WARNING: You May Lose
Your Driver’s License Unless You Act Now
At the time of your
arrest, the police officer likely presented you with a Notice
of Suspension/Temporary Driving Permit (DIC – 25). Hopefully you
have thoroughly read this document and are aware that your driver’s
license will automatically be suspended 40 days from the date
of arrest (or the date you were served with the notice, whichever
is later) unless you or your attorney request a hearing in the
manner prescribed by law. The importance of requesting this hearing
can not be overstated. If you retain me, this is the first formal
step I will take to protect your legal rights and preserve your
right to drive.
The Legal Limit The legal limit for intoxication in Texas is .08 blood alcohol
concentration (BAC). However drivers can be stopped and cited
for impaired driving due to alcohol or other drugs regardless
of BAC. Texas also has a zero tolerance law. For anyone under
21 it is illegal to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol.
How much is too much? Impairment begins with the first drink. Gender, body weight, the
number of drinks consumed and the amount of food in one's stomach
affect the body's ability to handle alcohol. Women, younger people
and smaller people whether male or female, often have lower tolerances. Click HERE for a BAC estimator.
What happens if you're
stopped? If a law enforcement officer asks you to take a blood
or breath test to measure how much alcohol is in your system,
you should know that if you refuse, you are subject to a 180-day
driver's license suspension and this refusal may be used against
you in court. Punishment for DWI varies depending on the number
of times you have been convicted.
A single arrest for
DWI may give rise to three cases in three distinct judicial forums.
These include 1) the criminal charge which will be litigated in
the criminal court; 2) the administrative license revocation (ALR)
proceeding wherein the state will seek to suspend your driver’s
license; and 3) a civil proceeding initiated by you to obtain
an occupational driver’s license which will allow you to drive
to and from work while your driver’ license is suspended.
TEXAS DWI LAWS
There are two separate
ways a person may be legally INTOXICATED and found guilty of DWI
in Texas. If a person is operating a motor vehicle on a public
Not having the normal use of 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 .08 or more.
The .08 alcohol concentration definition is only for cases where
the person arrested has taken a breath, blood or urine test. Breath
test is the most common. If the person did not take one of the
tests then the prosecution must prove the person did not have
the normal use of his/her mental or physical faculties from drinking
alcohol or doing drugs or both a combination of alcohol and drugs.
The evidence the prosecution presents at trial is limited to the
ingesting alcohol, unless there is some evidence or reason to
believe the person could have lost the normal use of his/her faculties
from some drug other than alcohol.
Many times a person
will make a statement to the police when arrested saying that
he/she took a prescription drug. Taking a prescription drug is
NOT A DEFENSE to DWI. If the prescription is the type of drug
that can cause a person to lose the normal use of their mental
or physical faculties then they can be found guilty of DWI from
the effects the prescription has on their faculties or from the
combined effect of the prescription drug and the alcohol. The
prosecution will generally attempt to prove intoxication by drugs
by having a chemist testify at trial about the effects the alleged
drugs (or combined effect of alcohol and drugs) can have on a
person. It is then the jury's job to determine if they think the
person lost the normal use of his/her faculties from taking the
An arrest for DWI can
lead to suspension of your driver’s license under two circumstances
1) ALR suspension as a result of refusing to take or failing a
breath/blood test; 2) consequence of criminal conviction for DWI.
If you drive while your license is under suspension, you may be
charged with Driving While License Suspended, a misdemeanor. If
you do so while on probation for your DWI offense, you risk having
your probation revoked.
An occupational driver’s
license is a restricted license issued by DPS which allows you
to drive to and from work, school and in the performance of necessary
household duties during the period of suspension. The license
may limit the times you are allowed to drive to specified hours,
counties or roadways. Alternatively, the court may authorize you
to keep a log detailing your driving activities which can be inspected
to ensure that your driving does not exceed what the judge has
Driving While Intoxicated
is a class B misdemeanor with a range of punishment of 3 to 180
days in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000.00. However, Texas
law increases punishment for persons with prior DWI convictions.
An individual who pleads “guilty” or “no contest” to a DWI charge
may not received deferred adjudication. In addition to criminal
penalties, a person convicted of a first DWI will be required
to pay a surcharge of $1,000.00 per year for three years as a
condition to maintaining his license. The surcharge increases
for persons with prior convictions.
In most circumstances
a person convicted of DWI for the first time will not be required
to spend time in jail but will, upon his timely application, receive
community supervision (probation). The maximum term of probation
is 2 years. As a condition of probation the person will be ordered
to pay a fine, report to a probation officer, perform community
service, abstain from the use of alcohol and attend an alcohol
education course. In addition, a person’s driver’s license may
be suspended for up to 1 year. However, if you receive community
supervision and take the court ordered alcohol education course
you will be able to keep your license.
Call me Immediately for your free consultation.
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