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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Charges that allege impaired driving, or DWI, are serious matters. A conviction can result in a criminal record and jail sentence and could affect a person’s ability to drive for the foreseeable future.
A person may face DWI allegations after drinking alcohol, taking illegal drugs, or even while under the influence of prescription medications. This means that many of these charges arise of cases of misjudgment on the part of the police who may wrongly believe someone is under the influence of a drug, or a driver who simply made a mistake.
An El Paso DWI lawyer could help individuals facing allegations of DWI in El Paso. A thorough criminal defense attorney could help to evaluate the legality of the police work that led to the arrest, discover any evidence of recordings made while in police custody, and challenge the admissibility of evidence brought forward by the prosecutor.
DWI Under Texas Law
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a DWI, is a criminal offense in El Paso. While most people imagine driving while drunk when considering this offense, in reality, Texas Penal Code §49.04 greatly expands upon this concept.
A person may be guilty of DWI if they are impaired in any way while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. Under this definition, a person is guilty of DWI if they are drunk, high on drugs, or negatively affected by prescription medication.
In addition, police cannot charge a person with DWI if they are operating a vehicle on their private land. The statute only applies if the defendant is alleged to have driven on a street, in a parking lot, or anywhere else open to the public.
Potential Consequences for a DWI Conviction
DWI is a criminal offense. This means that a conviction can create a criminal record and may result in a defendant being sentenced to a lengthy jail term. In fact, Texas Penal Code § 49.04(b) requires a judge in a DWI case to sentence a guilty party to at least 72 hours in jail and to suspend a driver’s license for at least 90 days.
However, these are only the minimum penalties that apply to first-offense DWI cases. A collection of aggravating factors may make the penalties more severe. These can include:
- A DWI offense that leads to the injury of another party
- Having a child in the vehicle at the time of the offense
- Having a previous DWI
An El Paso DWI lawyer could explain the potential consequences for a DWI conviction and how different factors could affect them.
An El Paso DWI Attorney in Here to Help
A DWI charge is a very serious matter. For many people, this is their only negative interaction with the criminal justice system and as a result, they are scared and confused. Despite the idea that many DWI accusations stem out of mere “mistakes”, the penalties are harsh.
An El Paso DWI lawyer could help identify realistic goals and fight for those goals in court. Take a positive step towards protecting your freedom and your right to continue driving. Let an El Paso DWI attorney fight for you today.