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Defending Your DWI in Texas Charges with Sullo & Sullo’s Houston DWI Attorneys - If you have been charged with DWI in Texas, it is essential that you speak to experienced Houston DWI attorneys as quickly as possible. The Sullo & Sullo Houston criminal defense attorneys will make sure that your rights and your future are strongly defended; we believe that one mistake should not totally derail your life. Whether you are facing a DWI first offense charge in Texas, a DUI in Texas, a second or subsequent DWI, Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter, the Sullo & Sullo attorneys can help you.
We will attend your ALR hearing to give you the best chance of retaining your license and will be totally prepared to defend you at your DWI trial. Whether there were issues with your field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests or blood alcohol tests, the Houston criminal defense lawyers at Sullo & Sullo can help with your DWI in Texas. We understand that you are anxious, stressed out, and even frightened about your future. We will answer your questions in a comprehensive manner, clearly laying out your options, and helping you choose the option which will result in the best outcome to your DWI in Texas or DUI in Texas charges.
Perhaps you are dealing with the potential loss of a CDL license, which affects your livelihood. Or perhaps you need to obtain an occupational license in Texas. We understand that the loss of a driver’s license can be devastating, affecting nearly every aspect of your life, especially your employment. We will work hard on your behalf, dealing with the Harris County district attorney, and strongly defending your rights from start to finish.
How to Select the Best Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me for a DWI in Texas - As highly experienced Houston DWI attorneys, the Sullo & Sullo criminal defense attorneys can help you obtain the best outcome possible following your DWI in Texas charges. You may have many questions, such as “What is the difference between a DUI in Texas and a DWI in Texas?” or “Is a DWI a felony in Texas?”
We can answer all these questions and more. It is, however, extremely important that you not attempt to deal with your DWI in Texas charges on your own. You will almost certainly find yourself facing much harsher penalties than you would have with a knowledgeable Houston DWI attorney from Sullo & Sullo in your corner, defending your rights and advocating on your behalf. We can help you with virtually every issue related to DWI in Texas charges.
Field Sobriety Tests in Texas - Field sobriety tests are used by police officers in the state of Texas—and in almost all states across the United States—to allow the police officer to determine whether the suspect is impaired and whether a breathalyzer test should be administered. Unfortunately, there are significant inaccuracies associated with breathalyzer tests—these tests can be inaccurate 30 percent or more of the time. There are so many factors which can negatively affect a field sobriety test in Texas, that the test results can usually be challenged.
Some of those factors include the shoes the person is wearing (high heels for women, in particular), being overweight, having inner ear issues, poor vision or hearing impairment, taking certain medications, having balance issues, suffering from an illness or disease, being overly fatigued, and even being anxious about the results of the tests. In short, in some cases, a totally sober person may find it difficult to pass the field sobriety tests. What many people are unaware of is that you are not required to take field sobriety tests in the state of Texas and can politely refuse. While there are no criminal penalties for refusing to take field sobriety tests in Texas, the Harris County district attorney may use the refusal against you at trial to attempt to show you refused the tests because you knew you were guilty of driving while intoxicated. In some instances, it could be better to take the field sobriety tests, then have your attorney challenge the results of the tests.
Breathalyzer Tests in Texas - Like field sobriety tests, breathalyzer tests in Texas also have many issues which can be successfully challenged at trial. While you can refuse a breathalyzer test, just as you can refuse field sobriety tests, there is a penalty for doing so. If you refuse a breathalyzer test in Texas, you will be subject to an automatic driver’s license suspension for a period of 180 days. This suspension is totally separate from your DWI criminal trial and penalties and is administered by DPS.
Breathalyzer tests can result in falsely high readings, depending on gender, size, your diet, your individual health or health condition, the temperature of your breath, whether the machine has been properly maintained and calibrated and whether the officer is trained in using the breathalyzer machine. In the state of Texas, the legal limit for an adult is 0.08 percent, although the legal limit for a person with a CDL license is only 0.04 percent. For those in the state who are under the age of 21, there is a zero-tolerance policy, meaning there can be no detectable level of alcohol in the blood.
The Texas BAC Calculator - While a BAC of 0.08 percent is the level which triggers a DWI arrest, a person in the state of Texas can be arrested—and even convicted—of DWI even when his or her BAC is less than 0.08 percent. This can occur when the police officer testifies that your mental or physical faculties were impaired to the point that driving was unsafe to yourself or others. While BAC numbers can give some indication of the level of impairment a driver is under, it is not always accurate because alcohol tolerance varies so much from one person to the next. Those who are chronic drinkers are likely have a higher tolerance for alcohol than those who rarely drink alcohol.
Genetics can play a part in the indication of impairment as can gender, size, whether food was consumed prior to drinking alcohol, and many other issues. In general, when the BAC reaches between 0.06 percent and 0.09 percent, the person will suffer some level of impairment related to balance, reaction time, speech, and hearing. If you agreed to a breathalyzer or blood test in the state of Texas, and your BAC tested at or above the legal limit, you need an experienced Houston DWI attorney who can negotiate with the Harris County district attorney on your behalf.
Texas Police Pullover Procedure - If you see police lights behind you in the state of Texas, you must pull over to the right as soon as it is safe to do so. Once you have pulled over, place your vehicle in park, roll down your window and the passenger window (in case the officer walks up on the passenger side) and turn off your ignition. If it is dark, turn on your interior light. Remain seated, with your hands in clear sight, until the officer asks you to produce your driver’s license, registration, and insurance. If you happen to be lawfully carrying a weapon, inform the officer. Answer questions politely, but do not offer any more information than your contact information. The officer will attempt to ask you how much you have had to drink, where you came from, and any other questions that could potentially “trick” you into saying something which can later be used against you in court. If you do not want to engage in field sobriety tests, politely refuse. The same goes for the breathalyzer test. If you are arrested, clearly ask for an attorney, then stop talking.
Take careful note of the actions of the officer, since illegal traffic stops could be a problem, and if your traffic stop was not legal, your DWI in Texas charges could potentially be dropped. Under the Fourth Amendment, a police officer must have probable cause prior to legally stopping and/or searching your vehicle. In other words, the officer must have seen you engage in some driving behavior which gives him or her reasonable suspicion that you are driving while intoxicated. Such probable causes can include:
- Driving significantly over or under the speed limit;
- Weaving from one lane to another;
- Running a stop sign or stop light;
- Failure to use a turn signal;
- Failure to turn on headlights when necessary, or
- Driving with an expired registration tag.
In other words, having what the officer considers an offensive bumper sticker on your vehicle is not sufficient cause to pull you over for suspicion of DUI. By the same token, simply because the officer sees you leaving a bar, or sees you out driving at 3:00 a.m., neither of these amount to reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe you are driving while intoxicated. Therefore, if the police officer cannot properly establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull you over for a DUI, your Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney may be able to have your DWI charges in Texas dismissed.
DWI in Texas First Offense - A DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor offense—so long as there are no aggravating factors, such as a person being injured or killed, or having a child in the vehicle with you. Although a misdemeanor is hardly as serious as a felony offense, a first-time DWI is nonetheless a serious matter. You could find yourself facing from 72 hours to 180 days in jail, could have your driver’s licenses suspended for 90 days to 365 days, and could face a maximum fine of $2,000. A first offense Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) has the same penalties.
If you are facing a first-time DWI with a BAC at or above .15 percent, you will face a Class A misdemeanor, with a fine as large as $4,000, from 72 hours to one year in jail, and a driver’s license suspension from 90 days to 365 days. If you were traveling at an excessively high speed, you could also face enhanced penalties, even for a first-time DWI in Texas. You may also be required to attend a DWI education program, a DWI intervention program, and have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.
DWI in Texas Second Offense - A DWI in Texas second offense is a Class A misdemeanor, with a maximum fine as large as $4,000, jail time from 30 days to 365 days, a driver’s license suspension from 180 days to two years, the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, attendance at a DWI education program, attendance at a DWI intervention program, and impoundment of your vehicle. If you are charged with a second offense BWI, you will suffer the same penalties. Enhanced penalties apply if you were driving at an excessive speed, had a minor under the age of 15 in your vehicle, or were involved in an accident in which another person was seriously injured or killed.
DWI in Texas Intoxication Assault - If you are involved in an accident while you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and another person is seriously injured as a result, you could face Intoxication Assault charges, in addition to your DWI charges. It must be shown that you were operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, in a public place, and that because of your intoxication an accident occurred, causing serious bodily injury to another person. You can also be charged with Intoxication Assault if you were boating while intoxicated, flying while intoxicated, operating an amusement park ride while intoxicated, or assembling an amusement park ride while intoxicated.
Intoxication Assault is a third-degree felony in the state of Texas, however if the injuries cause a person to be in a vegetative state, the offense becomes a second-degree felony, or if the injury happens to a peace officer, emergency medical personnel or firefighter, while in the line of duty, it will also become a second-degree felony. The penalties for an Intoxication Assault conviction include from two to ten years in prison, a fine as large as $10,000 and a driver’s license suspension from 90 days to one year. If the offense was enhanced to a second-degree felony, the penalties can include a prison sentence from two to twenty years in prison. You could also be sentenced to up to 1,000 hours of community service, be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle and participate in an approved alcohol and drug program.
DWI in Texas Intoxication Manslaughter - In the state of Texas, there is a category of homicide which encompasses situations in which a drunk person operates a motor vehicle and causes the death of another person. This crime is known as Intoxication Manslaughter and occurs when a person drives while intoxicated, is involved in an accident, and another person dies as a result of the accident. A conviction of Intoxication Manslaughter can result in from two to twenty years in state prison. If you are sentenced to 20 years in prison, you must serve at least two years of that sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Your fines will be up to $10,000, and you will be sentenced to community service (from 240 hours to 800 hours). This community service must be served in addition to fines and prison time. Intoxication Manslaughter is an extremely serious charge, with grave penalties, requiring an experienced Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney working hard on your behalf.
Occupational Licenses in Texas - After requesting your ALR hearing following being charged with DWI in Texas, you may be able to apply for an occupational driver’s license, which is a special, restricted license you may be eligible for. It is likely to be much easier to obtain an occupational license if you have a Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI lawyer by your side. An occupational license only allows you to drive to and from work, to and from school, and to complete essential household errands. Since being without a driver’s license can be extremely difficult in our society, it can be very helpful to have an occupational license which will, at the very least, allow you to continue to work and make a living.
Loss of CDL License - There are literally thousands of Texans whose livelihood depends on a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) license. A DWI in Texas conviction can result in the loss of a CDL license, severely hindering your ability to support your family. To prevent the loss of your CDL license, it is extremely important to have a Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney in your corner, fighting for your future. If you were operating a commercial vehicle under your CDL license when arrested for DWI in Texas, you will be issued a temporary driving permit, which will expire in 41 days from the date of issue.
With this temporary license, you can continue driving your commercial vehicle for 41 days. If you refused a chemical test, you have 15 days to request an administrative hearing to contest the CDL license suspension. If you are unsuccessful at your ALR hearing, your CDL license will be disqualified for one year—unless you were driving a commercial vehicle with hazardous materials placard, then the penalty is the loss of your CDL license for three years. Other penalties for a DWI in Texas with a CDL license (first offense) include a minimum jail sentence of three days, a maximum jail sentence of up to 180 days, and fines as high as $2,000. Because your livelihood is at stake, it is imperative to have a Sullo & Sullo criminal defense attorney defending your charges.
DUI vs. DWI in Texas - A DWI in Texas is charged for any person who has a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher, or when the person is judged by the police officer to have impairment of his or her mental or physical faculties which caused the person to drive in an unsafe manner. A first-time DWI is a class B misdemeanor. A DUI is charged for a driver who is under the age of 21 and is considered a class C misdemeanor. A driver under the age of 21 could also be charged with a DWI if his or her BAC is high enough, but a person over the age of 21 cannot be charged with DUI. A minor who is convicted of DUI in Texas could be eligible to have the conviction expunged once he or she turns 21. The penalties for a DUI in Texas can vary, according to the age of the offender. For those under the age of 17, the penalties will be relatively mild, increasing in severity with the age of the offender, as well as the BAC.
Is DWI a Felony in Texas - A DWI can become a felony offense in the state of Texas if it is your third or subsequent DWI, if you had a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle when you were stopped, if your impaired driving resulted in a car accident in which another person was seriously injured, or if your impaired driving resulted in a car accident in which another person was killed. Depending on the specifics of your DWI felony charges in Texas, you could spend up to twenty years in prison, could pay extremely large fines, and could be sentenced to hundreds of hours of community service.
Texas DWI DIVERT Program/Pretrial Diversion - Depending on the circumstances surrounding your Harris County arrest for DWI in Texas, you may qualify for a pretrial diversion program, such as the Texas DWI DIVERT program. This is a program specially designed for those facing a first offense DWI in Texas. The most appealing aspect of the DIVERT Program is that it could potentially allow you to have your DWI expunged from your record, once you have completed all the requirements, which include:
- You must admit your guilt as far as driving while inebriated;
- You must either be employed full-time or be in school full-time.
- At the time of your arrest you must not have been charged with a violation of the Texas open container law;
- You must not have any prior arrests, even if an arrest did not result in a conviction;
- You must possess a valid driver’s license;
- You must submit a urine analysis;
- You must be able to pay Pretrial Diversion Program fees (about $302);
- You must undergo an interview with the Chief Pretrial Services Officer, and
- You must agree to undergo an FBI background check and a fingerprint analysis.
Many people admitted into the DIVERT program find it quite difficult to complete, however if you can complete the program, you are much farther ahead in your life than if you are convicted of DWI. The Houston DWI lawyers at Sullo & Sullo can give you more information regarding the DWI DIVERT program, helping you determine whether you could qualify for the program.
Penalties for a DWI in Texas - The following is a list of how DWI crimes in the state of Texas will be charged:
- A DWI in Texas first offense is a class B misdemeanor;
- A BWI (boating while intoxicated) first offense is a class B misdemeanor;
- A DWI in Texas with a BAC at or above 0.15 percent will face a class A misdemeanor;
- A DWI first offense with open container enhancements is a class B misdemeanor;
- A DWI in Texas second offense is a class A misdemeanor
- A BWI in Texas second offense is a class A misdemeanor;
- A DWI in Texas third offense is a third-degree felony;
- A BWI in Texas third offense is a third-degree felony;
- A third or subsequent DWI in Texas or BWI in Texas with one prior state prison sentence is a second-degree felony;
- A third or subsequent DWI in Texas or BWI in Texas with two prior state prison sentences will receive enhanced felony punishments;
- DWI in Texas Intoxication Assault is a third-degree felony;
- DWI in Texas Intoxication Manslaughter is a second-degree felony, and
- DWI in Texas with a minor passenger younger than 15 years old is a state jail felony.
Defending a DWI in Texas - If you have been charged with DWI in Texas, it is important that you speak to an experienced Houston DWI lawyer as quickly as possible. There are many Harris County criminal court preliminary motions which can be filed by your Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney which can minimize the consequences of your DWI in Texas or DUI in Texas charges. The DWI laws in Texas can be fairly complex, and there may be issues related to your Harris County field sobriety tests, your Harris County breathalyzer test or your Harris County blood alcohol level tests which can provide the opportunity to challenge the results of those tests. Further, your Constitutional rights may have been violated during your traffic stop and subsequent arrests. You will likely have many questions for your Houston criminal defense lawyer following your Harris County arrest for DWI in Texas. We believe the law firm of Sullo & Sullo is the very best choice for a criminal defense attorn for your Houston DWI charges. The lawyers at Sullo & Sullo will be in your corner, protecting your rights and your future. Sullo & Sullo offers Houston Criminal Lawyer Free Consultations, and they are Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers with Payment Plans.