Cole Paschall are experts in defending against DWI charges. Here is what to do if you get a DWI in Texas.
When the party’s over and you’ve had a few too many, the last thing you want to happen is to get pulled over. But if you do find yourself face-to-face with a police officer who suspects that you are driving while intoxicated (DWI), there are certain things you should and shouldn’t do.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of Texas DWI law, it’s important to note the following, and how Cole Paschall Law can help you in this kind of situation.
What Is DWI?
In Texas, DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated.” DWI encompasses both drunk drivings and drugged driving. So, if you are pulled over and the officer suspects you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can be charged with DWI according to Texas law.
The legal limit for DWI in Texas is around .08 BAC, or blood alcohol concentration or content. However, you can still be charged with DWI even if your BAC is lower than .08.
The reason for this is because DWI is a “per se” offense in Texas. This means that as long as the officer has probable cause to believe you are intoxicated, you can be charged with DWI.
Normally, DWI is a class B misdemeanor, but it can be enhanced to a state jail felony DWI under certain circumstances.
Types of DWI in Texas
It is important to know that there are different types of DWI in Texas. The type of DWI you are charged with state jail felony will depend on your BAC, if you had a child in the car, and other factors.
The main types of DWI in Texas are:
DWI With a BAC of .08 or Higher
This type of DWI is the most common. If your motor vehicle is pulled over and your BAC is .08 or higher, you will be charged with DWI. Normal mental or physical faculties must be impaired for this charge to apply.
DWI With a BAC of Less Than .08
As mentioned above, if your BAC is below .08 BAC, you may still be charged with DWI. As we mentioned, DWI is a “per se” crime in Texas law. You may be charged with
DWI if the police have reason to think you are inebriated.
3. DWI With a Child Passenger
If you are pulled over and the officer suspects you are DWI with a child under the age legal limit of 15 in the car, you will be charged with a DWI. This is a more serious offense and is punishable by up to 2 years in jail.
4. DWI With an Open Container
You will be charged with DWI with an open container if your car has an open container of alcohol when you are stopped. Additionally, this sort of DWI carries a harsher punishment than conventional DWI. This is still a class B misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 180 days in jail.
DWI Penalties in Texas
It is important to know that DWI is a serious offense in Texas. If you are convicted of DWI, you could be facing the following penalties.
1. Jail Time
Jail time is a common DWI penalty in Texas. The amount of time you could spend in jail depends on factors such as your blood alcohol content (BAC) and whether you have any prior DWI convictions.
In addition to jail time, you could also be fined if you are convicted of DWI in Texas. The amount of the fine will depend on the same factors as your jail sentence when you get your first offense.
3. Driver’s License Suspension
DWI convictions will result in the suspension of your driver’s license as well. The same elements that determine your jail sentence and fine also affect how long the suspension will last.
4. Community Service
Performing community service is another frequent DWI penalty for those with a first offense. Requirements for community service are based on DWI criteria much like any other common penalty.
5. DWI Classes
You may be required to take DWI classes if you are convicted of the first offense DWI in Texas. The number of classes you have to take and how long they last depend on the severity of your DWI offense. For example, a first DWI offense will typically result in fewer DWI classes than a second or third DWI offense.
Probation is a common DWI penalty in Texas. Probation is when you are released from jail but are still under the supervision of the court. The length of your probation will depend on the same factors as your jail sentence and fine.
7. Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
If you are convicted of DWI in Texas, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car. An IID is a machine that is installed on your car that tests your BAC before the car will start. The IID is typically required for a certain amount of time, depending on your DWI offense.
Things to Do When You Get A DWI in Texas
Anyone will be tremendously upset when they are pulled over and charged with DWI. However, it is important to stay calm and know what to do in this situation.
The following is a list of things you should do if you are ever pulled over and charged with DWI in Texas:
1. Remain Calm
When you are pulled over, the officer is going to ask you a series of questions. It is important to remain calm and answer the questions truthfully. Lying to the officer will only make the situation worse.
2. Ask for an Attorney
You have the right to an attorney, and you should always exercise this right when charged with DWI. The sooner you have an attorney, the better.
3. Cooperate with the Officer
When you are pulled over, it is important to cooperate with the officer. This means following any instructions the officer gives you and being polite. Resisting arrest or being argumentative will only make the situation worse.
DWI Defense Strategies
Now that you know what DWI is, the possible penalties you could face, and the things you must do first, it’s time to learn about DWI defense strategies that can help you when in the situation. These are some of the most common DWI defense strategies used in Texas.
1. The Stop Was Illegal
One common DWI defense strategy is to argue that the stop was illegal. This can be difficult to prove, but if the officer did not have probable cause to stop you, then your DWI charge may be dismissed.
2. The Arrest Was Illegal
The claim that the arrest was unlawful to the Texas drunk driving laws is another typical DWI defense. This kind of tactic is frequently applied in conjunction with the stop being prohibited. Your DWI accusation may be dropped if the officer lacked probable cause to make the arrest.
3. The Blood Test Was Invalid
A third DWI defense strategy is to argue that the blood test was invalid. This is because blood tests can sometimes be inaccurate. Your DWI conviction may be dropped if your DWI lawyer can show that the blood test was inaccurate.
4. The Breath Test Was Invalid
A further DWI defense tactic is to claim that the breathalyzer was faulty. This is because breathalyzer results might occasionally be off. Your DWI case may be dropped if your attorney can show that the breathalyzer was unreliable.
5. The Field Sobriety Test Was Invalid
Arguing that the field sobriety test was invalid can also be a great DWI strategy as well. Field sobriety tests can sometimes be flawed due to factors such as lighting or the officer’s instructions.
Hiring a DWI Attorney
If you have been charged with DWI in Texas, it is important to hire an experienced DWI attorney who can defend you in court. The DWI penalties in Texas are serious, and you need an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the Texas DWI laws to help you minimize the consequences.
DWI attorneys can also help you determine which DWI defense strategy is best for your particular case. If you have been charged with DWI in Texas, contact one of the best DWI attorneys today, Cole Paschall, to discuss your case.
How Can Cole Paschall Law Help You With DWI?
No one wants to get a DWI, but unfortunately, it happens. If you have been charged with DWI in Texas, it is important to know your rights and what DWI penalties you could be facing.
Cole Paschall Law is an experienced DWI law firm in Texas that has helped countless clients with DWI charges. Cole Paschall Law knows the DWI laws in Texas and can help you build a strong defense.
Things to Do If You Get A DWI in Texas by Cole Paschall Law
One’s road journey might come to a screeching stop if they find themselves on the wrong side of the law for DWI. But make sure that when you get stopped for DWI, you know what to do in order to avoid any penalties or jail time that might come your way.
Cole Paschall Law is always here to help you. Make sure you know your DWI rights and contact us today for a consultation.