Texas DWI Attorneys
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If you have been charged with a Texas DWI (driving while intoxicated) there are two things that you need to consider:
1) Take your Texas DWI charge seriously.
2) Hire an experienced Texas DWI Lawyer.
Each Texas DWI lawyer at DWI.com offers an initial review of your case. Your inquiry is both free and confidential.
To begin fighting your Texas DWI (driving while intoxicated), use the drop-down menu above to locate a Texas DWI Attorney in your county. But do it now, as time is very critical in a Texas DWI case. Please remember that just because you have been arrested for a DWI in Texas, it doesn’t mean you are guilty. For instance with an Austin DWI, the police will arrest you for a DWI even if your breath test results are under the legal limit of .08.
Alcohol and drug-related traffic offenses, commonly known as driving while intoxicated (DWI), are frequently prosecuted criminal offenses in Texas. They are also subject to administrative penalties. If the alcohol concentration in a person’s blood, breath or urine is .08 percent or higher, the person is considered intoxicated by law.
With some circumstances under the Texas DWI laws, the legal definition of intoxication is met even if a person’s alcohol concentration is lower than .08 percent. Having alcohol, a drug or a controlled substance in one’s body that causes loss of normal use of mental or physical faculties also is considered intoxication. If the person is operating a vehicle, vessel or even water skis in a public place, he or she is considered to be driving while intoxicated, which is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. Boating or operating an aircraft while intoxicated also are crimes in Texas.
The minimum amount of jail time in Texas for driving while intoxicated is 72 hours, unless there is an open container of alcohol in the person’s possession, in which case the jail time is at least six days. Consuming any amount of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle also is an offense in Texas.
In addition to jail time, a person who is convicted of Texas DWI the first time will have his or her driver’s license suspended for 90 days to one year. Even if there is no conviction, the positive indication of alcohol from a blood, breath or urine test will result in automatic suspension of the person’s driver’s license. The person also may be required to complete an alcohol educational program for those who have operated motor vehicles while intoxicated. A person who fails to complete such a program when sentenced to do so may lose his or her license. A subsequent DWI conviction will result in driver’s license suspension for another 18 months. In order to get the license back after the suspension period is over, the person must pay $125.
Refusing to submit to a blood, breath or urine test in Texas also carries penalties. If an officer has reason to believe that a person is driving while intoxicated, and the driver refuses to submit to a test, the person’s driver’s license will be automatically suspended for a minimum of 90 days if the person is 21 years of age or older, and for at least one year if the person is under 21. The period of license suspension increases with every subsequent test that shows an alcohol concentration above the legal limit, and with each time a person refuses to submit to alcohol testing. For example, if a person refuses to be tested for intoxication and there has been an alcohol or drug related conviction or license suspension within the previous five years, the person will lose his or her license automatically for one year. Under any circumstances, however, the person is entitled to a hearing.
1. Driving on Roadway Laned for Traffic. Texas Transportation Code § 545.060
(a) An operator on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:
(1) shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane; and
(2) may not move from the lane unless that movement can be made safely.
2. Conditions requiring motor vehicle ignition interlock. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 17.441.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a magistrate shall require on release that a defendant charged with a subsequent offense under Sections 49.04-49.06, Penal Code, or an offense under Section 49.07 or 49.08 of that code:
(1) have installed on the motor vehicle owned by the defendant or on the vehicle most regularly driven by the defendant, a device that uses a deep-lung breath analysis mechanism to make impractical the operation of a motor vehicle if ethyl alcohol is detected in the breath of the operator; and
(2) not operate any motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with that device.
(b) The magistrate may not require the installation of the device if the magistrate finds that to require the device would not be in the best interest of justice.
2.1 Interlock as a condition of community supervision. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Ar. 42.12 § 13(i)
If it is shown on the trial of the offense that an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed … the court shoal require as a condition of community supervision that the defendant have the device installed on the appropriate vehicle and that the defendant not operate any motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with that device.
3. No Deferred Adjudication for Intoxication Offenses. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 5(d)(1)(a)
(d) In all other cases the judge may grant deferred adjudication unless:
(1) the defendant is charged with an offense:
(A) under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code; …
4. No Early Release for DWI. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 20(b)
(b) This section does not apply to a defendant convicted of an offense under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code …
5. Jail Time as a Condition of DWI Conviction. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.14, § 13(a)(1)
(a) A judge granting community supervision to a defendant convicted of an offense under Chapter 49, Penal Code, shall require as a condition of community supervision that the defendant submit to:
(1) not less than 72 hours of continuous confinement in county jail if the defendant was punished under Section 49.09(a); not less than five days of confinement in county jail if the defendant was punished under Section 49.09(b) or (c); or not less than 30 days of confinement in county jail if the defendant was convicted under Section 49.07; …
6. Enhanced Offenses and Penalties. Texas Penal Code § 49.09(a) & (b)
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an offense under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a Class A misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 30 days, if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted one time of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, an offense of operating an aircraft while intoxicated, an offense of operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or an offense of operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.
(b) An offense under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted:
(1) one time of an offense under Section 49.08 or an offense under the laws of another state if the offense contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense under Section 49.08; or
(2) two times of any other offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating an aircraft while intoxicated, operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.
7. Jury May Recommend That License not be Suspended. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 13(g)
(g) A jury that recommends community supervision for a person convicted of an offense under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code, may recommend that any driver’s license issued to the defendant under Chapter 521, Transportation Code, not be suspended. This subsection does not apply to a person punished under Section 49.09(a) or (b), Penal Code, and subject to Section 49.09(g) of that code.
8. Drivers License Suspension Periods for DWI. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 13(k)
(k) Notwithstanding Sections 521.344(d)-(l), Transportation Code, if the judge, under Subsection (h) or (j) of this section, permits or requires a defendant punished under Section 49.09, Penal Code, to attend an educational program as a condition of community supervision, or waives the required attendance for such a program, and the defendant has previously been required to attend such a program, or the required attendance at the program had been waived, the judge nonetheless shall order the suspension of the driver’s license, permit, or operating privilege of that person for a period determined by the judge according to the following schedule:
(1) not less than 90 days or more than 365 days, if the defendant is convicted under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code;
(2) not less than 180 days or more than two years, if the defendant is punished under Section 49.09(a) or (b), Penal Code; or
(3) not less than one year or more than two years, if the person is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code, committed within five years of the date on which the most recent preceding offense was committed.
9. Suspension of Minor’s License Upon DWI Conviction. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 13(n)
(n) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section or other law, the judge who places on community supervision a defendant who is younger than 21 years of age and convicted for an offense under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code, shall:
(1) order that the defendant’s driver’s license be suspended for 90 days beginning on the date that the person is placed on community supervision; and
(2) require as a condition of community supervision that the defendant not operate a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with the device described by Subsection (l) of this section.
10. Credit for ALR Refusal Suspension. Texas Transportation Code § 521.344
(c) The court shall credit toward the period of suspension a suspension imposed on the person for refusal to give a specimen under Chapter 724 if the refusal followed an arrest for the same offense for which the court is suspending the person’s license under this chapter. The court may not extend the credit to a person:
(1) who has been previously convicted of an offense under Section 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code; or
(2) whose period of suspension is governed by Section 521.342(b).
11. Community Service Provisions. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 16(a)
(a) A judge shall require as a condition of community supervision, that the defendant work a specified number of hours at community service project or projects for an organization or organizations approved by the judge and designated by the department, unless the judge determines and notes on the order placing the defendant on community supervision that:
(1) the defendant is physically or mentally incapable of participating in the project;
(2) participating in the project will work a hardship on the defendant or the defendant’s dependents;
(3) the defendant is to be confined in a substance abuse punishment facility as a condition of community supervision; or
(4) there is other good cause shown.
12. Community Supervision Does Not Have to be for Two Years. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 3(c)
(c) The maximum period of community supervision is two years.