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Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

 

 

Driving While Intoxicated First Offense.

If you have never had a prior DWI offense in this state or any other you will be charged with DWI 1st. This is normally a class B misdemeanor and carries the following possible penalties and consequences (Note if you test .15 or greater the offense may be elevated to a class B misdemeanor):

 

  • up to 6 months in the county jail;
  • Up to a $2000 fine;
  • Court costs of around $450;
  • If probation, up to 24 months ( plus $60 each month to the probation officer);
  • If probation, probably around 40 hours of community service;
  • If probation, several courses which you have to pay for;
  • Up to a one year driver's license suspension in addition to the ALR suspension;
  • If you tested .15 on the breath or blood test, you will be required to install at your expense the ignition interlock device (around $150 to install and $50 monthly to keep on  your car) during the period that you are on probation.
  • Additionally, if you test .15 or above, a new law allows the prosecutor to raise the severity level of this offense up to a class A misdemeanor.
  • If you get a conviction you will have to pay a surcharge to DPS to keep your license once you get it back. This is $1000 a year for 3 years if you tested below .16 and $2000 a year for three years if you tested .16 or above.
  • In addition, if you have a CDL license, it will be disqualified for one year.
  • Lastly, your insurance rates will increase significantly for two or three years.

 

Needless to say at this point, getting a DWI can be very expensive. However, another way to look at it is if you had an accident and someone was hurt while DWI, you could be charged with Intoxication Assault or Intoxication manslaughter if someone was killed; both serious felonies.

 

The above being said, probably around 95% of all DWI cases end up being plea bargained out. If case you are not familiar with that term, it means you plead guilty or no contest in return for an acceptable deal from the prosecutor.

 

Most  people end up getting probation for a year to two years ( 2 max), a fine of about $700 and court costs of about $450, have to do some courses while on probation, report once a month to a probation officer and be subject to random drug analysis. Not all that bad but enough to think serious about going to trial.

 

If a case is taken to trial and you lose, you will most likely still end up getting probation if you wish. If you win, then it all goes away and you can get the record expunged and every trace removed from the record. The cost of going to trial varies from attorney to attorney. It can cost from around $1000 up to $10,000 according to who you get and the complexities of your trial. Most charge around $3000.

If you add up all the costs of what you pay if you plea bargain the case out, $3000 to go to trial is not a bad gamble.

 

There is a lot more that can be said about DWI 1st but that is best left for when you call our office for a free consultation at 1-800-630-5985.

If you wish to read the law on this you can link to: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.49.htm#49.04

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