If you have been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated or DWI (also known as DUI, Driving Under the Influence, or drunk driving), your first course of action should be to hire an attorney to represent you in your court proceedings.
From the moment you are arrested, you have fifteen (15) days to contest the charges to prevent your drivers license from being suspended.
What exactly is a DWI?
A person commits a DWI offense, also known as Driving While Intoxicated, DUI or driving under the influence, if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. It is important that you understand some of the basic definitions that are important in DWI cases.
- Intoxication: Not having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
- Motor Vehicle: A device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails.
- Public Place: Any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.
How will a DWI Conviction affect me?
A DWI conviction can affect you in more ways than most people realize. It can have a profound effect on your ability to work and generate income. It is usually a financial nightmare. There are family and social costs that most people have not contemplated. Of course, you could end up in a jail cell for a lengthy amount of time.
Although DWI is probably the most common term used today, there are many other names this offense goes by. For example, people refer to DWI as DUI, driving while intoxicated, drunk driving, driving while drunk, intoxicated driving, intoxication, and the list goes on. The point is that it all falls under the same umbrella of DWI.
Houston, TX falls within the limits of Harris County, TX. It is a very large city and county and DWI arrests are high. DWI arrests are indiscriminate, and you will find people from all walks of life caught up in a DWI arrest. The goal of all of this is to do everything you possibly can to stop from being convicted for DWI. DWIs are technical cases and require a lot of attention. If your case is not handled correctly from the onset, the consequences may become severe.
What are the punishments for DWI Conviction?
Punishment for DWI varies depending on the number of offenses committed. A first time DWI offender is typically given a lesser punishment than a repeat offender. Additionally, if a person is arrested with an open container in their motor vehicle, the severity of the punishment increases.
A first offense DWI is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours in jail (3 days.) The maximum penalty is not to exceed 180 days in jail, and a $2000 fine.
A second offense DWI is a Class A misdemeanor, with a minimum term of 30 days in jail. The maximum fine is not to exceed $4000. The maximum jail time is not to exceed one year in jail. If you were to do a probation, the minimum jail term would be 3 days (day for day) in jail. If there is a conviction within the last 5 years, you could face 5 days in jail as a condition of probation.
A third offense DWI is a 3rd degree felony. This carries a punishment range of between 2 years and 10 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine. If you were to receive probation, you would have to do 30 days (day for day) in jail.
If it is shown on the trial of a DWI offense that, at the time of the offense, the person operating the motor vehicle had an open container of alcohol in the person’s immediate possession, the offense requires a minimum term of confinement of six (6) days in jail.