What To Do If You Face DWI Charges
Driving while intoxicated is a hefty charge that’s taken seriously in the courts of law. Intoxicated driving causes hundreds of crashes each year, resulting in thousands of injuries and fatalities. Because of the dangers of intoxicated driving, DWI charges severely impact your life. Working with a DWI defense attorney can help you reduce the penalties associated with DWI charges and sort through the court and DMV procedures.
Understanding Your DWI Charge
DWI stands for ‘driving while intoxicated.’ It’s a serious charge that carries hefty fines and other penalties with it. Texas law considers a driver ‘influenced’ if their blood alcohol level reaches .08 or higher. This is the amount of alcohol legally considered to impact your driving abilities, including reducing reaction times and balance. Driving while intoxicated makes you more likely to get into an accident, causing injury and sometimes death. Because of their severity, Texas laws strictly handles DWI charges. Although there is often little room to work with, a DWI defense attorney can still help you with your defense.
No-Accident DWI Penalties
As long as there was no accident resulting in bodily injury or property damage, DWI charges are treated as Class B misdemeanors. The penalties you can face depend on how many DWI offenses you have had in the past. Penalties include:
- $2000 fine
- 180 days in jail
- One-year license suspension
- $4000 fine
- One year in jail
- Two-year license suspension
- $1000 fine
- Ten years in jail
- Two-year license suspension
However, these are only for charges that can fall into the Class B status. Driving while intoxicated often results in accidents, which lead to varying degrees of criminal status and penalties.
You could be charged with intoxication assault if you caused an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury. Texas law defines ‘serious bodily injury’ as any injury that results in a substantial risk of death or permanent disfigurement/impairment of any bodily member or organ. Texas courts treat intoxication assault as a felony of the third degree and often apply heftier penalties.
When an accident caused by intoxicated driving results in someone’s death, the driver is charged with intoxication manslaughter. Texas courts treat intoxication manslaughter as a felony of the second degree. It is the most severe charge one can face and, therefore, has the most severe penalties.
Additional DWI Charges
For DWI charges that don’t result in death or severe bodily harm, you can still face additional charges depending on the situation.
BAC over .15
If your blood alcohol level is between .08 and .14, your charge will fall under the regular DWI charges and penalties. However, driving with a blood alcohol content level over .15 bumps the charge up to a Class A misdemeanor. The starting penalties for a first offense in this category are a fine of $4000 and 1 year of jail time.
Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger
Texas law considers any passenger under the age of 15 to be a child passenger. If you are found to be driving while intoxicated with a child passenger in the vehicle, you will also be charged with child endangerment. Texas law considers DWI with a child passenger a state jail felony. The penalties include:
- A fine of up to $10000
- Up to 2 years in state jail
- An additional 180-day license suspension
Sobriety Test Refusal
Texas is a No-Refusal state, meaning that whenever you drive, you are giving consent to take a sobriety test. Police officers cannot forcefully perform a sobriety test without a warrant. Refusal to take a sobriety test, however, will result in the automatic suspension of your license.
Contact a DWI Defense Attorney
If you face DWI charges, you’ll want to contact a DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. With a defense attorney on your side, you’ll be able to better understand the charges you face and how to build your defense. Your attorney can help you navigate the often confusing process of DWI court and DMV proceedings. Many judges are likely to offer a plea bargain to first-time offenders whose DWI charges did not result in injury or property damage. Working with a DWI defense attorney allows you to take full advantage of this deal and secure minimal penalties.
Tyler, Texas DWI Defense Attorney
The Hager Law Firm provides dedicated, unwavering support for our clients. If you face a DWI charge, you’ll want a DWI defense attorney fighting for you. We’ll work hard to get to the bottom of your charges and build a strong defense that will aim to minimize penalties. We’ll deal with the court and the DMV to help you keep your life on track. Call The Hager Law Firm today at (903) 466-0001 to schedule a consultation.