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If you are facing a DWI in Texas first offense, you are likely very anxious about your future, and have many questions about what you should do and what penalties you are facing. You are probably a good, “normal” person who simply made a one-time mistake. Unfortunately, this mistake could cost you dearly, altering your future in ways you cannot imagine. Your primary goals may be to avoid Harris County jail as well as avoiding a Harris County criminal record, if possible. That will also be the goal of your Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney. We will be by your side from the moment you contact our offices, helping you navigate the maze of the Texas judicial system in the best way possible.
If You Have Been Stopped on Suspicion of DWI, You are Unlikely to Be Going Home - You may have simply been enjoying a night out with friends, and did not believe you were too impaired to drive. You may believe that if you simply answer any questions the police officer asks you, you will be allowed to go home. Unfortunately, this is rarely true. If the police officer felt you were impaired enough to pull you over, then the officer has probably already made up his or her mind regarding your guilt. This means that even if you answer all the questions, do reasonably well on the field sobriety tests and even test below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, you could still be arrested if the officer believes your mental or physical faculties were impaired. In fact, chances are good that you will experience a Harris County arrest for DWI in Texas.
What Happens Once You Are Pulled Over on Suspicion of DWI in Texas? The officer will ask for your driver’s license, the registration for the vehicle you are driving and proof of insurance. He or she may then ask you to perform field sobriety tests. You are not legally obligated to engage in these field sobriety tests, and can politely refuse. There are a number of reasons a person—even a person who is not impaired—could fail field sobriety tests, including a medical issue, an illness, wearing the wrong shoes, being overweight, having poor balance or an inner ear issue, or even simply from being anxious about the tests. If you do take the field sobriety tests, your Houston DWI attorney may be able to challenge the tests and have the results thrown out.
Should You Take a Breathalyzer Test? Next, you may be asked to take a Breathalyzer test. You do not legally have to agree to a breathalyzer test in the state of Texas, however if you refuse, your driver’s license will likely be revoked for a certain length of time. Your refusal may also be used against you in court, as “evidence” of your guilt. If the results of your breathalyzer are 0.08 or above, you will be arrested and charged with DWI in Texas—or DUI in Texas if you are a minor and have any detectable level of alcohol in your system. The question of whether you should agree to a breathalyzer or chemical test is one only you can answer.
If you do take the test, you have given the Harris County district attorney evidence to use against you during your DWI trial. If you do not take the test you will almost certainly lose your driving privileges for a certain length of time. The decision of whether or not to submit to chemical testing is one only you can answer, and whatever choice you make, your Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorneys will do their best to use your decision to your advantage.
You Could Be Over the Legal Limit with as Little as Two Drinks - You may be surprised to find that you do not have to drink all that much for your BAC level to reach .08 percent. In fact, a small woman could reach that level with only two mixed drinks. Your BAC level will depend on many different things—your gender, your weight, your tolerance to alcohol, how fast you drank the drinks, whether you ate before drinking, and whether you are taking prescription drugs. Unfortunately, the Harris County district attorney is unlikely to care about any of these issues, rather will be focused on finding you guilty of DWI in Texas.
Penalties for a First Offense DWI in Texas - In most cases, a first offense DWI in Texas will be a Class B misdemeanor charge. If convicted, and your BAC was less than .15 percent, you face a maximum fine of $2,000, a jail sentence form three days to 180 days, and a driver’s license suspension from 90 days to one year. If, however, your BAC was .15 percent or above, your fines could increase to as much as $4,000, your jail time could increase to up to one year, and you are likely to lose your driver’s license for up to a year.
If you are a first-time offender whose BAC was between 0.08 percent and .14 percent, you may be allowed to apply for a non-disclosure two years after your probation ends, however you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for a period of six months. A non-disclosure will restrict who can see your criminal record, making it easier for you to obtain employment in the future.
How Sullo & Sullo Can Help - In most cases, a first-time DWI in Texas offense will not result in felony charges—unless you had a minor in the car at the time of your arrest, you injured another person in an accident while inebriated, you were traveling at an excessive speed, or a person died as a result of your impaired driving. Even if this is a fairly straightforward first offense DWI in Texas, it is possible for the charges to escalate in the hands of an over-eager Harris County district attorney, therefore it is crucial that you have a trusted Houston DWI attorney by your side from start to finish.
Your Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI criminal defense lawyer can handle both your criminal case as well as your Administrative DPS case. Our attorneys will aggressively defend your driving privileges, as well as your freedom. Do not wait to contact an experienced Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney—call today for a comprehensive evaluation of your DWI in Texas charges.