If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, you could be facing serious penalties. Although DWIs are common, the consequences of a conviction may be far more severe than you might have previous thought. For this reason, it may be in your best interests to do everything in your power to fight back and dodge a conviction.
An experienced Fort Worth law firm could analyze the details of your case to determine which defense strategy is most likely to result in your acquittal. Continue reading to learn more about the criminal and lifestyle penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction in Texas and how you could defend yourself in court.
Criminal Penalties for a DWI in Texas
DWIs may occur with alarming frequency, but it isn’t because the penalties for a conviction aren’t harsh enough. Even first-time DWI offenders can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. For example, if this was your first time being arrested and charged with a DWI, you might expect to spend anywhere between seventy-two hours and six months in jail.
If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels were at 0.15% or greater, your jail time could be as long as one year. You could also pay up to $4,000 in fines (depending on what your BAC levels were. You will also have your license suspended for as much as one year.
Repeat offenders can expect to suffer more severe penalties. Depending on how many previous DWI offenses are on your record, you could be ordered to spend as much as ten years in prison, pay fines up to $10,000, have your license suspended for two years, and even be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) for as long as one year upon your release. Other requirements the court could impose on you include:
- Community service
- Completion of a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
- Completion of a driver retraining course
Other Consequences of a DWI
The aforementioned penalties are only the criminal consequences of being found guilty of a DWI in Texas. They are by no means the only ways your life can be affected by a criminal conviction. In addition to the criminal penalties of your DWI conviction, you can also expect your life to be changed in other ways. Some of the different ramifications you could experience if you are convicted of a DWI include:
- Feelings of shame or embarrassment
- Trouble with immigration or citizenship
- Loss of gun rights
- Loss of voting rights
- Trouble finding or retaining gainful employment
- Difficulty finding safe or affordable housing
- Loss of federal student aid
- Issues with child custody and visitation
These are only a few of the other ways your life could be affected if you are convicted of a DWI. This is not a crime you plead guilty to in order to move on with your life. A criminal defense lawyer can help you defend yourself at trial.
How to Avoid a Texas DWI Conviction
If you are as concerned about a guilty verdict as you should be, you’re probably starting to think about how you could defend yourself in court. There are many different factors that will be taken into consideration when your lawyer is working on your defense. The details of your case will determine which strategy is most likely to benefit you. Some of the more common DWI defenses that could help you include:
- Lack of probable cause
- Police misconduct
- Lab or procedural issues
- Medical conditions
- Mistake of fact
- Improper stop
- Improper field sobriety test or chemical testing