Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)/Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
I have been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated, now what?
In most cases you have been pulled over by the police for some minor traffic violation. The police officer contacts you and s/he observes some signs which s/he believes indicate intoxication. S/he performs field sobriety testing. You might believe that you passed the test, however you are arrested.
Your case will now be filed with the local District Attorney’s office. You will have a court date in several weeks and you are facing a DWI charge. In most counties you will receive a first appearance date. This date can be from three weeks to several months after the arrest. On this setting, you appear in court and review the case and usually reset the case for another date. You may reset the case one or more times but eventually you will have to decide to either contest the charge and set the case for trial or agree to a plea bargain.
It is important to contact an attorney right away. There is evidence that can be lost if you wait several weeks or months.
An experienced attorney can review the evidence and point out the strengths and weakness of the case against you to help you make the right decision. You also have the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process to be concerned with and you need to decide if you want a hearing to contest that license revocation or obtain an occupational license in the alternative.
Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)
In Texas, it is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher (the same as that for a DWI).
Typical Penalties for BWI Include:
First conviction carries a fine up to $2,000 and/or jail time up to 180 days.
Second conviction carries a fine up to $4,000 and/or jail time up to one year.
Third conviction carries a fine up to $10,000 and/or jail time of 2-10 years.
Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR)
ALR went into effect on January 1, 1995. This program is the administrative process by which the Department suspends the driver licenses of individuals who are arrested for the offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Specifically, an individual may be suspended if he/she either refused to submit to a chemical test or provided a specimen with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater. The DPS is also authorized to suspend the driver licenses of minors who commit the offense of driving under the influence (DUI).
The Texas Legislature recently enhanced the program by amending the governing statutes to require that the arresting officer confiscate the offender’s Texas driver license upon service of a Notice of Suspension and issue a 40-day temporary permit. In addition, the amendments provided for increased suspension periods, as well as a suspension for individuals who refuse to provide a specimen following an arrest for the offense of boating while intoxicated (BWI).
Driver’s License Suspension
When a driver is arrested s/he is supposed to be given a choice of a providing a breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) level test. An automatic suspension can take place if any one of the following occurs:
(1) A test indicates BAC higher than .08 of blood-alcohol or more, or
(2) a blood or urine sample is taken for later analysis, or
(3) the individual refuses to submit to breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) level test.
During the above mentioned scenarios, the driver’s license is usually immediately confiscated by the police officer (unless it is an out-of-state license) and s/he is issued a pink sheet of paper. This paper serves as (1) a formal notice of immediate license suspended, (2) a temporary license valid for 30 days and (3) a technical explanation of the laws and procedures involved. You have 15 days from the date of the offense to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. If this is done within the15-day period, the temporary license “pink paper” is valid until the ALR Judge takes formal action at the hearing. This ALR suspension is based upon the so-called “implied consent” laws: any person driving is “presumed” to imply consent to a breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) level test if s/he is suspected of DWI/DUI.
Minor in Possession
If you are under 21 years of age and found in possession of an alcoholic beverage you may be charged with Minor in Possession or M.I.P. Anytime a minor is near where alcohol is present, they risk being charged with M.I.P. It is irrelevant that the minor did not purchase or own the alcohol. Further it does not matter that the minor did not consume the alcohol. For example, a minor who is at a party, restaurant, club, or in a car where alcohol is accessible and in their possession may face M.I.P. charges.
It is imperative to hire an experience attorney to fight the M.I.P. charge against you or your child. M.I.P. may sound harmless, but it actually carries with it severe penalties such as expensive fines, loss of drivers license privileges, and even the possibility of jail time. Further, a conviction for M.I.P. will appear on your criminal record. In today’s competitive market, even an M.I.P. can affect job and education opportunities.
Occupational License Process
You MUST give all of the information on the following page to the paralegal BEFORE NOON ON THURSDAY to schedule your hearing for the FOLLOWING TUESDAY, in a PENDING CASE. If you have already been CONVICTED, you WILL NOT have a hearing until the NEXT TUESDAY. You MUST APPEAR before the JUDGE and GIVE TESTIMONY at your hearing.
Texas DWI Penalties, Fines & Sentencing
When faced with a Texas DWI arrest and/or conviction, there are a number of issues to consider: Will you have to serve jail time? If so, for how long? Or is probation a possibility? What will you owe in fines? Will your license be suspended, and for how long? Will you have to go to a DWI school or do community service? Here are the basic laws regarding Texas DWI fines and sentencing.