Providing High-Quality Criminal Defense to Those Arrested For Drunk Driving
If you or a family member have been arrested on drunk driving charges, you will need an experienced DWI lawyer who can protect your rights, driver’s license, and freedom. DWI charges can haunt you for the rest of your life, resulting in a criminal record, especially if the DWI case results in a felony charge.
However, just because you have been arrested and charged with a DWI by a police officer does not automatically mean you will lose your driving privileges. However, Texas does have strict laws on the books meant to deal aggressively with drunk drivers.
Therefore, hiring a knowledgeable DWI lawyer to thoroughly evaluate your case and look for weaknesses in the state’s case is in your best interests. At the Cory Roth Law Office, we have a highly trained criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled DWI cases and obtained favorable client results.
Contact our law offices and ask to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and learn what legal options may be available.
What is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Houston?
Texas DWI laws stipulate that anyone operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated may be charged with DWI. An individual is considered to be intoxicated if they do not have everyday use of their physical or mental faculties due to using alcohol, drugs, or any other substances. Individuals are also considered intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher.
There is often confusion about the difference between a DWI and a DUI in Texas. Both terms refer to the operation of a vehicle in a public place while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point it impairs a person’s faculties. They are often used interchangeably, although the official term under Texas law is DWI.
As a result, any person who is 21 or older can be charged with DWI if they operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or above. However, state law also stipulates that anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 who is pulled over and is found to have any alcohol in their system can be charged with “DUI” or “DUIA,” which stands for driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI, you will need an experienced attorney who understands DWI and DUI law and will help you fight the criminal charges that have been pressed against you.
What is Blood Alcohol Content?
Blood alcohol content, also called blood alcohol concentration (BAC), measures how much alcohol is in a person’s system. The legal BAC limit for Texas legal drinking age drivers is 0.08%, while commercial drivers are only permitted a BAC of 0.04%.
Texas has what is known as a zero-tolerance law when it comes to underage drinking. As a result, the BAC limit for anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 is 0.00%.
What Happens if I Refuse a BAC Test?
Texas law dictates that anyone with a driver’s license and operating a motor vehicle on public roads has implied consent to comply with a field sobriety test or a BAC breath test. However, anyone arrested and refusing to submit to a breath or blood test cannot be legally charged with an additional crime.
Be that as it may, anyone who refuses a breath or blood test will have their driver’s license suspended for at least 6 months for the first refusal through Texas’s Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program. If an individual is arrested on separate DWI charges and again refuses either test, their driver’s license will be subject to a two-year suspension.
After a DWI arrest, it is always in your best interest to hire a knowledgeable DWI attorney who can provide legal representation to help you stay informed of your rights and fight the charges against you.
Contact our law firm and ask to schedule a meeting with a DWI attorney who can help you understand the available legal options.
What Are the Penalties Associated With a DWI Conviction?
Texas DWI law carries stiff penalties for individuals convicted of driving while intoxicated. For this reason, if you have been charged with a DWI, you must hire a highly trained criminal defense attorney who can help you protect your driver’s license.
The penalties for a Texas DWI include:
- First-time DWI offense: A first-time DWI offense is typically charged as a Class B misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanor conviction will result in the defendant
being sentenced to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and their driver’s license being suspended for 90 days. Individuals may also be required to complete an alcohol education program. However, if a defendant had a BAC that was 0.15% or higher, the charge may be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor with a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
- Second DWI offense: A second-time DWI conviction resulted in the defendant being sentenced to one year in jail or two years of probation. However, even if the
court sentences the defendant to probation, they will still be required to spend a minimum of five days up to 60 days in jail as part of their probationary requirements. A second DWI conviction also results in a driver’s license suspension and an annual three-year fine to maintain a valid license. Individuals sometimes must install and pay monthly service fees for an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle.
- Third DWI offense: An individual with two previous DWI convictions can be charged with a third DWI, a third-degree felony in Texas. A third DWI conviction is severe, and if convicted, a defendant could face up to 10 years in prison or a minimum of 10 days in jail if the court grants probation. The defendant will also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000, and their driver’s license will be suspended for up to 2 years after being released from confinement. As with a second DWI conviction, the defendant must pay a three-year annual fee to maintain their license and install an IID on their vehicles.
Because of the serious consequences associated with a Texas DWI conviction, it is always best to hire a DWI lawyer who can act as your legal ally. A DWI lawyer like Cory Roth can work with the prosecution to try and negotiate reduced charges or a dismissal of the case entirely.
Other criminal defense lawyers in the Houston area often advise clients to plead guilty to the charges so they can quickly wrap up the case. However, our experienced trial attorney and legal team are client-centered and will fight to ensure you are given quality legal representation.
Is There a Way to Keep My License After Being Arrested on a DWI Charge?
You must obtain legal representation immediately if you have been arrested on Texas DWI charges. Not only will you be forced to deal with your DWI criminal charges, but you will also have to appear at a civil trial case to try and keep your driver’s license.
Some crucial aspects to remember after a DWI arrest include:
- A license suspension does not immediately begin after a DWI arrest.
- Anyone facing DWI charges can request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) within 15 days of the date of the arrest.
Many believe that when arrested for DWI, the Texas Department of Public Safety immediately suspends their driver’s license. Even though the police officer will confiscate your license, they will give you a “Notice of Suspension” that serves as a temporary license for 40 days. After 40 days, you will be subject to a license suspension if you do not request an ALR hearing. However, anyone notified of possible license suspension must request the ALR within 15 days of arrest.
If you put in the ALR request within the time limits, any potential license suspension will be postponed until after the hearing is completed.
What Happens at the ALR Hearing?
At the ALR civil hearing, the State of Texas must prove that your DWI arrest warrants a license suspension. In most instances, the state will present a sworn affidavit from the police officer who arrested you that provides details of the DWI charge.
Be that as it may, you have the right to subpoena the arresting officer and require them to attend the ALR hearing and testify. Requiring the officer to testify allows your DWI lawyer to draw out critical elements of the officer’s story regarding the DWI stop and subsequent arrest. Your DWI attorney can gain a greater insight into the officer’s testimony and help prepare for your defense.
The State will usually try to prove its case in one of two ways:
- That you refused to submit to the test
- Your BAC was at 0.08% or above.
One of the most considerable advantages to having an experienced DWI lawyer with you during the ALR hearing is that they can listen to the testimony given by the police officer. That state must prove that probable cause existed to stop your vehicle. If your criminal defense lawyer can prove that reasonable suspicion did not exist, the court will exclude any evidence obtained during the traffic stop. Excluded evidence will also include your refusal to take the breath test.
If you did consent to the breath test, which registered at 0.08% or above, the state must still demonstrate that the arresting officer had probable cause to stop the DWI traffic. However, BAC test results can often be challenged, such as when it is determined the test was administered incorrectly or too much time had passed before it was given.
You should never try to act as your own legal counsel at an ALR hearing. The state has skilled attorneys who will present their side of the case to advocate that your license should be suspended. For this reason, you must have a knowledgeable DWI defense lawyer to represent you at the ALR hearing. Your DWI attorney will work to protect your legal rights and, most importantly, to try and prevent your license from being suspended.
Time is of the essence when it comes to ALR hearings. Contact the Cory Roth Law Office of Houston, TX, immediately to schedule a meeting with our DWI defense lawyer.
Why is it Important to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Help Me With My DWI Case?
DWI defendants often plead guilty just to “get it over with” so they can continue their lives. However, one of the biggest mistakes anyone charged with DWI or DUI can make is to plead guilty.
However, the Cory Roth Law Office knows that law enforcement officers and prosecutors do not always get it right and often are overzealous to charge individuals with DWI in the name of public safety. However, upon examination, a DWI lawyer can often find significant legal issues, starting with whether or not the officer had probable cause to pull the person over or whether the state had enough evidence to file charges.
Furthermore, a DWI or DUI conviction will remain on a person’s record for life unless the court grants an expungement. However, a DWI is only eligible for expungement within 30 days of the case being dismissed, acquitted, pardoned, or successfully appealed.
If you have a DWI or DUI case, please schedule a meeting with a law firm member to learn more about how our experienced trial attorney and legal team can fight to help you defend your license, freedom, and standing in the community.
Contact the Cory Roth Law Office at 832-400-4133 and ask to schedule a consultation with our highly skilled DWI lawyer.