First-time DWI charges are typically assigned to one of 13 misdemeanor courts in Dallas County, and the accused will be assigned to a particular court. Even for a first offense, you should not assume the court will be lenient. Even if the State does not seek jail time, a conviction will lead to a permanent criminal record that will follow you for life.
The best way to protect your interests is to hire a Dallas first-offense DWI lawyer. A skilled attorney could raise a powerful defense on your behalf.
Penalties for a First-Offense DWI
In Dallas and throughout Texas, the penalties for a first-offense DWI can include:
- Driver’s license suspension
- Jail sentence
- Alcohol monitoring
Alcohol monitoring options could include ignition interlock for the person’s vehicle or other devices, such as a transdermal alcohol bracelet. More often than not, for a first offense, the State will offer probation.
Building a First-Time DWI Defense
When building a defense, Dallas first-time DWI attorneys typically look at the circumstances of the arrest. First, they often look at the police officer’s actions to make sure they did everything legally. Any misconduct could give the defendant an advantage. Additionally, lawyers often look into the arresting officer’s background to see if they have any issues with credibility.
It is also important for attorneys to analyze the results of any breath or blood tests. They could look at the lab that did the analysis, specifically the lab analyst, to see if that person has any issues or problems with their credibility. Additionally, lawyers could watch any video footage of the traffic stop to see if the person’s behavior matches whatever alcohol or drug level is alleged. Video evidence could also potentially expose any issues in the administration of field sobriety tests. Finally, an attorney could explore any available constitutional challenges.
Driver’s License Suspension After a DWI Arrest
For a first-time Dallas DWI charge, a person’s driver’s license will not be suspended if they are convicted and placed on probation. If they have any prior DWI convictions, they face suspension of their driving privileges.
However, if the accused refuses to undergo BAC testing, or if they provide a breath or blood sample over 0.08, they may be facing an administrative license revocation suspension of their driver’s license (ALR suspension). To challenge that, they must request a hearing. If they do not request the hearing in a timely fashion, the suspension is automatic.
If someone’s license is suspended during the ALR process, they can apply for an occupational driver’s license or essential needs license. There is also another option called an ignition interlock license. If granted, they will be able to drive during the suspension period subject to any requirements that are placed upon their license. They will send the order granting their license and a fee to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which will issue the temporary license.
If a person is acquitted/found not guilty of their DWI, they can send a certified copy of the judgment of acquittal to DPS. This will lift any driver’s license suspension that is in effect.
Reach Out to an Experienced Dallas First-Offense DWI Attorney Today
After a first-time DWI arrest, many defendants make the mistake of hiring an attorney who does not focus their practice on DWI defense. General practice attorneys may not be up-to-date on current case law, they may not have experience with field sobriety testing and know what to look for, they may not have any education or knowledge about breath/blood alcohol testing, and they may miss defenses that an experienced and educated DWI attorney would spot immediately. For the best chance at a positive resolution to your case, you should consult with a Dallas first-offense DWI lawyer.