Houston DWI Attorney
At the David A. Breston Law Office in Houston, we aggressively defend DWI and DUI charges both in court and at DMV hearings by carefully strategizing with our clients to develop a top-notch defense. We believe that everyone deserves the right to fair and equal representation, regardless of the crime. We investigate why the police stopped your car, how you performed on the field sobriety tests (FST’s) and whether the breathalyzer had any history of malfunctioning. We specialize in developing successful defenses to DWI charges by utilizing the science behind blood-alcohol and our specialized knowledge of proper police procedure during a DWI arrest. About every 20 minutes in Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol. However, not everyone who is facing DWI charges acted with criminal intent. A simple lapse in judgement can have a lifetime of consequences, including a loss in reputation, costly fines, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, increased auto insurance, the placement of an ignition interlock on your car, or even time behind bars.
Hire a Houston DUI Defense Attorney Who Will Fight on Your Behalf
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested for a DWI or DUI in Houston we want you to know that we are here to help. We understand how stressful being arrested for a DWI can be and our Houston DWI defense attorney is ready, willing, and able to defend you or your loved one against this criminal DWI charge. It is important to remember that being arrested for a DWI does not mean you are guilty or will be convicted. Contact David A. Breston or call (713) 224-4040 for a free consultation.
Penalties For a DUI in Houston
In Houston, the penalties associated with a DWI depend on your age, license type (commercial or operator, for example), whether or not you had passengers in the vehicle, and if anyone else was injured. Here’s the breakdown:
A first-offense conviction includes a fine not to exceed $2,000.00 and/or the possibility of serving jail time from 3 days to 180 days, and a driver license suspension of 90 to 365 days. (Class B Misdemeanor).
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- 3-180 days in jail
- Suspending your license for up to 2 years
- Additional surcharges of $2,000 per year for keeping your license
- Education programs
The maximum fine increases to no more than $4,000.00 and/or jail from 30 days to one year, and a possible driver license suspension ranging from 180 days to 2 years. (Class A Misdemeanor).
- $4,000 in fines
- 30-365 days in jail
- Suspending license for up to two years
- Surcharges of $2,000 per year to keep your license (up to three years)
Third and subsequent offenses:
- $10,000 (maximum) in fines
- 2-10 years in a state prison
- License suspension of up to two years
- Surcharges of $2,000 per year for three years
- Education programs
DUI Arrests in Texas (2010-2016)
Data released by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows there has been a steady decrease in the amounts of DUI arrests in Texas. Of the 62,327 people arrested in Texas in 2016 for a DUI, only 0.2 % were juveniles and 77.7 % were males. 87.6% of arrests were of White descent and 10.5% were Black. According to the department, the remainder of races 53.1 % were not Hispanic and 46.9 % were Hispanic. The age group with the highest number of DWI’s were the 25 to 29 year-old group.
What Is a DWI?
A DWI refers to driving while intoxicated. Texas uses your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to determine whether or not someone is too intoxicated to be operating a vehicle. The established BAC limits are 0.08% for anyone 21 or older, 0.04% for drivers of commercial vehicles, or any detectable amount for those under 21.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that it takes a 180-pound man approximately four drinks to reach a BAC of .08. It also says that alcohol metabolizes at an approximate rate of BAC dropping .015 an hour, but these number vary on an individual basis.
A DWI is the most common alcohol-related offense, but you can also be charged with other crimes involving your vehicles. It’s illegal, for example, to have an open container of alcohol in your passenger area, even if you’re parked. An open container is considered a class C misdemeanor and is punishable by a $500 fine, but a DWI/open container combo is a Class B misdemeanor that carries a minimum of six days’ jail time.
Some examples of impaired driving include:
- Driving too close to the vehicle in front of you
- Driving too slow or fast
- Almost hitting someone or something
- Making a wide turn
- Narrowly turning a corner
- Inconsistent braking
- Not making a complete stop when you go right at a light or stop sign
Open Alcohol Container and DUI
DWI with an open alcohol container (first offense): In addition to the penalty referenced above you face a minimum 6 days in jail and a fine of no more than $2,000.00. (Class B Misdemeanor).
DWI With an Accident
DWI with an accident where serious bodily injury occurred as a proximate cause of the intoxication: this crime is called intoxication assault, and upon conviction you may serve a minimum of 2 years up to a maximum of 10 years in jail. Additionally, you may be fined up to $10,000.00. (3 rd Degree Felony).
DUI Involving Death
DWI where a death has occurred as a proximate cause of the intoxication: here, the crime is intoxication manslaughter. Upon conviction you might have to pay a maximum fine of $10,000.00 and/or be imprisoned from 2 to 20 years (Intoxicated Manslaughter or Manslaughter with use of Deadly Weapon are both 2nd Degree Felonies).
DWI With a Child Passenger
DWI with a child passenger: A person commits a state jail felony if they drive while intoxicated and there is another person in the vehicle who is under 15 years of age. `Punishment for a non-enhanced state jail felony is by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than 2 years or less than 180 days and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00.
In most DWI cases you will receive probation, but there is no guarantee that you will receive a probated jail sentence or fine. If you are convicted of intoxication assault and wish to receive probation, a minimum of 30 days in jail must be served as a condition of probation. If you are convicted of intoxication manslaughter you must serve a minimum of 120 days in jail. If you are convicted of Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter and the court or jury finds that you committed the offense with a deadly weapon you may not be eligible to receive probation at all.
Zero Tolerance for Minors
Minors can be cited for violating Texas law if they are caught purchasing, attempting to purchase, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages. Further, minors who consume any amount of alcohol and then drive a motor vehicle can be arrested or ticketed for illegal activity even where the minor is driving without being intoxicated. A person under 21 arrested for DWI will be treated differently mostly in regard to their driver license. Driver license restrictions and suspensions are more severe for a person under 21 arrested and convicted of DWI. A person who is under 21 will have a one-year suspension period even if they receive probation for a DWI. Thus, they may need a restricted driver license for one year.
Texas is considered a zero-tolerance state regarding minors and DWI. For DWIs, a minor is considered anyone under the age of 21. Remember, any amount of alcohol is considered grounds for a DWI. For your first time offense alone, you can expect to receive a license suspension for up to one year, up to $500 in fines, a 12-hour long alcohol education program, and the possibility for 90 days community service.
Even non-driving related alcohol offenses can affect your driving privileges as a minor. Acts like attempting to buy alcohol underage, having a fake ID, and public intoxication can result in license suspension of up to 30 days for your first offense, 60 for your second, and 180 for your third.
Other circumstances can also affect your maximum penalties. If you were driving with a child passenger, for example, you’ll automatically face $10,000 in fines, up to 180 days of license suspension, and two years in jail. Furthermore, if someone is gravely injured because you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated, you may be charged with intoxicated assault or intoxicated manslaughter, which is a second degree felony. Contact the Houston DWI defense attorneys today at the Law Office of David A. Breston. DWI cases are highly complex, David Breston employs strategic and creative strategies to represent his clients.
David Breston | Your Houston DUI Defense Lawyer
Don’t hesitate to contact the Law Office of David A. Breston today if you or a loved one has recently been convicted of a drunk driving charge. Since 1997, David A. Breston has been serving Houston and helping represent those who are usually under-represented for criminal charges. Our firm will fight hard for your freedom and will do whatever it takes to ensure that you are our priority.
“David Breston and his staff are friendly, professional and detail-oriented. This attorney and his staff handled my immigration case with care and proficiency. If there was anything that I did not understand, he and his staff were there to assist me in person, over the phone or via email. Very easy to reach at any time of day (and night… I had to email one of his staff a quick question at 10pm at night and got a reply half an hour later!). I highly recommend this firm. – E.L”