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What are the penalties for a DWI conviction in Texas?

Texas DWI attorney

When it comes to drunk driving, Texas doesn't mess around. If you're pulled over by police, they will ask questions, administer roadside tests, and observe your behavior to determine if you were driving impaired. You could be placed under arrest if they find that you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. You could then be facing harsh legal consequences if convicted of DWI.

Texas police tend to be more aggressive when searching for DWI suspects at night, during holidays, or other times when people are most likely to consume alcohol. An experienced Texas DWI attorney discusses the penalties you could likely face if you're arrested and charged.

DWI penalties in Texas

According to Texas Penal Code Title 10, Chapter 49, these are the penalties you could face if convicted for DWI in Texas:

  • A first time DWI conviction can result in:
    • Up to 180 days in jail (3 days of which are mandatory)
    • A fine of up to $2,000
    • Loss of driver's license for up to one year
  • A second DWI conviction can result in:
    • Up to a year in jail (one month of which is mandatory)
    • A fine of up to $4,000
    • Loss of driver's license for up to two years
  • A third DWI conviction can result in:
    • Up to 10 years in prison (two years of which are mandatory)
    • A fine of up to $10,000
    • Loss of driver's license for up to two years
  • A conviction for driving drunk with a child passenger can result in:
    • Up to two years in jail
    • A fine of up to $10,000
    • Loss of driver's license for up to two years
  • Those convicted of DWI in Texas also face state fines between $3,000 and $6,000.

How to take your case seriously from the start

Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer has seen how certain mistakes can lead to innocent people being convicted of DWI. First, remember that the police can interpret anything you say as an admittance of guilt. You could argue during a traffic stop that you didn't have anything to drink, or you only had a few drinks. Arguing for your innocence is more dangerous than you think. It's best to exercise your right to remain silent and consult with an attorney if you are placed under arrest.

It's also important to acknowledge that police sometimes make errors that lead to DWI arrests. For example, the breath tests that police administer have been found to be flawed and have yielded inaccurate results in many cases. You are required to take a breath test if it's administered by an officer under Texas's implied consent law, but the test doesn't prove your guilt by itself. Even if it reads a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, your attorney can dispute these results in court.

If you're facing DWI charges, the attorneys at Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer can devise a strong legal defense to help you fight the charges. We know that no two cases are alike. We'll launch a thorough investigation into your arrest and the methods used by police to gather incriminating evidence against you. To find out how we can help, contact our Texas law firm and schedule your free DWI case evaluation.

Commonly asked questions about DWI in Texas

Texas DWI attorney

Being charged with a DWI in Texas is a serious matter. Not only will you face the immediate legal consequences of jail time, hefty fines and loss of driving privileges if convicted, you could have a difficult time finding employment for years after.

Should you find yourself stopped by police or facing DWI charges, it's critical that you know your rights. The attorneys at Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer answer the most crucial questions regarding traffic stops, roadside tests and DWI arrests.

Are sobriety checkpoints legal in Texas?

Sobriety checkpoints are conducted in most states, but not in Texas. That's because Texas's interpretation of the U.S. constitution in a 1991 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling stated it violated drivers' Fourth Amendment rights. This interpretation of the law was a specific ban on sobriety checkpoints.

Just because checkpoints aren't legal in Texas doesn't mean police won't use other methods to catch suspected drunk drivers. If you are driving late at night or during a holiday weekend — when police are most likely to crack down on drunk drivers — an officer may follow you or pull you over for the smallest infraction.

What should I expect during a traffic stop?

If you're pulled over by police, it's important that you remain as calm as possible and do what is required of you. You are required to give the officer your driver's license and vehicle registration. You are also required to give the officer your name and essential information, and get out of your car if you're asked to do so.

Here's what you're not required to do at a traffic stop:

  • Answer any other questions an officer asks you. This might include questions like:
    • How much have you had to drink tonight?
    • Where are you coming from?
    • What are you up to?
    • Where are you going?
  • Agree to a vehicle search without a warrant. If an officer doesn't have a warrant to search your car, you are under no obligation to agree to a search. If an officer searches your car without your consent, any evidence produced against you will be inadmissible in court.

Am I required to take a field sobriety test?

Police often administer field sobriety tests to determine if a person suspected of drunk driving is intoxicated. There are generally three field sobriety tests:

  • The walk and turn test — walking toe-to-heel, turning and repeating.
  • One leg stand test — standing on one leg and counting until asked to stop.
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test — following a small object side-to-side with your eyes.

In Texas, you are not required to take this test. There are no legal consequences for refusing a field sobriety test.

Do I have to take a breath test?

Technically, you can refuse to take a breath test, but you will face legal consequences in Texas. Under Texas's implied consent law, you could lose your driver's license for 180 days if it's your first time refusing a breath test.

Penalties can become more serious for second or subsequent refusals. In many cases, the results from a breath test are inaccurate. If you're facing DWI charges based on the breath test results, an experienced Texas attorney can dispute the results in court.

What happens if I'm charged with more than one DWI?

A first-time offense results in six months in jail, a $2,000 fine, license suspension from 90 days to one year, and a license reinstatement fee of $3,000. If you're charged with a second or subsequent DWI in Texas, you could face harsh legal consequences.

For a second DWI conviction, you could face:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • Possible driver's license suspension between 180 days and two years

For a third DWI conviction, you could face:

  • A felony charge
  • 2-10 years of incarceration
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Driver's license suspension for up to two years

What is the best way to fight my Texas DWI charge?

The best way to fight a DWI charge is to practice your right to remain silent and consult with an experienced Texas DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer can investigate the details surrounding your arrest and the evidence brought against you. Our lawyers will present the facts and devise a legal strategy to help you fight the charges in court.

To find out how we can help you, fill out our online contact form and schedule your free case evaluation.

How can a DWI attorney challenge a blood test in court?

Texas DWI attorney

If you were arrested and charged with a DWI in Texas, a prosecutor would need a sufficient amount of evidence to convict you. If a police officer suspects that you have been driving drunk during a traffic stop, you may be questioned and asked to perform a field sobriety test or roadside breath test.

Blood alcohol concentration testing often goes beyond roadside breath tests. In many cases, breathalyzers produce inaccurate results. To cover their tracks, police may administer blood tests or other chemical tests once you have been booked at the police station.

After a DWI arrest, you are required to take a blood or chemical test under Texas's implied consent law. If you refuse to take one of these tests, you could lose your driver's license for 180 days and up to two years. Even if you take a blood or chemical test and it reveals that you had a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater, you are not out of legal options. An experienced Texas DWI attorney can investigate and potentially dispute the results in court.

Common flaws in DWI blood tests

Blood tests are not fool proof and there are many mistakes during blood drawing procedures that can throw off the results. Here are some examples on how blood tests can produce inaccurate results:

  • Blood sample contamination: In some cases, blood samples can be contaminated with germs and other outside substances. This is common when there are no sanitary precautions taken before drawing blood. In other cases, needles that are cleaned with a non-alcoholic solution called Betadine can contaminate the blood if the Betadine doesn't completely dry. The drying process can take about 30 seconds.
  • Improper storage of blood sample: Blood samples must be properly refrigerated after blood has been drawn before it can be taken to a laboratory. In addition, a witness must be present to see the proper storage of the blood sample. Failure to do both can significantly affect the integrity of blood samples.
  • Lack of proper amount of sodium fluoride: The right amount of sodium fluoride must be present in a blood sample in order to prevent fermentation. If fermentation occurs, the BAC results can be completely thrown off.

Why hire a Texas DWI attorney to dispute my blood test results?

Being arrested and charged with DWI is not an endgame. There are often many issues that can be raised by your attorney in the courtroom after a thorough investigation has been conducted. If there is lack of evidence that a blood test was properly administered, your attorney may be able to fight your DWI charges.

If you are facing DWI charges, the Texas DWI defense attorneys at Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer would like to review the details surrounding your arrest. We can also devise a strong legal defense strategy that can make a difference between your freedom and the harsh consequences that come with a DWI charge.

Contact us online to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.

Why Would A DWI Case Get Thrown Out In Court?

Texas DWI attorney

If you have been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), it’s easy to think you don’t have any options. The police officer took a breathalyzer test soon after they stopped you. Or maybe they took a blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

But just because you were stopped and charged with DWI doesn’t mean you will automatically be convicted of driving under the influence. There are many circumstances in which DWI cases get thrown out of court. That’s why it’s important to fully understand your legal options.

DWI criminal defense attorney Amanda Webb and her legal team at The Webb Firm, P.C. in Conroe, Texas are familiar with the reasons why DWI cases are thrown out of court. Below, you can learn more about some of the reasons why. We also strongly encourage you to contact our firm since each case often has its own, unique circumstances. No two DWI cases are exactly alike.

What are some of the reasons why DWI cases are thrown out of court?

There are many reasons why DWI charges are thrown out of court and charges are dismissed. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • The traffic stop was not valid – Police officers need to have a reason to stop someone on the road. Specifically, they need to have a “reasonable suspicion” that you are under the influence of alcohol or appear to be violating the rules of the road. If the police cannot properly demonstrate why they stopped you, any evidence obtained during your traffic stop may be inadmissible in court, including any breathalyzer or field sobriety test results.
  • The field sobriety test was not valid – Some police departments ask people stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated to take a field sobriety test (FST). Such roadside tests include a one-leg stand (OLS), the walk and turn test (WAT) and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). However, such test results are often thrown out of court for many different reasons, including:
    • The lighting conditions were too dark and caused the driver to make mistakes.
    • The pavement surface was uneven and the driver reasonably lost their balance.
    • The driver was not wearing the proper footwear, including sandals.
    • The police officer did not properly explain the test before administering it.
  • Chemical tests were not done properly – Police officers need to follow very strict rules and guidelines when administering chemical tests to determine if someone is legally intoxicated. Such tests often include breathalyzer tests, urine tests and blood tests. When mistakes are made, the test results may not be accurate and should be thrown out of court.
  • Test samples were not stored properly – Test samples from BAC blood tests, urine tests and breathalyzer tests need to be stored properly in a temperature-controlled environment. Otherwise, the samples can become contaminated and may affect test results based on improperly stored samples.
  • Questions about who was driving – This situation happens more often than many people might realize. If a police officer arrives at the scene of a solo car accident and it’s not clear who was driving, the officer cannot simply assume who was driving the car. Just because you own the car, for example, doesn’t mean you were the driver. And unless police can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you were driving the car, your DWI case may be dismissed in court.

If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas, don’t simply assume that you will be convicted of DWI. Learn more about your legal options and schedule a free consultation with one of our Montgomery County DWI defense attorneys at our law firm. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

The Call You Need to Make After Being Arrested for DWI

Texas DWI attorney

Every year in the U.S., more than 10,000 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. That means that every day, approximately 30 people are involved in fatal crashes caused by drunk drivers. With those staggering numbers in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that driving while intoxicated (DWI) is considered a serious crime and something that all states, including Texas, are constantly trying to combat.

One of the biggest campaigns to battle the DWI epidemic is the 2020 national enforcement mobilization "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," which officially goes into effect across the country from August 19 to September 7, 2020.

During this time, law enforcement officials will be on high alert and on the lookout to stop drivers for suspicion of DWI. While those who make the decision to drink and drive can be pulled over and charged with driving while intoxicated, sometimes police make mistakes and arrest innocent drivers, too.

What is the punishment for a DWI in Texas?

In Texas, a DWI conviction carries severe consequences and harsh penalties. For first-time offenders, you could face up to six months in jail, a $2,000 fine and the loss of your license for up to a year. DWI with a passenger younger than 15 can also result in severe punishment. Multiple DWI convictions may result in up to 10 years of jail time and fines as high as $10,000 – not to mention the annual fees you may be forced to pay if you want to keep your driver’s license.

What mistakes do police make during a DWI stop?

Common mistakes that law enforcement officers make when stopping drivers for suspicion of DWI include:

  • Stopping a driver based solely on an anonymous 911 call
  • Following a driver to their residence without permission or probable cause
  • Making an arrest based on just the statements of the driver
  • Detaining a driver for longer than necessary
  • Stopping a driver based on a “hunch”
  • Stopping a driver solely for the purpose of checking the driver’s license and registration
  • Stopping a driver for driving too slow or too fast without further proof of DWI
  • Stopping a driver for weaving within a single lane
  • Making a mistake about a traffic violation
  • Failure to follow Texas Breath Testing Regulations
  • Failure to follow DWI training
  • Arresting drivers who are not intoxicated

Let DWI defense attorney Amanda Webb protect your rights

DWI and DWI charges should always be taken seriously, which is why you should take every measure possible to protect your rights and keep your freedom. With so much at stake, getting experienced representation from a qualified DWI defense lawyer is critical.

DWI defense attorney Amanda Webb has been practicing criminal defense in Montgomery County since 2009 and has an in-depth understanding of the court system and DWI laws in Texas. If you were arrested for DWI in Conroe or anywhere in the Houston area, give your case the attention it deserves and contact us today.