A driving while intoxicated offense can have various consequences after a conviction. Beyond jail time and fines, a person’s license following a San Antonio first-offense DWI could become suspended. This could substantially reduce a person’s mobility as well as their quality of life. For instance, if a person needs to drive to work each day and has a suspended license, they may need to find other ways of transportation or risk losing their employment. Someone who has been charged with their first drunk driving offense should consult an experienced first-offense DWI lawyer. They could review the factors surrounding the allegation and work to develop a credible defense. Call today and schedule an appointment to start discussing your potential legal options.
Status of a Person’s License After the Initial Arrest or Charge
In Texas, if a person is arrested for a DWI, there is a potential for two cases to develop. One case is generally filed in criminal court, while the other is brought in civil court. The civil case is called an administrative license revocation action. In that particular case, once an officer arrests the accused individual, they typically will read them a statutory warning requesting a sample of their breath or blood. If the person consents to a breath test and is above 0.08, assuming that they are 21 or older, or if they register any detectable amount of alcohol and are under 21, then officers will confiscate the person’s driver’s license and give them a no-suspension temporary driver’s permit. This permit is valid for 15 days. The time frame of the permit’s validity offers an attorney 15 days to request a hearing on the accused individual’s driver’s license.
If a person refuses the initial breath test, the process is typically the same, even if the officer receives a warrant and draws blood without consent. They generally mark down the refusal and continue with the other steps of the process. If a person consents to a blood test, the process often takes longer before the lab processes the blood. Officers generally will not take the person’s driver’s license at that time. However, once the results come back from the lab, if the results are above 0.08, then law enforcement generally will send the person a letter to the last address listed on their driver’s license indicating that they have 20 days from the date of that letter to request a driver’s license hearing.
Requesting a Hearing
Once the hearing request is made in a timely fashion, then the accused person typically will continue to be able to drive until the hearing, which may not occur for months. The request process generally involves an attorney who submits the request by fax machine and waits to receive confirmation that the request was made.
If the person does not request a hearing, the license will go into suspension 40 days from the date of that letter. If their license is suspended administratively through an administrative license revocation action, the length of suspension for a first-time offense typically will be 90 days for a failed test or 180 days for a refusal. One problem people have is that their address is incorrect on their driver’s license, so the letter for an administrative license revocation hearing is sent to the wrong place. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the allegation, a person should take swift action to protect their driver’s license following a San Antonio first-offense DWI.
Challenging a Suspension
Someone seeking to challenge a suspension should act before the suspension. If the administrative judge finds probable cause in preponderance and suspends the person’s license, a person could appeal the decision. Skilled first-offense DWI attorneys could appeal such a decision to either the district or the county court and request a new hearing. The appellate judge typically will look into the previous judge’s decision to see if there was enough evidence to suspend the person’s license. If so, they will uphold the decision. If not, they can overturn it.
Applying for an Occupational Driver’s License
If someone’s driver’s license is suspended, an experienced DWI lawyer may be able to file for an occupational driver’s license if the person is eligible. A judge may choose to deny this petition, as there are certain qualifications that must be met, but the ODL is designed to allow someone to drive on a restricted basis to take care of their household, be able to go to the store, pick up their kids from school, and go to work or school. If they live in San Antonio and they work in San Antonio, they may be allowed to drive in Bexar County alone. If they live in San Antonio but they drive to Austin as part of their job, then a lawyer may be able to structure the ODL restrictions to ensure that the person can drive to those areas. It also will be restricted as to the time. There is a 12-hour maximum time in which the person can drive, and the court often will often restrict them to less time than that. Furthermore, a person who has a CDL or commercial driver’s license is typically not eligible for an ODL. The ODL is generally for individuals who need to drive to and from work, but not for individuals whose job includes driving.
Consult a Lawyer About Defending a License Following a First-Offense DWI in San Antonio
If you were accused of committing a DWI for the first time, contact a knowledgeable attorney who understands such cases. A reliable lawyer could examine the case and work to defend your license following a San Antonio first-offense DWI. It is important to retain aggressive and seasoned legal counsel, as a DWI conviction and suspension of driving privileges could have substantial consequences. Call now and set up a time to begin building a comprehensive defense.