Experienced DUI/DWI Defense
DWI charges are some of the most common criminal offenses filed, but for many people who face these charges, there is nothing common about the ordeal. For many people, a DUI/DWI arrest and prosecution marks the first time they have ever experienced the criminal justice system up close and personal. It can be a very frightening experience. For this reason, you should enlist a DWI defense attorney to build your DUI/DWI defense immediately.
What Is a DWI?
In Texas, you are guilty of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a crime. Like all other states, Texas prohibits you from driving with a 0.08 blood-alcohol content (BAC). This threshold drops to a 0.04 BAC if you’re driving a commercial vehicle, like a tractor trailer or a dump truck.
In addition to a DWI, you might also face additional charges if you refused to participate in blood-alcohol testing or caused a serious car crash that injured or killed someone.
Notably, drugged driving is a different crime in Texas, although it has similar penalties to a DWI. Unlike DWI, there isn’t a specific threshold for drugged driving cases. Instead, the prosecutor must show that you were under the influence of prescription or illicit substances that impaired your ability to drive. While the defenses for drugged driving are similar to DWI defense, they are not identical. If you were charged with a DWI or drugged driving, it’s always in your best interest to consult with a lawyer who focused on DWI defense.
What Are the Penalties for a DWI Conviction?
Under Texas law, a first-offense DWI is considered a Class B misdemeanor. Conviction can bring a jail sentence of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000. Other factors could increase your sentence. The penalties get harsher with every subsequent offense. For example, a third offense is considered a felony, meaning that you could face more than a year behind bars.
Additionally, you might face an aggravated DWI under certain circumstances, including:
- Driving with a BAC of 0.18% or more
- Drunk driving while a child under the age of 15 is in your vehicle
DWI With a Minor in the Vehicle
The penalties for drunk driving with a minor in your vehicle are particularly severe. It’s considered a Class E felony and carries a minimum sentence of one year and a maximum sentence of four years.
If Someone Was Injured
- Intoxication assault: a maximum 10 years prison sentence (more if the victim was a first responder), up to $10,000 in fines, community service, substance abuse counseling, and other penalties
- Intoxication manslaughter: up to 99 years in prison, a maximum of $10,000 in fines, community service, substance abuse counseling, and other penalties
Driver Privileges Suspended
You can also have your driving privileges suspended, which can make it difficult or impossible to get to work, go to the store or do all the thousands of things we Texans rely upon our cars to do. If you’re a commercial driver or trucker, a DWI conviction can lead to the loss of your job and professional licenses.
Ignition Interlock System
Even if you don’t lose your driving privileges, you might have to install an ignition interlock system in your vehicle. In order to operate your car or truck, you’ll have to blow into a device that measures your blood-alcohol content. If you test positive, your car will not start for a period of time. While these devices can keep you behind the wheel, they are expensive and some people find them embarrassing and burdensome.
Conviction on Your Record
What’s more, being convicted on the charges means that you will have a conviction on your permanent record. Even after serving your time, your status as a felon will hurt your chances of finding employment or even housing.
What Should I Do if I’m Arrested for DWI?
If you’re stopped for a DWI, do your best to remain polite and professional. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to make a statement or explain your behavior. Instead, simply provide the officer with essential information, such as your name and driver’s license. Remember, your statements can be used against you by the prosecutor.
While Texas law requires that you participate in a blood-alcohol test, field sobriety tests aren’t mandatory. If the police officer asks you to walk in a straight line or perform other roadside tests before they arrest you, you can politely decline. These tests aren’t scientifically accurate and roadside conditions (such as uneven terrain) can impact your performance.
Finally, if you’re arrested, you should immediately, contact a DWI defense lawyer. The sooner we can start working on your case, the better.
You Might Have Powerful Defenses in Your DWI Case
You might feel embarrassed or ashamed about your DWI charges. However, don’t panic. Depending on your circumstances, a DWI defense lawyer might identify valuable defenses that prove your innocence or help you avoid jail time. They might include:
- Lack of probable cause to stop or arrest you
- Failure to issue your Miranda rights
- Other procedural mistakes the police made during your stop and arrest
- Improper reliance on roadside or field sobriety tests by the police officer
- Errors in how the authorities administered your blood-alcohol or breathalyzer testing
- Improper calibration of the breathalyzer or other testing equipment
We understand that every DWI case is unique. Before we build your customized defense strategy, our DWI defense lawyer will listen to your story, investigate your case,and apply Texas law to your circumstances. Our goal is to help you avoid or minimize your criminal penalties and regain control of a potentially overwhelming situation.
Facing a DWI? A DWI Defense Lawyer Will Fight for Your Future
With so much at stake, it is important to have the help of a lawyer who is experienced in DWI defense. DWI defense is a highly technical and specialized field. It involves a careful analysis, aggressive representation, and skillful trial presentation. The average person simply doesn’t have the skills and knowledge needed to defend themselves. Because your freedom and reputation are invaluable, you should contact a DWI defense attorney immediately after being charged with drunk or drugged driving.
At the Tyler, Texas, office of John Eastland, Attorney at Law, P.C., DWI defense is all we do, and we do it well. We help people with a variety of issues related to DUI/DWI defense, such as:
- DWI first offense
- Repeat offenses
- Suspended license
- Intoxicated assault
- Intoxicated manslaughter
By concentrating on DWI defense, we have learned not only the law, but the procedures and strategies that can help you to fight for your future.
We have also learned that every case is unique, just as every client is unique. A cookie-cutter approach to DWI defense won’t work. To properly represent you, we have to tailor our approach to your exact circumstances. Just as importantly, we treat our clients with the respect they deserve. You are innocent until proven guilty. When you work with John Eastland, our job is to guide you through the criminal justice system, educate you about your legal options, and vigorously protect your constitutional rights.
Contact a DWI Defense Attorney
If you are facing DWI charges, it’s important to start your defense right away. Call John Eastland, Attorney at Law, P.C., at 903-471-3223. You can also contact us by email. We represent people from Tyler, Texas, Smith County and statewide.