Fort Worth Misdemeanor DWI Attorney
If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), you can face serious penalties that may impact your future employment, rental housing options, admission and/or financial aid for college not to mention the immediate concern about the risk of jail time, loss of your driving privileges and damage to your reputation. There are several ways that a person can be considered to be driving while intoxicated in Texas.
The first type of DWI is based on impaired mental or physical faculties. This is the type of DWI that most people envision where a driver is pulled over because of erratic driving, failure to stop at a stop sign or other types of unsafe driving. However, Texas law like that in other states does not require evidence of actual bad driving. Texas has a DWI “per se” component that permits a prosecutor to obtain a conviction for DWI even if you drive flawlessly and chemical testing of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) via blood or breath exceeds the legal limit of .08 percent. This type of violation is often referred to as a “per se” violation because a valid accurate chemical test that indicates your BAC level exceeds this legal limit constitutes a violation even if your mental and physical ability to drive are not impacted in any way.
Texas Penal Code Section 49.0 defines intoxication as follows:
Not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
Penalties for 1st DWI Offense & 2nd DWI Offense
If you have no prior DWI offenses, you will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor provided your BAC level does not exceed .15 percent, which will result in enhanced penalties. A first conviction for DWI with a BAC level over the legal limit but not exceeding .15 percent will result in a minimum jail term of 72 hours up to a maximum of 180 days. However, this minimum increases to six days if you are driving with an open container in your vehicle when you are arrested for DWI. A first offense for DWI also carries a fine up to a maximum of $2,000. A 1st offense conviction of DWI in Texas also results in a driver’s license suspension of 90 days to one year.
If you submit to blood or breath testing with a BAC of .15 or above, you will face even more serious penalties. DWI with this higher BAC level constitutes a Class A misdemeanor which carries a sentence of thirty days in jail up to a year of incarceration and a maximum fine of $4,000. A second DWI conviction also may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor carrying similar penalties to a first offense with a BAC level of .15 or above. If a driver is convicted a second time for DWI, this also will bring a license suspension of 180 days to two years.
While these penalties can seriously disrupt your life, we aggressively defend clients charged with DWI based on grounds like insufficient basis for the initial stop, improper conduct of the officer during the stop, failure to follow proper procedures when conducting field sobriety tests (FSTs), inaccurate BAC breath or blood testing and other defenses. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, we frequently seek diversion or probation options to minimize the consequences of a DWI conviction and to keep you out of jail. If this is your first Fort Worth DWI offense, we may be able to get any jail time suspended with a period of probation between six months and two years. If you have questions about your options following a DWI arrest, contact a Fort Worth DWI attorney at the Fulgham Law Firm P.C. at 817-886-3078 to schedule a free consultation.