out any rights violations can cast further doubt on the prosecution’s case and potentially lead to the omission of information they plan to use as evidence.
Contact Attorney Jay Blass Cohen for Help With a First Offense DWI Charge
Attorney Jay Cohen is certified as an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist and in forensic chromatography for alcohol and drugs, is a practitioner and instructor in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and has completed training as a Drug Recognition Expert. With his vast experience in handling DWI cases, Jay can provide you with the counsel and representation you need to navigate the challenging and often scary legal process.
If you are facing first offense DWI charges in Montgomery County and need a defense attorney, contact Jay today for a confidential consultation to discuss your case and the best course of action to protect your rights. The entire team at Blass Law is dedicated to fighting tirelessly for clients and securing the most favorable outcome.