People who are facing allegations of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Richardson may be scared and confused. They may not understand how they could be charged with DWI even if they have not had a drink, or why a simple mistake could result in the creation of a criminal record.

The simple fact of the matter is that DWI is a criminal offense. Making matters worse, the Texas Penal Code states that a conviction carries a mandatory jail sentence and a loss of license. Therefore, it may be important to seek the advice of a Richardson DWI lawyer. With years of experience, a practiced defense attorney could work to help you create a strategy to minimize the impact of these charges as much as possible.

The Definition of DWI in Texas

Texas defines DWI in Texas Penal Code §49.04. This statute says that it is illegal for any person to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. This is a more complex concept that it at first appears.

An individual may only commit DWI in a public place. This means streets, roads, parking lots, or any other place held open for public use. An individual cannot commit DWI on their own private land.

It is also vital to understand the definition of “intoxicated”. The same statute defines this concept as:

  • Being physically or mentally impaired by a drug or alcohol
  • Having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more

A person may be intoxicated if their blood/alcohol test indicates a level of .08 percent or more, or if an arresting officer makes the judgment call that any foreign substance has compromised a person’s ability to drive. This may include street drugs or prescription medications. A Richardson DWI lawyer could explain what it means to commit a DWI under Texas law.

How a DWI Conviction May Affect the Future

Texas Penal Code § 49.04(b) states that a core level, first-offense DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. This means that a conviction will create a criminal record. The statute says that a judge may sentence the driver to at least 72 hours in jail. They may lose their license for a minimum of 90 days.

These mandatory minimums apply only to first-time offenders where there are no aggravating factors in the case. If a court convicts a defendant of DWI while having an open container in the vehicle, the mandatory minimum jail sentence increases to six days. Defendants could also face enhanced penalties if they refuse to submit to a breath or blood test, if they were impaired with a child in the car, or if the incident caused injury or death to another person. Accused individuals are recommended to consult an attorney in Richardson when facing DWI allegations.

A Richardson DWI Attorney Could Help

Allegations of DWI may throw a person’s life into chaos. Simply facing an arrest for these charges could take away your ability to drive and will create great levels of stress. This is nothing to say about the potential criminal penalties that may result from a conviction.

A Richardson DWI lawyer could help fight to prevent this from happening. They could help from the moment that you face arrest to protect your rights, contest the legality of any police work, and formulate a defense designed to defend your freedom in court. Contact a lawyer today to learn more.