Fort Bend runs because its roads and drivers do. Without motor vehicles, people living in Fort Bend lose their freedom of movement. Therefore, it can be extremely concerning to have multiple DWI charges because it can threaten one’s right to a driver’s license. After being charged with a DWI that’s not your first, retaining a Fort Bend multiple DWI lawyer is an enormous advantage.
If you were recently arrested for drunk driving and have already been convicted for DWI charges in the past, then you may be wondering what the possible penalties might be this time around. The penalties for being caught driving after consuming drugs or alcohol are more severe after multiple offenses and can result in high fines, jail time, and a criminal record that can have a lasting impact on your life.
At our firm, Segura & Kiatta, LLP, our criminal lawyers are experienced in handling multiple DWI cases, including those that result in injury of another party or even manslaughter. We can work closely with you on your Fort Bend multiple DWI case to understand the details surrounding your arrest and analyze the evidence in your case to work toward getting your charges reduced or even dismissed.
A DWI in the state of Texas occurs when a person operates a vehicle while they are intoxicated from either drugs or alcohol. In Texas, a person can be charged for a DWI if:
In Texas, the law considers everyone who has a driver’s license to have consented to taking drug tests. This is known as implied consent. Therefore, if you refuse to take a drug test, such as a breath or blood sample, during your DWI arrest, you could have your driver’s license automatically taken away for 180 days.
It’s important to note that you can be arrested even if your BAC is under 0.08. If an officer notices that you ran a stop light and decides that you are not sober based on other behaviors, such as slurring words, then you can be arrested anyway. This may seem unfair, but it comes down to whether your intoxication was harmful.
If you are charged with drunk driving for the first time, then you may have to spend a maximum of 180 days in jail and can face fines of up to $2,000. Each time you are convicted again for drunk driving, you can face more and more serious penalties. The exact penalties that you can face are not only dependent on the previous number of offenses but also on whether there were aggravating factors present, such as injury or manslaughter.
In Texas, if you are arrested for a second time on drunk driving charges, this is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor. You can face a maximum of $4,000 in fines, as well as one month to one year of jail time. For a second DWI charge, you can lose your license for a maximum of one year. In the case that your second DWI offense occurred within 36 months of your last DWI offense, then you can face additional fines of $3,500.
If you get a third DWI, then this is considered a third-degree felony under Texas law. You can face anywhere from two to ten years of time in prison and may have to pay up to $10,000. Additionally, you can lose your license for a maximum of two years. Similar to second DWI charges, if your previous DWI charge was within three years of your current one, then you can face an additional $3,500 in fees.
In addition to facing large fines and time in jail or prison after a second, third, or subsequent DWI offense, there are many collateral consequences that can have a lasting impact on your life. As mentioned above, while a second DWI is typically classified as a misdemeanor, a third DWI is much more serious and considered to be a felony.
Having a felony DWI on your record can have devastating consequences for your future. Your child visitation or child custody arrangement can be negatively impacted. Additionally, you can lose access to housing and job opportunities, such as facing obstacles to obtaining certain professional licenses. You may also see a sharp uptick in your automobile insurance rates.
A felony DWI record can also have serious consequences on your immigration status. For example, if you are applying for a passport or permanent residency, this can seriously impact your chances of having a successful application. You may also be barred from traveling to some countries that do not accept felons.
In terms of educational opportunities, having a criminal record can cause barriers to getting into college and affect your ability to receive financial aid such as scholarships and grants. Additionally, you may lose access to your right to vote and to bear arms. Therefore, it’s critical to have an experienced multiple DWI defense lawyer who can support you.
In Texas, you are required to submit to a blood or breath test under the law, as anyone with a driver’s license has given implied consent to such tests. If you refuse to take a test, then you are automatically given an administrative license revocation, or ALR. ALR is a civil punishment, not a criminal one, that begins 40 days after the driver who refused a test is notified. Typically, the driver is notified on the day they refuse the test.
The amount of time for which a driver will have their license revoked depends on whether they have refused a blood or breath alcohol test before and whether they have previous Texas DWI convictions.
In the case that an individual submits to a blood or breath test and does not pass, then they will have their license suspended for 90 days. If they previously failed a breath or blood test, then they will have their license taken away for one year. If a person refuses a test for the first time, they will automatically lose their license for 180 days. If it is their second time refusing the test, then they will have their license suspended for two years.
Upon being released from jail after a DWI arrest, you should receive your official ALR notice based on whether or not you refused or passed the blood or breath test. Upon receiving this notice, you have a maximum of 15 days to appeal by asking for an administrative hearing. You can lose your right to appeal if you do not meet this deadline. An experienced Fort Bend criminal attorney can help you make your case in an administrative hearing to get your license back.
It can be difficult to be granted probation after a second, third, or subsequent DWI offense. However, in the case that a defendant successfully gets granted probation instead of jail or prison time, there are many specific requirements that they will be expected to meet.
Probation time after a second DWI is a maximum of two years, and after a third or subsequent DWI, it is ten years. In addition to serving a minimum jail time, some of the requirements that convicted individuals may have to meet include being subjected to random drug and alcohol tests, paying monthly fees for probation, speaking monthly with a probation officer, serving a minimum jail time, and completing a DWI intervention program.
In addition, many repeat offenders are required to have a substance or alcohol abuse evaluation done. If it is determined that they have certain difficulties with abuse, then they may be required to attend treatment. A knowledgeable repeat DWI attorney can help you determine what your alternative sentencing situation might look like.
Texas law can be tough on individuals when it comes to drunk driving cases, but the criminal defense lawyers at Segura & Kiatta, LLP, know how to fight back. We are not afraid to leverage our knowledge of Texas driving laws and constitutional rights to make sure that your arrest was carried out with dignity and that your rights were not compromised.
Our multiple DWI defense lawyers at Fort Bend are seasoned in finding flaws in the prosecution’s evidence, as well as using other legal strategies to work toward getting your charges reduced or even dropped. We are eloquent and passionate in the courtroom and are ready to defend your case tooth and nail. Contact our team today so that we can get started discussing your case.
Segura & Kiatta, Criminal Defense
345 Commerce Green Blvd
Sugar Land, Texas 77478