Need-to-Know Information for First Time DWI Offenders
As you may have heard, there is a first time for everything. Unfortunately for some individuals, being charged with a D.W.I. is no exception. The Shrum Law Office knows just how scary a first time D.W.I. offense can be, as well as the devastating life-long impact of a guilty conviction. We believe you should know what to expect from a D.W.I. first offense in Texas and how you can protect your freedom.
No matter what state you are in, routine traffic stops always emit a false sense of security during those first few moments. While law enforcement is sworn to serve and protect the people of our country, that also means they must be on high alert at all times and constantly scanning for potential trouble, without revealing too much too soon. A common series of events during a traffic stop includes asking for the drivers license and registration of the person operating the vehicle. Suddenly, the cop says he smells alcohol coming from your person or your car and asks you to conduct a field sobriety test. To your surprise, you are told that you have in fact failed the field sobriety test and suddenly you are placed under arrest for your first D.W.I.
Under Texas Law, being convicted of a D.W.I. means that you were caught driving with a B.A.C. above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. For the average individual reaching a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent may be done with simply one or two beers. Although you feel ok to drive, if you are pulled over and a breathalyzer test is administered, your B.A.C. could surprise you.
The consequences for a first-offense D.W.I. convictions in Texas are equal to that of a Class B misdemeanors in this state. This includes a suspension of your license for 90 to 365 days, a fine of up to but not exceeding $2,000, and 30 to 180 days in jail. Most often jail time is greatly reduced depending on the circumstances of your situation. It is also important for your recorded B.A.C. to be recorded under 0.15 percent to avoid a more serious charge and sentencing. Given the nature of the event, charges may also increase in severity if there were minors present in the vehicle, if you have previous charges or are on a probationary period, or if you were speeding before you were pulled over. Even the smallest D.W.I. offenses could face criminal and administrative felonies, however. It is important to reach out to an experienced law firm such as The Shrum Law Office as soon as a first-offense D.W.I. charge has been pursued.
In addition to an annual surcharge of $2,000 for the three years following your conviction to keep your license valid, completion of a driving improvement program, and potentially forced into installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, you could also be facing administrative penalties if convicted of a first offense D.W.I. Formerly referred to as Administrative License Revocation Penalties, these consequences could lengthen the suspension of your license. Administrative penalties are the result of the refusal to adhere to a chemical test, or if a chemical test resulted in a failed test result. These penalties are always in addition to current charges you may be facing.
The Shrum Law Office has years of experience with first-time D.W.I. offenses. With a strong defense team on your side, criminal penalties may be reduced to a probationary period that may only require community service and a smaller fee. Our dedicated attorneys will also help you through the expungement process of a first offence D.W.I. Call us today for your consultation.