Were you arrested for drunk driving and have questions? Read these 5 common questions about a DWI, then call our San Antonio attorneys today.
1) What’s the B.A.C. limit in Texas?
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.
2) Can You Get a DWI if Your BAC is Under .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.
3) What Are the Steps After a DWI Arrest?
In a DWI in Texas, the first thing that you need to do is request a hearing with DPS. That DPS hearing request has to be within 15 days. If you do not do that, you will lose your driver’s license. The hearing request is usually done by the lawyer, so what you need to do is have the lawyer hired within 15 days, and the lawyer will make the request for you. At that hearing, the DPS will try to take away your license for 90 days if you took a breath test or blood test voluntarily. If you did not take the blood test or breath test voluntarily, they’re going to try to take it away for 180 days. If you make the request to contest a hearing, then you have a chance of keeping your driver’s license.
If we make the request, have the driver’s license hearing and still lose the driver’s license hearing, we can get you an occupational license. An occupational license will allow you to drive. You won’t really notice a difference in your driving habits or how you have to drive, but that’s the first and probably one of the most important things you need to do with a DWI arrest. After that, your lawyer will make a request for videos, police reports, blood tests, or breath tests. We collect all the evidence, and then we sit down and discuss with the client what they want to do. What are the options? Very often, the options are for trial or for hearings. We do that to get a better result than we could in a plea bargain.
Ultimately, it’s the client’s choice on what route to take. What I normally do is make the request for the DPS hearing, have the hearing, and then from that hearing we’re able to collect evidence to determine what your options are. After we determine the options, then we set the ball rolling, we set the case for trial, we set it for hearing, and very often, you end up with a better result than you could have imagined.
4) How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Record?
In Texas, a DWI will stay on your record forever. When I say forever, I mean for as long as you live. The DWI number of years ago can only be used for enhancement purposes for 10 years. Today, they can go back forever to enhance a subsequent DWI. It’s real important, if you’re charged with a DWI, to do what you can to get the case either dismissed or win at trial because it will stay on your record forever.
5) What are the Penalties for a First Offense DWI?
In Texas, the penalties for a DWI conviction depend on a number of factors. Is it a first-time DWI? Is it a second-time DWI, or a third or more? What is the breath or blood test result that got you in trouble? If it’s a blood or breath test result under a .15 and it’s a first-time DWI, the range of punishment is up to six months in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.
However, I’ve never had anybody go to jail on a DWI-first with under a .15, and that’s with 30 years of defending DWIs. On a DWI-second and third, the penalties ratchet up pretty dramatically. On a second, it’s up to one year in jail, and it’s up to a $4,000 fine. On a felony DWI, depending on the number of prior felonies, and if someone’s been to the penitentiary, all those play a role in determining the range of punishment. Generally, on a felony DWI, which is three or more DWIs, the range of punishment is up to 10 years in the penitentiary.
Were you or a loved one arrested for drunk driving and have questions? After reading these 5 common questions about a DWI, contact a San Antonio DWI attorney at Rush & Gransee today for a consultation on your case and all of your potential defenses. Let our experience work for you.
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