Driving While Intoxicated

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most common criminal charges.  An individual may be accused of being intoxicated after drinking alcohol or using drugs. According to Texas law, an individual is intoxicated if their blood or breath alcohol concentration is equal to or greater than 0.08, or if the individual has lost the normal use of his or her mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol or drugs, whether possessed legally or illegally.  

Since these offenses specifically refer to "operating a motor vehicle," the law actually applies to all motor vehicles, whether a car, a boat, a tractor, or even a golf cart.  During your free consultation, we can further explain how the law applies to your particular case.

The Traffic Stop

DWI charges usually begin when someone is stopped by a police officer for an ordinary traffic violation such as speeding or failing to use a turn signal. Upon contact with the driver, an officer may believe he or she detects signs of intoxication.  These often include observations that the driver has bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, an odor of alcoholic beverages on the person's breath or the smell of drugs coming from the motor vehicle.  

When an officer makes such observations about the driver, this initial contact frequently leads to a request that the driver perform field sobriety tests, a series of physical actions directed by the officer and allegedly designed to reveal whether someone has lost the normal use of their mental and physical abilities.  In Texas, an individual is not required to agree to perform these field sobriety tests.  

An officer also may request that a driver blow into a portable breath test machine.  The driver is not required to blow into the portable machine;  in fact, the results of a portable breath test are often found to be unreliable and inadmissible in court.  We can explain your rights under Texas law in additional detail when you call for your free consultation. 

The Arrest for DWI

The officer's goal in making the observations and requesting the performance of field sobriety tests, and possibly the roadside breath sample, is to determine whether probable cause exists to arrest that driver for DWI.  If an officer believes he has developed probable cause that the driver is operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, the officer will likely place that driver under arrest and take the driver to jail.  

At the jail, the driver will likely be asked to perform additional field sobriety tests as well as to provide a breath or blood sample to determine the driver's breath/blood alcohol content. Contact us for more information on Texas law as it relates to what may or may not be required of you during a traffic stop.

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Mandatory Blood Draw

Texas law has evolved in recent years so that many more individuals have been subjected to a mandatory sampling of their blood. When you call for your free consultation, we will help you understand how the current state of Texas law applies to your case.

Important Deadlines

An arrest for Driving While Intoxicated can lead to the suspension of your driver's license. There is a process to attempt to remove the suspension of your driver's license, but this process must be handled quickly after the arrest.  There are deadlines that apply.  

If a license remains suspended, a request may be made that the court issue an individual an Occupational Driver's License, permitting the person to drive for a limited purpose such as work, school, and childcare. Having a valid driver's license is an important and fundamental part of life in the Dallas area.  We are here to help you with all license suspension issues. Contact us directly for more detailed information regarding your options so you can get back on the road as quickly as possible.

Suppression of Evidence 

Even good officers can and do make mistakes sometimes.  The circumstances of the traffic stop, the arrest, or the taking of a breath or blood sample may provide grounds for a motion to suppress evidence in a DWI case.  These are very fact-specific and an analysis must be made of how the law applies to each individual case.  Contact us to find out whether any grounds for suppression may apply to the facts and circumstances surrounding your case.

Penalties for DWI in Texas

The range of punishment for a DWI charge depends on several factors such as whether it is a first or repeat offense, an individual's breath or blood alcohol level, and other possible criminal history.  A first offense is usually a class B misdemeanor, punishable by probation or a period of county jail time not to exceed 6 months.  Even a first offense will become a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by probation or a period of county jail time not to exceed one year, if that driver is found to have a breath or blood alcohol level equal to or greater than 0.15.  A second DWI offense is also a Class A misdemeanor.  

If a driver has two or more prior DWI convictions, any subsequent arrest becomes a felony offense, punishable by 2-10 years in prison.  Each offense is also subject to a fine.  These are general descriptions only, and each case must be looked at individually for an accurate determination regarding the punishment range.  

Other DWI Consequences in Texas 

In addition to jail time or probation and a monetary fine, there are other consequences of a conviction for Driving While Intoxicated.  For example, some convictions will require the installation of an interlock device on your car, result in the suspension of your driver's license, or incur surcharges on the renewal of your driver's license.

Dallas DWI defense attorney

DWI is a serious allegation and you need an experienced and aggressive lawyer on your side. Contact the attorneys of the Harris & Harris Law Group today to discuss your rights under Texas law.