Generally, no one wants to accept a DWI conviction. If you’re accused, you may already feel embarrassed and hopeless about anyone listening to your side of the story.
But a DWI arrest is not a conviction. In fact, fighting a DWI charge and avoiding those penalties can be life-changing. Here’s why you may want to consider seeking out a Fort Worth defense attorney at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC when you’re accused.
Drunk Driving Charges Can Negatively Affect Your Future
Any DWI charge can have serious penalties and long-lasting consequences for your future reputation.
If you are convicted of a DWI and it’s your first offense, it can still remain on your record for a decade. If you’re convicted of a second or subsequent offense, it will go on your record permanently. This can create problems if you want to do any of the following:
- Apply for jobs
- Seeking housing
- Look into higher education programs
- Getting a loan with your bank
- Seek custody of your children during a divorce
Once you’re labeled as a drunk driver and it becomes public knowledge, it can hurt your reputation. You could even lose your job, depending on the type of job. For instance, if you’re a pilot or other professional who requires a commercial license, a DWI conviction could mean loss of future employment.
Your Driver’s License Can be Suspended
When you are convicted of DWI for the first time in Texas, your license may be suspended for a year and you may have to pay up to $2,000 in fines. A second offense will result in your license being suspended for up to two years plus you’ll be fined as much as $6,000 along with court fees.
A third offense carries penalties up to $10,000 in addition to court fees and your driver’s license will likely be suspended for two years. That’s a massive financial burden, and without a license, you may have trouble getting to work and paying off those expenses.
You Can Be Imprisoned
A DWI offense will be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony. The more convictions you have, the more serious the penalties are. That’s why fighting a DWI charge and maintaining a clean criminal record is so important.
If you’re convicted of driving while intoxicated once, the maximum penalty is six months in jail. If you’ve been convicted of more than one DWI within five years, then your possible jail time increases significantly. At this point, jail time becomes mandatory.
For a second DWI conviction, you’d be forced to spend at least seventy-two hours in jail but it’s possible that you could spend up to one year behind bars.
A third DWI conviction carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence but cannot exceed ten years. Even if there’s a plea agreement, anyone convicted of a third DWI in Texas has to serve a mandatory ten days in jail.
You May Not Have Even Been Driving
DWI arrests can happen anywhere, not just on the road. The laws governing DWI in Texas are broad and allow police officers to arrest people for driving while intoxicated even when they aren’t behind the wheel of a car.
If you were in a car with a drunk driver then that person could be charged with a DWI and you may be arrested along with them.
However, if you only sat in the passenger seat while your friend drove drunk, then you may have grounds to fight the DWI charge. They may not have evidence that you had anything to do with driving while intoxicated, making the charge unfair.
Your Blood Alcohol Concentration Was Not Over .08 Percent
In most cases, if an officer arrests you because they believe you were too intoxicated to drive safely, they will ask you to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test. This test measures how much alcohol is in your blood at the time of the test.
If you think the tests weren’t administered properly or have some other reason you think your BAC was lower, you may have grounds to fight the DWI charges. Your lawyer can question the reliability of the machine and the training of the officer who administered it.
Get a Strong Defense with a DWI Lawyer
You have the right to protect your reputation and get your charges reduced or dismissed. If you’re accused of driving while intoxicated, the lawyers at Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC are ready to help.
A skilled legal representative is essential to come out on top, so reach out for guidance. Contact us by calling 817-334-7900 or by filling out the following online contact form for a consultation.