If you’ve found yourself under the unenviable circumstances of being charged with a DWI offense in the Austin area, it is crucial to secure the services of an experienced Austin DWI attorney. Jorge Vela, a seasoned DWI lawyer, has handled hundreds of misdemeanor and felony DWI cases in his career. Formerly serving as a prosecutor, he now lends his extensive experience to DWI defense as a criminal defense attorney, working tirelessly to protect and fight for his clients’ rights.
The Importance of Timely Action in DWI Cases
In the State of Texas, you only have 15 days from the date of your DWI arrest to request a hearing to prevent an automatic license suspension. An experienced DWI attorney in Austin can help ensure you take this crucial step, preserving your ability to drive while your DWI case is pending.
DWI Laws in Texas
Fighting a DWI case can be a complex process, and choosing the right law firm can make all the difference. The experienced DWI attorneys at the Law Office of Jorge Vela understand how much is at stake for individuals charged with DWI in Texas. Hence, we stress the importance of hiring an attorney who is well-versed with the Texas DWI law, Travis County regulations, and the specifics of DWI defense.
Consequences of a DWI Conviction
A DWI conviction in Texas carries significant consequences, impacting many aspects of your life. These effects can range from your employment status and potential loss of state and federal licenses to a tarnished reputation and serious effects on your driving record. Repeat DWI offenses carry even more severe penalties, including a felony criminal record and potential jail time.
First Offense DWI (Class B)
A first-time DWI offense in Texas is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, and/or fines up to $2,000. Defendants may be eligible for probation under certain circumstances. However, if an open container of alcohol is found in the vehicle, or the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .15 or above, the charge could escalate to a Class A misdemeanor.
Second Offense DWI (Class A)
A second DWI offense escalates to a Class A misdemeanor, with the convicted individual facing up to a year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $4,000. Probation may still be a possibility, depending on the specifics of the case and the judge’s discretion.
Third Offense DWI (Third Degree Felony)
The severity of penalties increases significantly with a third DWI offense. A third-degree felony DWI conviction can lead to between two (2) and ten (10) years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Probation is still a potential outcome, but the stakes are undoubtedly higher.
State Jail Felony
A state jail felony charge can be levied if you were arrested for DWI with a child passenger (younger than 15 years old) in the vehicle. Penalties for a state jail felony can range from 180 days to two years in jail and/or fines up to $10,000. Probation may still be a possibility in these cases, but the potential ramifications of a conviction are severe.
The Impact of a DWI Conviction in Texas
A DWI conviction can have severe and lasting impacts on your life beyond the immediate penalties. A DWI offense can seriously hinder your future prospects in several ways:
Some employers may consider a DWI conviction a severe mark on your criminal record, particularly if your role involves operating a motor vehicle. Your current job might be in jeopardy, and future employment opportunities could also be limited.
The social stigma associated with a DWI conviction can cause strained personal relationships and damage your reputation in the community. This can lead to emotional stress and psychological issues.
Auto insurance companies typically increase premiums for drivers convicted of a DWI. This rate increase can last several years, leading to substantial financial burden.
Skilled Austin DWI Attorney to Your Defense
The complexity of the case and the potential for significant negative outcomes underscores the importance of having a skilled DWI attorney by your side. An experienced DWI lawyer can provide robust legal representation, protecting your rights and potentially mitigating the severity of the charges.
Defense Case Building
Defense attorneys, like those at our law firm, use their deep understanding of Texas DWI law to build a strong defense case. Every aspect of your arrest for DWI, from the traffic stop to sobriety tests, is meticulously reviewed to identify any procedural errors or breaches of your rights.
Scientific Evidence and Expert Witnesses
Experienced DWI lawyers can help to challenge the reliability of scientific evidence such as blood alcohol concentration results. They might bring in expert witnesses to dispute the accuracy of sobriety tests, or question the maintenance and calibration of the Intoxilyzer machine used for the breath test.
Negotiating Reduced Charges
Even if conviction seems likely, a good DWI attorney can negotiate with district attorneys to reduce your charges or penalties. This might include arguing for probation instead of jail time, especially for first-time DWI offenders
Frequently Asked Questions about DWI Cases
How Severe Are DWIs in Austin?
Driving while intoxicated is considered a serious crime in the state of Texas. The severity of a DWI offense largely depends on the level of intoxication and whether there are any prior DWI or DUI convictions. Penalties may include jail time, hefty fines, and loss of driving privileges.
How Can Having a DWI Impact Your Life?
A DWI conviction can lead to significant life-altering consequences. For instance, commercial drivers may lose their license, impacting their livelihood. Additionally, a DWI conviction can lead to loss of state and federal licenses and could have immigration consequences for non-citizens.
Unexpected consequences are also prevalent. For example, individuals with DWI convictions may be prohibited from entering certain countries, like Canada, or lose their concealed handgun license. They may also be mandated to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, requiring a breathalyzer test for alcohol before the engine can be started.
Is Jorge Vela Experienced Enough To Guide My DWI Case?
As an experienced Austin DWI attorney, Jorge Vela possesses the knowledge and skills to help guide you through your DWI case. The attorneys at Vela Law have accumulated decades of experience and expertise in handling DWI cases, from questioning witnesses, such as police officers and scientists, to reviewing evidence including scientific data, medical examinations, and witness statements. Our firm will work tirelessly to provide you with the best possible legal representation.
How Can an Attorney Fight My DWI Case?
Fourth Amendment Protections
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects everyone from unreasonable searches and seizures. If an officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop your vehicle, your attorney may be able to challenge the admission of any incriminating evidence collected as a result of the stop, such as breath or blood tests. If the police illegally stopped your vehicle, your attorney may be able to reduce your charges or get your case dismissed.
Challenge to Field Sobriety Tests
When a person is suspected of driving under the influence, they are usually subjected to Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST). These tests typically include following a pen with your eyes, walking in a straight line, or balancing on one foot. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets strict guidelines on the administration of these tests. If the officer did not adhere to these guidelines, your attorney can challenge the admission of these tests in court.
Challenge to the Intoxilyzer (Breath Test)
An individual suspected of driving under the influence will be asked to submit a sample of their breath to determine their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) using a machine called the Intoxilyzer. This complex machine must be properly calibrated and inspected. If there were any procedural errors, environmental factors, or human body variables that could have influenced the BAC reading, your attorney could challenge the results in court.
DWI cases can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances, but having an experienced DWI attorney in Austin by your side can significantly influence the outcome. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a consultation to discuss your case and understand how we can help.