Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a serious crime in Texas. Schiffer Law Firm is ready to help you navigate this potentially life-altering nightmare.
A person is “intoxicated,” according to the legal definition in the Texas Penal Code Chapter 49, if (1) they have lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties by voluntarily putting something in their body – alcohol, drugs, or even prescription medication, or (2) having an alcohol concentration of greater than 0.08 in their breath or blood.
The penalties for first offense DWIs, second offense or third offense (Felony), or DWI with a child passenger under 15 (Felony) are severe, with the penalties increasing the more times a person has been previously convicted.
For first offenders, the penalty can be a Class B misdemeanor, meaning up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000.00 fine. This also includes the unique penalties that accompany a DWI conviction, including the potential loss of your driver’s license for up to one year and excessive DPS surcharges of $3,000.00 or more.
If a first offender is convicted, and it is alleged and proven that his blood alcohol concentration was above 0.15, the penalty can be up to one year in jail, a $4,000,00 fine, license suspension for up to one year, and higher surcharges.
Felony DWI and felony DWI with a Child Passenger offenses are taken extremely seriously because of the risk the individual is allegedly creating to our society. By being an habitual drunk driver, or having the mindset to drive while intoxicated with a child in the car, are two types of civil behavior most people and legislators can agree should be severely punished. The idea behind such severe punishment is to either wake the individual up to their own need for sobriety or simply prevent them from beyond able to be a public risk.
DWI felonies carry the risk of incarceration in a penitentiary, which can range anywhere from 2 years to life in prison depending on the number for former DWI convictions, if an accident occurred, if someone was severely injured or killed, and other unique factors.
An ALR hearing is a civil proceeding decided before a judge to determine if your driver’s license should be suspended based on a finding that probable cause existed at the time of your DWI arrest.
If you are arrested for DWI, you must act quickly after your arrest to try to save your driver’s license. There is a strict deadline of 15 days after your arrest to file a request for an Administrative License Revocation hearing (ALR) with the Texas Department of Public Safety. After being hired, the very first thing our office does is request this hearing. If the police officer attends the hearing, his answers under oath during a precise, focused cross-examination can later be transcribed and used to either show the DWI prosecutor a fatal flaw leading to dismissal or reduction of the charge, or can be used to later impeach the officer at the jury trial, affecting his credibility.
Fighting a DWI charge is challenging and calls for special skills, extensive legal knowledge, and years of experience in the courtroom with prosecutors, judges, and juries. Police officers will almost always report that they, in their professional opinion based on their experience, observed red, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, poor balance, sleepiness, or the odor of alcohol. These “observations” are often wrong and can be explained away, or may simply be false. Extensive knowledge of the correct administration of field sobriety tests is critical to exposing flaws on the officer’s part. Using scientific studies to cast reasonable doubt on the reliability of those tests is but one of the weapons in the arsenal of Schiffer Law Firm, and we have the experience to use them to maintain our track record of proven excellence.
Yes. A defense attorney, especially a team of experienced DWI lawyers, can help to prevent a permanent criminal record, $1,000’s of dollars in fines, loss of your driver’s license, possibly being dropped by your insurance, and other long term personal and financial consequences.
People accused of DWI in Houston, Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Montgomery County, and across the state of Texas have successfully relied on Schiffer Law Firm’s over forty years of experience, not only as defense counsel, but with the Harris County District Attorney’s office, trying breath, blood and no-test DWIs to either have their cases dismissed, reduced, or acquitted by juries. It is our attention to detail that compels us in every case to extensively interview the client, gather any medical records to explain less than perfect roadside coordination, question the arresting officer at the Administrative License Revocation hearing, work with expert toxicologists to review breath or blood data for errors, stay up to date on the most current law to suppress unfavorable evidence, and bring creative trial techniques and courtroom charisma to get the best result possible.
The consequences of being convicted are severe and stay on your record forever, impacting your professional, personal, and social life.
If you have been arrested for a DWI, call us today for a free in office or virtual case evaluation.