First-Time DWI in Texas

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a serious charge in Texas. It can include the use of alcohol or drugs that impair your ability to operate your vehicle safely. When you are facing a first-time DWI charge in Texas, you may not know what to do to fight for your rights. You need experienced legal guidance to reduce the penalties and get back to your life.

At the Law Offices of Jorge Vela, you can work with a seasoned DWI defense lawyer in Austin to understand how to get your charge reduced or even dismissed. Your entire life can be harmed by even a single DWI conviction, so contact us today to schedule a meeting and find out your defense options. .

What Substances Make a Driver “Intoxicated” Under the Law?

The Texas Penal Code considers you intoxicated when you are under the influence of any substance that impairs your ability to operate a vehicle in a safe and legal manner. Most people only think of alcoholic beverages, but the truth is that even prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines can make you drowsy or disoriented.

Substances that can affect your driving include:

  • Antidepressants
  • CBD products
  • Marijuana
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Opioids and other painkillers
  • Sedatives
  • Sleep medications

If you are weaving, not following traffic signs, or showing any signs of intoxication, officers can pull you over on a reasonable suspicion you are committing DWI. They then administer field tests or have you blow into an Intoxilyzer device to determine your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). If your result is negative, but they still believe you are impaired, they may arrest you and take you to their station to administer blood or saliva tests..

What Are the Penalties for a First-Time DWI Conviction?

The first time you are convicted of DWI in Texas, you could receive up to 180 days in jail, fines up to $2,000, or both. A first-time offense is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, but it can escalate to a Class A misdemeanor if you have open containers in your vehicle or your BAC is .15 or higher. The baseline BAC for a DWI arrest is .08.

Additional penalties include:

  • Your license could be suspended for up to one year.
  • You may face a yearly fee of up to $2,000 for three years to keep your license.
  • You could be forced to attend and pay for a DWI intervention program.
  • You may have to install, pay for, and maintain an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

    Depending on the skill of your DWI defense attorney, you can request these penalties be reduced or that you be given probation instead.

    You May Also Face a Felony Charge

    Your charge may also be filed as a felony if you also have a child under the age of 15 with you when you are arrested. You could then face up to two years in jail and fines of up to $10,000 if you are convicted. You will also lose your license for an additional 180 days past your jail sentence.

How Does a First-Time DWI Affect Your Life?

Although a conviction is much more damaging, even dealing with a DWI arrest can bring substantial changes to your life. You have to make fighting the charge your main focus, meaning you could miss work or have to put relationships on hold. If you cannot make bail to get released or it takes more than a few hours to appear before a judge for your initial hearing, you could spend the night in jail.

Your friends and family members may shun you for being arrested. Your company may have strict policies that mean you lose your job even if you are not convicted. If the state does successfully convict you, you will face many other critical consequences, such as:

  • You may have trouble finding work: Being in jail for up to two years on a felony first-time DWI means you will likely lose your job. When you get out, this mark on your record could prevent you from being hired for the work you want to do.
  • You could struggle to keep a job: Because your license is often suspended for long periods after a DWI conviction, you may need to rely on public transportation to get to work. Without a license and the ability to drive yourself, you may have trouble making it there on time.
  • Your insurance premiums will likely go up: Your auto insurance company will raise your monthly premiums, and you may even need to purchase special insurance.

All individuals who are convicted of DWI in Texas must complete an SR-22 form and keep it on file with the state. This verifies you have purchased insurance to provide liability coverage in the event you cause an accident. 

How Can My Attorney Fight for My Rights?

It is normal to be frightened and overwhelmed when you face your first DWI arrest. However, you should try to remain calm and contact Austin DWI defense attorney Jorge Vela as soon as possible. Our team can meet you at the police station to begin protecting your rights immediately. 

Your lawyer will advise you on what to say and speak with a judge on your behalf to get you released right away. After you are out, they will investigate your case and build your defense strategy. They may file motions to have evidence thrown out and request your charges be dismissed.

If your case proceeds to trial, they will ensure your rights are protected. They will also work to maintain your innocence in the minds of the judge and jury, demonstrating your remorse and desire to avoid the same situation in the future. 

Requesting Your Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing

In Texas, you have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Even if your charges are dismissed, you must make this request separately, or you risk having your license suspended. Your Austin DWI defense attorney will help you with this process and appear at the hearing with you.

Why Jorge Vela Is the Right Choice for Your First-Time DWI in Texas

Prosecutors are eager to rack up convictions, and they know the average person does not know how to fight a DWI charge. They count on you to try to make your case by yourself. When you bring an established and ferocious attorney like Jorge Vela with you, they know you mean business.

At the Law Offices of Jorge Vela, we are dedicated to ensuring you face the smallest amount of consequences for your first-time DWI charge. We work to get your charges reduced or dismissed and provide superior legal representation in court. Contact us to schedule your consultation and stand up for your freedom and your future today.  

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