Getting pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) marks the start of a stressful period for a driver. From that point on, every move and every decision can yield serious consequences.
Having the right legal defense lawyer by your side can make all the difference when it comes to whether you have to pay a fine and, if so, how high it will be, as well as whether you will have to serve time in jail or prison and, if so, for how long.
A Stafford DWI lawyer from Eddington Worley Attorneys can represent you and protect your rights as you face Texas prosecutors in the serious matter of your DWI charge. Call us today at 855-600-6695 for a free consultation.
How Law Enforcement Can Prove Intoxication
If you are pulled over in Stafford, Texas for suspicion of DWI, the law enforcement team will conduct field sobriety testing in an effort to prove you are intoxicated. They can establish intoxication if any of the following statements are true:
- You are not exhibiting the normal use of mental faculties as a result of the consumption of alcohol, a controlled substance, drug, or a combination of these and other substances.
- You are not exhibiting the normal use of your physical faculties as a result of the consumption of alcohol, a controlled substance, drug, or a combination of these and other substances.
- You have tested positive for a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
Understanding Your Rights to Refuse BAC Testing
In the state of Texas, you give your implied consent to a breathalyzer or blood test in any case where you are arrested for DWI. However, before your arrest, you have the right to refuse BAC testing, as well as any sobriety tests, but you will face penalties for acting on this right.
When you refuse a breathalyzer test, you must contact the Texas Department of Public Safety to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing within 15 days of the arrest. If you miss the deadline, your license will be automatically suspended.
The ALR hearing will determine whether your license will be suspended due to your refusal of BAC testing. The civil proceeding will review your DWI history and administer the appropriate suspension as follows:
- First-time breathalyzer refusal – Maximum 180 days suspension
- Prior DWI – Maximum two years suspension
- Prior breathalyzer refusal – Maximum two years suspension
Situations Where a BAC Test Can Be Administered Without Your Consent
Law enforcement officers can compel you to undergo a breathalyzer or blood test if they believe you were driving while intoxicated in a public place and at least one of the following statements is true:
- You had been previously convicted of a DWI with a minor age 14 or younger in your vehicle.
- You had previously experienced a DWI accident in which an individual was taken to the hospital, sustained serious bodily injury, or died.
- You have had two or more prior DWI convictions.
- You have had a prior intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter conviction
Punishment and Penalties for DWI in Stafford, Texas
Under Texas Penal Code Ch 49.04 – Driving While Intoxicated, a DWI is considered a Class B misdemeanor. The minimum confinement for this offense is 72 hours. There are exceptions, as follows:
- If you are found with an open container of alcohol while operating your vehicle at the time of your offense. In this case, the offense is still a Class B misdemeanor, but you face a minimum confinement term of six days.
- If at the time of your offense, your breathalyzer or blood test analysis reveals a BAC of 0.15 or higher, the offense is escalated to a Class A misdemeanor.
Punishments and Penalties for Class A and Class B Misdemeanors
Class A misdemeanors generate a fine up to $4,000 and/or a jail term of a maximum of one year. Class B misdemeanors generate a fine up to $2,000 and/or a jail term of a maximum of 180 days.
Punishment Enhancements for DWI Offenses
The Texas Penal Code Ch 49.04 also makes special provisions for previous DWI offenses. In cases where the defendant has a prior DWI conviction, any subsequent offense is enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor and will require a minimum of 30 days of confinement. Previous convictions of intoxication manslaughter or similar offenses from another state result in being charged with a third-degree felony, as do two prior convictions of any DWI offense.
Punishments and Penalties for Third-Degree Felonies
Third-degree felonies result in imprisonment for two to 10 years with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, as well as a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Suspensions and Surcharges for DWI Offenses in Stafford, Texas
It is possible that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will impose surcharges, which will be assessed annually for three years. If you do not pay these surcharges, you could have your licenses suspended for as long as two years.
The possible surcharges are as follows:
- First-offense DWI – $1,000
- Subsequent Offense DWI – $1,500
- DWI with BAC of 1.16 or higher – $2,000
Finding a Stafford DWI Lawyer Plays an Important Role in Your Future
It is plain to see that Texas does not mess around when it comes to DWI arrests, charges, punishments, and penalties. The state has a distinct advantage in your case: everyone knows Texas DWI laws and how to apply them in your prosecution. You will want to consider the importance of leveling that playing field by hiring a Stafford DWI lawyer who knows the ins and outs of law enforcement procedures for DWIs, including sobriety testing, to make sure your rights are protected.
A Stafford DWI lawyer from Eddington Worley Attorneys can stand by you, explain your legal options going forward, and protect your rights with law enforcement and courts of law. Call us today at 855-600-6695 for a free consultation.