How to Fight a DWI Charge in Texas
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious crime in Texas, and carries serious penalties with it. Since DWIs can often lead to severe, fatal car accidents and property damage, the state can impose harsh jail sentences, fines, and administrative penalties on drivers who drink or use drugs before getting behind the wheel. Facing these charges can be intimidating and scary – if you need to fight a DWI charge in Texas, here is what you need to know.
If you are facing a DWI charge in Texas, it is important to contact an experienced Houston DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. Representing yourself can reduce your chances of securing the optimal potential outcome. Your attorney can provide numerous benefits to your case, from evidence investigation to negotiation and more.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
You have the right to remain silent during a DWI arrest, and the officers will inform you of this right. Do not answer any questions from any investigators, officers, or lawyers until you contact your defense attorney. Do not admit to any other arrests or charges you may have.
The reason you should remain silent until your attorney is present is because the court could use what you say against you. Your attorney can advise you of what to say and what not to say to avoid helping the case against you. Only speak to prosecutors and law enforcement if your attorney is in the room with you.
Always Comply with Officers at the Scene
Although you do have the right to remain silent, you should still comply with the orders of the officers during the arrest. Do not fight or argue with the police officer and quietly go with him or her to the police station. Aggravated behavior can lead to additional charges or a reduced chance that the court will drop the DWI charges.
In addition, you should not refuse a blood or breathalyzer test. According to Texas state law, you have to comply with an officer’s request for a breath test if he or she stops you on suspicion of a DWI. If you refuse the breath test, you can face a license suspension from 180 days to 2 years, and the prosecution can use your refusal to cooperate against you in court.
Contact a DWI Attorney
As soon as you can after your arrest, you should contact a DWI attorney to assist you with your case. You will need an attorney present to speak to law enforcement and to answer any questions you have about your potential charges. The court may provide a defense attorney for you, but you should obtain your own representation for more personalized attention and access to resources.
Understand the Consequences
Not all DWI charges in Texas are the same, and you may be facing higher charges based on the number of previous offenses you have, your blood alcohol concentration at the time of your arrest, and the damage you may have caused. The more severe the damage, the more offenses you have, and the higher your blood alcohol concentration, the more severe the penalties will be.
Hiring an attorney can help you either reduce or drop your DWI charges, and you will need to understand the difference between the potential consequences.
- A first-time DWI is a misdemeanor that can lead to a fine of up to $2,000, up to 72 hours in jail, and a license suspension between 90 days to 1 year. You may also need to undergo a period of probation that can last from 1 to 2 years. In addition, you may have to pay $2,000 every year for 3 years to keep your license.
- A second-time DWI is a misdemeanor that involves more severe consequences. You may face a fine of up to $4,000, a license suspension for at least 1 year, and between 1 month to 1 year in jail. You will have to pay the $2,000 annual fee for 3 years to keep your license.
- If you commit a DWI for a third time, you can face a $10,000 fine and between 2 to 10 years in prison. You may also face a license suspension between 1 to 2 years and have the pay the $2,000 annual fee for 3 years.