San Antonio DWI Defense Attorneys

A night out with your friends can quickly turn for the worse if you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror on your drive home. Thousands of people get pulled over for suspected DWI every year. If you get pulled over, don’t panic. Our experienced DWI defense attorneys understand the ramifications a DWI conviction can have on your livelihood and career. We are here to help you navigate the legal system if you have been charged with a DWI.

DWI Parallel Proceedings

Most people are not aware that once you are charged with a DWI, both a civil and criminal case are initiated. Though the criminal case is more important, the civil case needs to be addressed the quickest. Once you are charged with DWI, the arresting officer takes your driver’s license and issues you a temporary license. This temporary license is good for 40 days (license becomes suspended after 40 days) unless you appeal – but you only have 15 days to appeal this temporary license (why addressing the civil case first is important). The appeal is made to the department of public safety and once the appeal is filed, you will be assigned a date in the future to have a hearing. This hearing is called an “ALR hearing” (Administrative License Revocation hearing). At this hearing, your attorney will argue there was no probable cause to suspect you of DWI. Your attorney will also be able to cross examine the officer who arrested you. If your attorney is successful, you will be given your license back and you will be able to continue to drive legally pending the outcome of your criminal case.

Types of DWI Related Offenses

Although DWI is the underlying offense for which you were charged, there are many variations of DWI related offenses.

  • First DWI with a BAC less than .15: When you get pulled over for a DWI, a police officer will ask you to blow into a breathalyzer machine to determine your BAC (Blood alcohol content). If you refuse, a warrant will be given to draw your blood for a BAC determination. Whether through blowing or bleeding, if your BAC comes back below .15 (remember – .08 is the legal BAC limit in Texas for driving) you can be charged with a DWI less than .15, which is a class B misdemeanor.
  • First DWI with BAC greater than .15: If your BAC is greater than .15, your DWI charge will be enhanced from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor.
  • Second DWI: If you are charged with a DWI and you have previously been convicted of another DWI, your current DWI charge will be a class A misdemeanor.
  • Third DWI: If you are charged with a third DWI, your current DWI offense becomes a felony, which has more serious implications punishment wise if you are convicted.
  • DWI with Bodily Injury: If you are charged with a DWI and you injured someone while suspecting of driving under the influence, you will be charged with a felony.
  • Intoxication Manslaughter: If you fatally injure another individual while suspected of driving under the influence, you will be charged with a felony. This is the most serious type of DWI related offense.

Fighting Your DWI Charge

Having a DWI conviction on your record can significantly impact your employment, your finances and most importantly – your freedom. Though common offenses, DWI cases are inherently complex. There is an incredible amount of science that goes into successfully proving (and defending!) DWI charges. In the state of Texas, you can be charged with a DWI if your BAC is above .08 and your physical and mental faculties are impaired. Most prosecutors rest their cases and rely on your BAC to prosecute you. You need a defense attorney who understands the science behind determining blood alcohol levels and how blood alcohol levels can be affected by external factors. Remember – if you refused a breathalyzer test and a subsequent blood draw determined your BAC, this blood draw does not occur immediately after your arrest, but potentially hours later. As a result, the BAC from your blood test is not an accurate indicator of your BAC at the time you were driving. Our defense attorneys understand this and can work to show the disconnect between the time your BAC was determined and what your BAC was during the time you were actually operating a vehicle.

Also, important to note is that in Texas, results from a breathalyzer test are not admissible in criminal proceedings. Although a prosecutor can rely on results from a breathalyzer in pre-trial negotiations and use the result as leverage in an attempt to make you plead guilty, the prosecutor cannot admit your breathalyzer results as evidence in trial. Our defense attorneys know this and if you did consent to a breathalyzer test, our attorneys will use this to you advantage.

Penalties for DWI Related Offenses

As discussed above, there are several types of DWI related offenses. Depending on what type of DWI offense you are charged with will determine the potential punishment you could face:

First DWI with BAC less than .15

  • This is a class B misdemeanor
  • Suspension of your driver’s license (upon conviction) of up to 1 year
  • Fine of up to $2,000
  • Jail sentence of up to 1 year in a county jail
  • Probation or deferred adjudication

First DWI with BAC greater than .15

  • This is a class A misdemeanor
  • Suspension of your driver’s license (upon conviction) of up to 1 year
  • Fine of up to $4,000
  • Jail sentence of up to one year in a county jail
  • Probation

Second DWI

  • This is a class A misdemeanor
  • Suspension of your driver’s license (upon conviction) of up to 2 years
  • Fine of up to $4,000
  • Jail sentence of up to 1 year in a county jail
  • Probation

Third DWI

  • This is a third degree felony
  • Suspension of your driver’s license (upon conviction) of up to 2 years
  • Prison sentence of up to 10 years in a state prison
  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • Probation

DWI with Bodily Injury

  • This is a third degree felony
  • Suspension of your driver’s license (upon conviction) of up to 2 years
  • Prison sentence of up to 10 years in a state prison
  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • Probation

Intoxication Manslaughter

  • This is a second degree felony
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to 2 years
  • Prison sentence of up to life in prison in a state prison
  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • Probation

Penalties for each type of DWI related offense depend heavily on the circumstances of the case. Our defense attorneys know your story is important and this story is critical to establishing what really happened at the time of the alleged offense. We understand it can be embarrassing to talk about the circumstances of your alleged DWI. Our attorneys are here to listen to you and will never pass judgement.

Don’t Wait to Get Help

As soon as you are charged with a DWI, you need to seek representation immediately – both for challenging the civil suspension of your license, but also to start preparing a defense strategy for your criminal case. The earlier you hire counsel, the sooner counsel can begin to fight for you. Do not try to engage with the police or prosecutor on your own. The police and prosecutor are not on your side and their only concern is trying to convict you. Our team of attorneys is here to help you. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation. Let our experience work for you.

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