DWI/DUI

DWI/DUI

Driving While Intoxicated

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most commonly prosecuted offenses in the State of Texas and Texas has one of the highest rates of citizens detained and arrested for this offense. As Harris, Montgomery, and Victoria counties lead the country in drunk-driving fatalities, law enforcement finds itself working harder and harder to find people and arrest them for this serious offense.

If you or a loved one find yourself suspected of or charged with this offense, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who will fight just as hard to protect you and your rights. Victoria attorney Sierra Hatley and Mayr Law, P.C. Founder, board-certified attorney Brent Mayr, have the experience and record needed to help people who find themselves accused of this serious crime.

What is Driving While Intoxicated?

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Intoxicated means either that a person has (1) lost the normal use of their mental faculties by the reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, dangerous drug and/or other substance into the body, (2) lost the normal use of their physical faculties by the reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, dangerous drug and/or other substance into the body, or (3) having a breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

What is the difference between DWI and DUI?

Your age. Any person who is operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, as explained above, can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), whether the person is, for instance, 15 or 50. However, if you are a “minor” – under the legal age permissible for consuming alcohol – and have any detectable amount of alcohol in your system, you could be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). In other words, only a minor can be charged with DUI. DUI, although less serious than DWI in terms of possible punishment, still carries harsh consequences such as driver’s license suspensions and penalties on your driving record.

One of the common misperceptions is that DWI is for alcohol and DUI is for drugs, controlled substances, or other drugs. As explained above, the “intoxication” in DWI can come from alcohol, a controlled substance, dangerous drug and/or other substance into the body.

What is the possible punishment for DWI?

Texas has a “graduated” system for imposing penalties related to driving while intoxicated. A first DWI conviction is a class B misdemeanor carrying with it a possible punishment of up to six months in the county jail and up to a $2,000 fine. The law was recently changed to allow a first DWI with a breath or blood test showing the person was over a 0.15 BAC to be enhanced to a class A misdemeanor carrying with it a possible punishment of up to one year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine. A person with a previous conviction for DWI can find themselves charged with DWI 2nd, also a class A misdemeanor carrying with it a possible punishment of up to one year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine. The most severe case is where a person has two prior convictions – whether received at the same time or one after the other – DWI 3d, a third-degree felony. Felony DWI 3d carries with it a possible punishment from 2-10 years in prison.

 

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With each one of these cases, probation is an available option, however, depending on the severity, conditions of that probation can be severe including jail time (yes – you still go to jail even though you are on probation), interlock devices, and steep fines and fees.

The “real” punishment for DWI, however, comes with collateral consequences. First, and foremost, the law does not allow for “deferred adjudication” – special probation that keeps a conviction off of your record – for any DWI-type offense. That means that if you are found guilty of DWI, whether you receive probation or even a short jail sentence, it is on your record for the rest of your life. In other words, you could find yourself 20 years down the road having to explain to an employer, a bank, or a police officer a DWI that you had years prior. Second, while your criminal case is being prosecuted by the State of Texas represented by a district attorney in the county of your arrest, the Texas Department of Public Safety is taking its own steps to punish you even for just being arrested for DWI. This includes actions to suspend or cancel your driver’s license and impose enormous surcharges (up to $10,000.00 over three years) just to keep your driver’s license.

Are there additional consequences of a DWI in Texas?

When convicted of a DWI in Texas, you may face collateral consequences such as the suspension of your license, loss of your job if you drive a company vehicle or a commercial vehicle, as well as increased insurance costs.

 

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How long do I have to request an ALR hearing?

If you are accused of a DWI, you have 15 days to request for an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing to give yourself a better chance of winning that case and saving your license.

 

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Can I handle my first DWI without an attorney in Texas?

The biggest mistake that people make in the event of a DWI case is to face the court by themselves thinking that they could save a few bucks by handling it. Unfortunately, a DWI case is extremely technical and needs the right expertise and know-how. Otherwise, you will be increasing the risk of the suspension of your license and your job if it requires you to drive vehicles.

 

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Victoria attorney Sierra Hatley is well versed in the technicalities of a DWI case, especially when it comes to the stop itself. Her knowledge of the exact training resources and protocols used by officers ensures she knows what to look for from the reason someone was stopped to the execution of the standardized field sobriety test. Sierra also has the benefit of working alongside Brent Mayr who is one of the leading attorneys in the State of Texas in regards to Driving While Intoxicated. Brent has represented numerous individuals charged with various types of DWI and secured dismissals and acquittals for many of them. He has lectured other attorneys around the State on issues related to DWI. Not only was he a former prosecutor who handled DWIs, but he was also the Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Section of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office – the section responsible for handling high-profile intoxicated driving cases.

Contact Mayr Law, P.C. today to obtain competent legal advice and representation by calling the Victoria Office at (361) 333-5620 or contact us online.

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