How to Find a DWI Attorney in Texas
Being charged with a DWI in Texas can come with serious consequences. The state is known for tough penalties for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Consulting with an attorney after being charged with a DWI is the best way to keep penalties minimal and avoid marring a driving record permanently.
Driving While Impaired (DWI) Laws In Texas
The Texas Department of Transportation warns that consuming even one alcoholic drink makes a person impaired. It can be difficult to determine how many drinks will put a person over the legal limit, so it is best to have an alternate form of transportation when planning to consume alcohol away from home.
The legal definition of DWI in Texas is driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) concentration level over .08. Being under the influence of any type of illicit drug is also considered to be a DWI offense.
Anyone who drives with an open container of alcohol in their vehicle can be fined up to $500. Passengers can also be fined in this situation, and it is not necessary for anyone in the vehicle to have a BAC concentration level over .08 for this fine to be assessed.
Penalties For DWI In Texas
Texas is known for its strict DWI penalties. People who are charged with a DWI can be fined up to $10,000. Offenders with three or more convictions face the worst penalties, and it is possible for a person who has had previous DWI offenses to serve up to 10 years in jail.
A DWI conviction typically comes with a requirement for the offender to pay annual fees if they want to retain their license. These fees range from $1,000 to $2,000. Some people have their driving privileges suspended for one to two years.
Anyone who has two or more DWI convictions within a five-year period must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. This device requires a driver to exhale into the device to prove that the driver's BAC content level is below the legal limit before the ignition will start.
Reasons To Hire a DWI Attorney
Some people believe that they will just have to deal with the consequences of being charged with a DWI, but everyone should have representation when they are facing legal problems. Attorneys handles tasks including:
- Filing for an administrative hearing immediately after the charge is brought against a driver. This hearing is used to determine whether a driver will have their license suspended. Many people who go it alone do not realize that they have a short period of time to contest the suspension of their license, and failing to respond can lead to an automatic license suspension.
- Investigating the entire situation. The arresting officer is required to have had probable cause to pull a person over before charging the driver with a DWI. Attorneys investigate the situation to ensure that probable cause existed. If there was not a valid reason for pulling the driver over, the charges may be reduced or dropped.
- Determining whether the results of a sobriety test are accurate. Police officers may not be properly trained to administer these tests. BAC content also increases over time, so it is possible that a person was arrested before they were considered to be driving while under the influence.
- Cross-examining witnesses in a courtroom setting. Attorneys question police officers and any other witnesses to see if there could have been an error when the sobriety test was administered. Questioning witnesses can also determine if these individuals are consistent when asked about the details of the event.
- Working out a plea bargain with the district attorney. There are times when it is just not possible to fight a DWI charge. The facts all back up the charge, but the offender does not necessarily have to face the worst consequences as a result of their mistake. Attorneys can negotiate with district attorneys to keep penalties minimal.
- Dealing with insurance companies, people involved in an accident with the driver, the Texas Department of Transportation and the district attorney. Drivers who have been charged with a DWI may receive an overwhelming number of phone calls from all of these individuals. Attorneys field these calls to keep the stress off of their client.
Finding an Attorney
The U.S. Government provides valuable information about finding an attorney. Anyone who needs a DWI attorney in Texas should screen law firms that they are considering to ensure that they are only dealing with DWI attorneys.
Contact each attorney to ask if they offer a free initial consultation. This initial consultation offers an opportunity to learn more about the firm and determine whether the firm is able to handle the case. Clients can also request an estimate for the total cost of services during the consultation.
It is important to contact DWI attorneys as soon as possible after being charged with a DWI.