A charge of driving while intoxicated can drastically alter a person’s life. This crime is deemed to be especially serious by law enforcement agencies and the justice system. As the rate of DWI incidents has increased, the penalties for this crime have become steadily more strict and severe. These penalties are quickly amplified if any other people were injured in the incident or if the alleged guilty person has a previous DWI charge. Defending against a DWI charge in Texas can prove to be very difficult.
Penalties for Drunk Driving
A conviction for a charge of DWI is penalized in several ways. First, the arrested individual will be booked into jail until they can post bond. Next, the arrested person’s driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 90 days up to one year. It is important to schedule an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing in order to avoid the loss of one’s driving privileges. Finally, a fine will be assessed, and the individual will be placed on probation. Some of the specific penalties include:
- Incarceration: Typically, a person arrested for DWI will be able to pay bond and get out of jail. However, if they cannot afford their bond or if someone else cannot post the bond for them, they can remain in jail for a minimum of 72 hours up to a maximum of 180 days.
- License suspension: If the individual submits to a breath or blood test to determine the concentration of alcohol in their body, their license will typically be suspended for 90 days. If they refuse to submit to the test, their license can be automatically revoked for six months.
- Community supervision or probation: For most first-time DWI offenders, a jail sentence will be suspended, and the individual will be placed on probation. During this probation, the convicted individual will have to make monthly reports to a probation officer and pay monthly fees. The judge may choose to impose additional probation conditions, such as mandatory drug and alcohol classes or community service. If the person violates a condition of probation, he or she may have to serve time in jail.
- Fines: The standard fine of $2,000 for a first-time DWI offender may not sound like a great deal of money to be paid out over the course of a probation period. However, this fee does not include court costs, lawyer costs or the cost of DWI education classes.
Charged With a Crime in Houston?
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A Houston DWI Attorney Can Defend You
There are a few ways to defend against a DWI charge. An experienced criminal defense attorney will first try to make the prosecution prove that there was probable cause to make the traffic stop.
Next, the DWI attorney may try to show that the arresting officer did not follow proper procedure. For example, if the attorney can prove that a breathalyzer test was administered incorrectly, the resulting blood alcohol concentration (BAC) report can be deemed inadmissible.
To learn more about DWI penalties and the possible legal defenses against charges, call 713-877-9400 to schedule an appointment with the criminal defense attorneys at Madrid Law.