Houston DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) Defense Lawyer
A D.W.I. arrest is stressful. You must contend with jail time, high fines, and the loss of your drivers license. Luckily, there are many ways an experienced Houston DWI attorney can defend a D.W.I. case.
On this page, I will outline my 2010-2013 Houston DWI case results, cover some of the essentials of Texas D.W.I. law and defending a Houston D.W.I. case.
2010-2013 Houston DWI Charge Case Results
Here are some of my recent case results related specifically to DWI charges:
Case: State of Texas v. C.Z.
Charge: Driving while Intoxicated
Result: Not guilty
If you need an aggressive and experienced DWI lawyer or attorney in Houston, feel free to Contact Me to discuss your case at (713) 487-7575. Or read more below.
Penalties for DWI in Texas
Here are the possible penalties for D.W.I. and other intoxication offenses:
- D.W.I. 1st Offense—probation; 3 to 180 days in jail; up to a $2000 fine; possible drivers license suspension of 90 to 365 days.
- D.W.I. 2nd Offense—probation; 30 to 365 days in jail; up to a $4000 fine; drivers license suspension of 180 days to 2 years.
- D.W.I. 3rd Offense—probation; 2 to 10 years in prison; up to a $10,000 fine; drivers license suspension from 180 days to 2 years.
- D.W.I. Child Passenger– probation; six months to 2 years in state jail; up to a $10,000 fine; drivers license suspension from 180 days to 2 years.
- Intoxication Assault—probation; 2 to 10 years in prison; up to a $10,000 fine; possible drivers license suspension of 90-365 days.
- Intoxication Manslaughter—probation; 2 to 20 years in prison; up to a $10,000 fine; possible drivers license suspension from 180 days to 2 years.
- Furthermore, with a D.W.I. conviction, DPS can charge you a surcharge of $1000 to $2000 a year for three years to keep your drivers license.
In Harris County, another possible punishment option is a pretrial diversion program known as DIVERT. Please see my DIVERT page for more information.
The Law on DWI in Texas
The core D.W.I. law is found in Texas Penal Code Section 49.04 and reads:
“A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.”
This definition requires us to define “intoxicated.”
“Intoxicated” is defined in Penal Code Section 49.01 and can be proved by the state in two ways:
One, the state can prove that you did not having the “normal use of mental or physical faculties” because of alcohol, drugs, or any other substance.
Or the state can prove you were intoxicated because your blood alcohol as measured by a machine or blood test was over the legal limit of .08.
So, basically, the state can prove their case against by showing one of three things:
- You drove a vehicle in a public place and did not have the normal use of your mental abilities because of alcohol or drugs.
- You drove a vehicle in a public place and did not have the normal use of your physical faculties because of alcohol or drugs.
- While driving a vehicle in a public place, your blood alcohol level was over the legal limit as measured by a breath or blood test.
Defenses To DUI Charges
A. The Stop
- Your defense starts with the way the officer made contact with you. For example, if the officer pulled you over in your car, he must have had a legal reason to stop you.
- If we can prove the officer did not have a legal reason to pull you over, then the case can possibly be dismissed (even if you scored horribly on the breath test).
B. The Field Sobriety Tests
- Your defense will also include challenging the field sobriety tests and the administration of them by the police officer. The standard field sobriety tests are known as horizontal gaze nystagmus, one legged stand and walk and turn.
- The officer who gave you the tests must have followed proper procedure developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Often, police officers fail to administer the tests properly. Thus, we can challenge that the tests do not accurately reflect intoxication.
C. The Breath or Blood Test
- Cases are usually easier to win if there is not a breath or blood test. However, there are ways to challenge the accuracy of both tests. For example, the breath test machine may not have been working properly at the time of your test. Or, with a blood test, for example, drawn blood must be immediately refrigerated or the accuracy of the test can be questioned.
D. The Video
- Usually, the police officer’s patrol car is equipped with video, and the field sobriety tests are recorded. We will want to watch the video and see how you look. If you appear sober in the video, you have a great argument for having your D.W.I. dismissed.
A DWI & Your Drivers License
As noted above in the penalties section, your drivers license can be suspended upon conviction of D.W.I. This suspension occurs at the conclusion of your case. It is part of the punishment.
Furthermore, the State can also suspend your drivers license if during your arrest you refused to take a breath or blood test or if you failed the breath or blood test. Thus, if you are arrested for D.W.I. you will be contending with two cases—your criminal prosecution and a drivers license suspension case.
The drivers license case is known as the A.L.R. or administrative license revocation proceeding.
This suspension becomes active 40 days after the refusal or failure unless you request a hearing within 15 days of his or her request.
For someone over 21 years old, the drivers license suspension based on a refusal to take a breath or blood test is 180 days. The suspension for someone who took the breath or blood test and failed the test is 90 days.
For more information about my defense of those charged with D.W.I. in Houston, please Contact Me at (713) 487-7575.