The potential repercussions of a DWI conviction are severe and not limited to those imposed by a court. Aside from incarceration and fines, your license may be suspended and your insurance rates could drastically rise. As a Frisco DWI lawyer can tell you, having a DWI on your criminal record also can have a negative impact on your future career opportunities.
The only way to reduce or avoid the likelihood of these unwanted consequences is to fight back against your DWI charges to the greatest extent possible. A detail-oriented criminal defense attorney could examine the facts of your case, explore your options, and help you make the best decisions for your situation.
What is Driving While Intoxicated?
Under Tex. Penal Code § 49.04, it is unlawful for anyone to drive while intoxicated (DWI). This offense can occur under two different circumstances:
- When drivers have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater
- When drivers consume alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs causes the impairment of their mental or physical faculties
DWI normally applies to drivers who are age 21 and over. Tex. Alc. Bev. Code § 106.041 establishes a separate offense for individuals who are under the age of 21. For those drivers, there is no evidence of impairment or minimum BAC level required. These drivers are subject to a zero-tolerance offense and any trace of alcohol in their systems can lead to driving under the influence (DUI) charges.
Frisco DWI Penalties
The penalties for DWI can vary considerably based on any previous DWI convictions the accused has. There also are certain other circumstances that aggravate the offense or make it more serious in terms of potential penalties. A conviction for any DWI offense can have serious consequences, however, so consulting a Frisco DWI lawyer in this situation may be wise.
First DWI Conviction
A first DWI conviction pursuant to Tex. Penal Code § 49.04 is a Class B misdemeanor. A conviction on a Class B misdemeanor carries a potential term of imprisonment of 180 days, with a minimum sentence of 72 hours. Those convicted of a first-time DWI also may be required to pay a $2,000 fine and have their license suspended.
However, there are some aggravating circumstances that enhance the penalties for a first-time DWI. For instance, if drivers are found with an open container of alcohol in their vehicles and commit DWI, the minimum sentence of incarceration increases to six days. Similarly, if the BAC of drivers measures 0.15 percent or more, the offense increases to a Class A misdemeanor, which can carry a jail sentence of up to one year, a $4,000 fine, and a lengthier license suspension.
Second and Subsequent DWI Convictions
For a second DWI conviction, the charge is still a Class B misdemeanor, but the minimum jail sentence increases to 30 days. For a third or subsequent DWI conviction, however, the charge becomes a third-degree felony. A conviction for a third-degree felony can result in a two to 10-year prison sentence and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Other penalties also increase for subsequent DWI convictions. The period of license suspension or revocation becomes longer and it is generally necessary to obtain high-risk motor vehicle insurance once driving privileges are restored. As these punishments can make it extremely difficult to work, attend school, and care for a family, so getting legal advice from a DWI lawyer in Frisco before resolving the case may be important.
A Frisco DWI Attorney Could Be an Ally
There are many reasons that individuals might be accused of DWI, and not all of them are legitimate. Situations in which drivers are taking a new medication, fatigued, nervous, or tired all can result in unnecessary DWI charges. A Frisco DWI lawyer may be able to assist you in fighting back against DWI charges that are not adequately supported by the evidence.
Likewise, if you are over the age of 21, you need to keep in mind that it is perfectly legal to drive after consuming alcohol, so long as you are not impaired. Proving impairment is rarely as straightforward as it might seem, however, so getting legal advice can be a positive step toward combatting the charges against you.