DWI allegations are some of the most complex in Texas’ criminal law. The severity of the charge, as well as what the prosecutor needs to prove, depends upon a variety of factors. However, there are a few factors that all DWI allegations have in common. They all allege that a person was impaired because of the presence of a foreign substance in their body. Additionally, any conviction carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence, a lengthy license suspension, and the payment of hefty fines.
A Frisco DWI lawyer at Barbieri Law Firm, P.C. could fight to provide protection against these harsh penalties. Our dedicated team of criminal defense attorneys work to give people an honest assessment of their case and recommend a strategy that gives them the best chance for success.
DWI as a Criminal Case
Above all else, a DWI allegation is a criminal charge. Texas Penal Code § 49.04(b) states that a common, first-offense DWI conviction is a class B misdemeanor. This means that a conviction could result in a jail sentence of no more than 180 days. However, the same statute requires a judge in a DWI case to sentence a guilty defendant to no less than 72 hours in jail.
A conviction also comes with substantial financial penalties. The maximum fine for the criminal conviction as a class B misdemeanor is $2,000. However, DWI charges also come with various administrative fees that may almost double this amount.
Finally, a criminal court must suspend a guilty party’s license for at least 90 days, with the maximum term increasing to one year. Of course, these are the penalties for a first offense. Allegations of being a repeat offender increase the potential jail terms and fines. Some cases that involve injuries or endangering children may make DWI a felony. A seasoned Frisco DWI attorney could explain the potential criminal penalties for a conviction in more detail during an initial consultation.
DWI as an Administrative Matter
Because DWI involves a motor vehicle, an arrest will also affect a person’s driving record. The Department of Motor Vehicles must suspend a person’s license for 90 days upon a DWI arrest. To avoid this penalty, drivers must submit a request for a formal hearing to contest the suspension within 15 days. At this hearing, people will have the chance to argue as to why the arrest may have been inappropriate and keep their licenses until the resolution of the criminal case. A proactive DWI lawyer in Frisco can work with people to make this quick turnaround and protect their privileges while awaiting trial.
Important Legal Questions in DWI Cases
Texas Penal Code §49.04 gives police officers and prosecutors two paths to secure a DWI conviction. The first is to provide evidence that a person was intoxicated per se. This means that their blood/alcohol level was at 0.08 percent or above at the time of the stop. To gather this evidence, police officers can compel any driver to submit to a breath or blood test upon request. A failure to submit to this test is a separate criminal offense.
The other way to prove intoxication is to show that a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle was compromised because of alcohol or drug consumption. It is important to realize that this can include alcohol, prescription medications, street drugs, and even over-the-counter medications. In other words, any material that impairs a person’s mental or physical capacities can be the basis for a DWI charge.
An experienced legal professional can help people to fight back against both kinds of DWI charges. In cases centered around intoxication per se, they can work to contest the validity of scientific tests or to examine the test procedures. In charges involving impairment, they can aim to cast doubt upon the officer’s observations as to the state of the defendant that justified the arrest.
Let a Determined Frisco DWI Attorney Fight for You
Allegations of DWI in Frisco can affect your life even without a conviction. The Department of Motor Vehicles can order a suspension of your license if you fail to demand a hearing within 15 days of the arrest. This is in addition to any criminal, administrative, and financial penalties that a criminal court may impose after a conviction.
While a DWI allegation may seem like a minor obstacle, it has the potential to forever change your life. A conviction is a criminal matter that will appear on background checks. In fact, convictions for even a first offense carry a mandatory jail sentence of three days. Act quickly to protect your future. Contact a Frisco DWI lawyer at Barbieri Law Firm, P.C. immediately to let us get to work for you.