Driving while intoxicated can lead to serious consequences. Are you wondering what can happen if you are stopped for a possible DWI in Texas? Read on to learn more.
Being Charged with a Texas DWI
The process begins with the stop and investigation by a law enforcement officer. The officer can request your license and then the officer is trained to ask questions designed to confuse you. The officer will ask you to step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. You can refuse to submit to these tests, which will keep the officer from obtaining additional evidence to use against you, but that will likely lead to an arrest. If the officer determines that you were driving while intoxicated, he or she will arrest you. If arrested, the officer can request a breath or blood sample that can be tested to measure the level of alcohol or drugs in your body.
Upon being arrested, you will be transported to the police department or county jail and booked on charges of DWI. An arraignment will be scheduled to give you the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, you will be convicted for driving while intoxicated and the criminal offense of DWI will be on your permanent record. If you plead not guilty, you will be given the opportunity to secure the services of an attorney so you can prepare to fight the charges against you.
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DWI in Texas: Misdemeanor or Felony
Some DWI charges in Texas are misdemeanors while others are felonies. Whether the police charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony DWI depends on many different factors, including whether it is your first offense or one of several. If it is your third offense or greater, you will be charged with felony DWI. That said, there are other considerations and circumstances that can increase the severity of the charges against you in any case. For example, if there is a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle, or an accident occurred that resulted in serious injury or death of another, it can lead to felony charges. DWI charges can lead to a conviction in Texas, with varying punishments and penalties.
Texas DWI Penalties
The penalties for a DWI conviction in Texas are severe. Some of the basic range or penalties are as follows:
- First offense: Fine up to $2,000; up to 180 days in jail; license suspension up to 1 year.
- Second offense: Fine up to $4,000; 1 month to 1 year in jail; license suspension for up to 2 years.
- Third offense: Fine of $10,000; 2 to 10 years in prison; license suspension for up to 2 years.
In Texas, DWI charges become more serious after two convictions, going from misdemeanors to felonies. With a third or greater DWI felony offense, you will be at risk of the harshest penalties. The penalty for a fifth DWI in Texas, for instance, can result in the greatest amount of prison time, unless the charges are dismissed.
It is important to have a criminal defense attorney who focuses on alcohol and drug related cases to represent you if you or a loved one are facing DWI charges. In the Houston, Texas area, reach out to Collin Evans of Collin Evans Law. He is a DWI attorney with years of experience and success handling DWI cases. Contact the Law Office of Collin Evans at any time online or by calling 713-225-0650 to schedule a free consultation about your DWI case.