For most people, a DWI it is simply the result of a wrong move or honest belief that their blood alcohol content (BAC) was below the .08 legal limit. No one plans to get pulled over for drunk driving, which is why many people are not prepared for the situation.
If you have been pulled over for DWI, you likely have many questions. The attorneys at The Law Office of Shawn C. Brown, PC, will answer as many as possible in a free initial consultation when you call us at 210-265-6290 or email us.
While you should only rely on the advice of an attorney for your specific case, below are some of the common questions our clients ask about DWI charges and our general responses.
- What are the penalties for a first-offense DWI? Mandatory jail term of three to 180 days, maximum of $2,000 fine (unless a child is in the car) and license suspension of 90 days to one year.
- What are the penalties for a second-offense DWI? Minimum jail term of 30 days to one year, maximum of $4,000 fine (unless a child is in the car), license suspension of 180 days to two years and ignition interlock device.
- What are the penalties for a third-offense DWI? Minimum jail term of two years, maximum of $10,000 fine, license suspension of 180 days to two years and ignition interlock device.
- What happens to my driver's license if I am arrested for DWI? The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will automatically suspend your driver's license for a minimum of 90 days.
- Can I contest license suspension? Yes, but you have no more than 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing.
- If I blew over a .08 BAC is my case hopeless? No. There are many ways to defend against a breath test, including challenging the reliability of the test results or the legality of the initial traffic stop.
- What if I refused to submit to a breath test? When you choose to drive in Texas, by law, you agree to submit to a chemical test when you are pulled over with probable cause, otherwise known as implied consent. You can always refuse a test, but the implied consent law means that you will be automatically be subject to a fine and license suspension for a minimum of 180 days.
- Will I have to take drug or alcohol classes? You could. These are often required in drunk or drugged driving cases.
- Will I be required to install an ignition interlock device? Possibly. It is often required in cases involving an accident, if a child was in the vehicle or if you have a prior DWI on your record.
- How far back does the court look for prior offenses? There is no "look-back" period for prior offenses. This means that if you have ever been convicted of a DWI, even if it was 30 years ago, it can still be used to enhance penalties in a current drunk driving case.
- Who pays for the ignition interlock device? You are responsible for paying all fees to have the device installed and maintained throughout the course of the required period.
- What happens if I'm pulled over under the age of 21? The legal limit for driving for those who are under 21 is .02 BAC, which means you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or DWI. You could also face additional fines and penalties for charges such as underage drinking, minor in possession, child endangerment if there are other minors in the vehicle, possession of false identification if you have a fake ID, soliciting alcohol and other moving violations, depending on the circumstances. Many insurance companies drop coverage after an underage DUI, refuse to renew a policy or raise the monthly premium, sometimes as much as several hundred dollars. You need proof of insurance to renew your driver's license.
- What if I have a commercial driver's license? Even if you are not on duty at the time, you could lose your CDL. The legal limit for commercial drivers is .04 BAC.
- Does it matter where I was pulled over? Yes. If you are stopped on federal property, such as a military base, your case will be prosecuted in federal court before a judge, not a jury.
- How much does a DWI conviction cost? Statutory fines based on the level of offense (mentioned above) are not the only expense associated with a DWI. You must also pay court fees and costs related to hearings, ignition interlock devices, treatment or vehicle safety classes and surcharges paid to DPS (up to three years) for the renewal of your license.
- Can I afford to hire a lawyer for my DWI? Yes. Our initial consultations are free. We offer extremely competitive rates and work with you to come up with a payment plan that you can afford. With our help, you may also be able to reduce the criminal fines and other costs, making hiring us an even wiser financial decision.
Still Have Questions About A DWI Arrest? Call Today For A Free Consultation.
If you have been stopped for DWI, you need a serious drunk driving defense. Contact us immediately to get started building your case. We offer free initial consultations to all prospective clients. Moreover, we answer our phones and respond to messages 24/7. Call our office in San Antonio at 210-265-6290 or email us. We represent individuals pulled over across South Texas. Hablamos español.