Were you charged with a DUI or DWI? Check out these 4 DWI tips for guidance, then contact our San Antonio DWI lawyers to get started on your case today.
1. DWI Costs
In Texas, a DWI cost will vary dramatically, depending on what the breath test result was, what number DWI it is, and what county or city you got the DWI in. Fines will range anywhere from the low end of $300, up to $1,000. Court costs are in the range of $300 to $500. Probation runs roughly $30 a month. Probation can last, on the low end of six months to two years for a misdemeanor, and up to 10 years for a felony. Those costs can vary quite a bit.
There are also surcharges that DPS puts on your driver’s license. Those surcharges last three years, and they range from $1,000 to $2,000 a year. It’s really hard to get a solid number of what a DWI would cost, but I think it’s safe to say on the low end, $3,000 to $5,000 would be the absolute minimum. The high end would be $10,000 or more. Of course, if you have your case thrown out, dismissed, or you win at trial, you don’t have any of those costs other than attorney’s fees.
2. Preparing for a DWI Consultation
If you’ve been charged in Texas with a DWI, for your initial meeting what I would like to have you do is bring in all your paperwork that you got in the arrest. There will be a paper that’s described as a DIC-24. You may have gotten some police report, and some preliminary matters. Bring all that in with you because I can review those and it gives me a starting point.
From you, I’m going to want to know whether the officer told you why he stopped you. If an officer stopped you for weaving within your lane, if he stopped you for speeding, those are good defensive reasons for a stop; they help you. If an officer said he stopped you for driving the wrong way, or he didn’t stop you because there was an accident, those are obviously things that will help the prosecution.
What we need to do is we need to set in motion the DPS hearing. We need to get copies from the District Attorney’s office, police reports, lab reports, breath tests, and I also make an inquiry into the officer’s background as to what his training is. Very often, the officers that are making an arrest don’t have any training on the field sobriety test. If they don’t have any training on the field sobriety test, I usually find that they’re done incorrectly.
There are three field sobriety tests that they’re going to do in every case. One is the nine-step walk-and-turn; there’s the 30 second lift-the-leg-count-out-loud; and there’s the HGN, where they ask you to follow the pen with your eyes. Sometimes clients come in and say, “I passed all the tests.” That’s good; that helps. That helps me know that the case may be defendable, and is probably defendable. However, most people get arrested based on the HGN, when an officer asks you to follow a pen with your eyes. Juries usually don’t buy that. It’s not visible on the video, and if that’s what the officer based the arrest on, then I usually feel the case is defendable.
In Texas, if a case is defendable, most counties have started to offer alternatives to the DWI. If you go in with a defendable case and start fighting, arguing, and filing motions, they’ll offer you an alternative to a DWI. If a case is not defendable – and when I say not defendable, I mean that you are likely to lose at trial –you can still put up the fight and they may offer you an alternative to DWI. If they don’t you’ve got a choice to make; you set it for trial or you work out a plea bargain. What I usually do is sit down with the client and explain the pros and cons. Ultimately, it’s your choice.
3. Blood Alcohol Content
In Texas, a .08 is kind of a threshold for blood alcohol content. A lot of people over the years have come in and said, “I took the breath test and my breath test result was a .08, I guess I’m guilty.” Well, the fact is, you’re not. What happens with that breath test is that is the result when you took the test. The law is, what is your result when you were driving?
Very often, the breath test occurred an hour after you were driving. In probably most cases, people’s blood-alcohol level is going up during that period from the stop to when they took the test. If your blood level is going up after you’re driving, then when you’re driving it was lower. In fact, most experts will say that your blood-alcohol level can vary by.03, within an hour. If someone blew a .09, well, it’s obvious that they could’ve been under the legal limit when they were driving. A .08 doesn’t mean you’re automatically intoxicated, and doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be found guilty.
There is a second prong to DWI. The second prong is that they can also prove you were intoxicated by loss of normal, mental or physical factors. What ends up happening is there’s a video in most cases of somebody there at the scene, or of the defendant, and if you look good on the video, it’s a real strong argument that at the time you were driving, you were under the legal limit. We have to look at all the facts to see if the argument works, that when you were driving you were under the legal limit.
4. BAC Below .08
In Texas, you can be charged with a DWI if your breath or blood is under .08. There are numerous ways that can happen, but really what it comes down to is if you appear intoxicated, regardless of what the breath test or what the blood test result is, you can be charged with a DWI. It can happen when someone is really susceptible to the alcohol.
It can happen if you’re mixing drugs, whether prescription or some other narcotic. If you’re mixing that with alcohol, it can enhance the effect. Ultimately, what it comes down to, if you’re under .08, but there’s a video tape and the video tape shows somebody who appears obviously intoxicated, there’s a good chance that they will still maintain the charge against you, even if you’re under a .08.
Were you or a loved one arrested for drunk driving and have questions about these 4 DWI tips? Contact a San Antonio DWI attorney at Rush & Gransee today for a free legal consultation on your case and all of your potential defenses. Let our experience work for you.
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