The police charged you with a DWI. Now what? It's important not to downplay the severity of a DWI. A DWI in Texas carries consequences that follow you for years to come. You may have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, lose your driver's license, or spend time in a local jail. Even a DWI charge (without conviction) may result in job loss and a litany of other issues.
Many people who face DWI charges have never been in legal trouble before. They are thrust into an entirely new situation and have no idea how to resolve it.
Your first step following a DWI arrest is to contact an attorney. An experienced lawyer who specializes in DWI defense will have the legal know-how and insight to guide you through this difficult process. They can defend your freedom and help you get your life back on track.
Not all DWIs are created equal. There are numerous types of DWI charges with unique consequences. The severity of your charges will depend entirely on the facts of your case. But it is important to remember that a charge is not a conviction. And DWI defendants can and do prevail in court.
That's why, no matter your situation, it's essential to enlist the services of an attorney with experience handling a wide range of cases. Doug Murphy is here to help. He has fought for over 4,000 clients and won many DWI cases. He will use his unparalleled expertise to get you the best possible outcome.
Common DWI Situations
DWI convictions carry increasingly harsher punishments with each subsequent offense. There are also additional penalties for factors like your age, the age of your passengers, high blood alcohol concentrations, failure to take a breath or blood sample. A DWI first offense can even result in jail time. You should always get an attorney with trial experience no matter the type of DWI case.
In Texas, the police can charge you with a DWI if you have an alcohol concentration of .08% or more or you “do not have 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.” Under this rule, the police can arrest you even if you had no alcohol in your system, but you consumed another intoxicant, such as a prescription drug.
Here is a breakdown of the types of DWI charges and some of the related penalties:
- First DWI with blood alcohol concentration less than .15%: A class B misdemeanor, 72 hours to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and a driver's license suspension up to a year.
- First DWI with blood alcohol concentration greater than .15%: A class A misdemeanor, a possible sentence of up 1 year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 fine, a driver's license suspension, and license renewal fees to be paid annually for three years.
- Second DWI: A class A misdemeanor, a possible sentence in jail of up to 1 year, a fine up to $4,000, loss of a driver's license for up to 2 years, and three-years of annual license renewal fees.
- Third DWI: A third-degree felony, with a possible sentence of 2-10 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, up to 2-year driver's license suspension, and the annual license renewal fees.
In addition to these penalties, there are also other administrative fees and other costs that quickly can add up to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for minors driving while drinking. Minors between 17 and 21 can be charged as an adult and face severe penalties similar to other DWI charges.
If a driver has a minor under 15 in the car while they are intoxicated, they face driving while intoxicated with child passenger charges. This charge is a state jail felony that carries additional penalties.
Every DWI case is unique. For best results, you need a lawyer that has experience fighting similar charges to yours.
How a Board Certified DWI Specialist Lawyer Can Help
Even if you don't think you can win your case, a DWI specialist lawyer can help. DWIs are a defensible charge, and the right lawyer can make all the difference. A Board Certified DWI specialist can prepare a defense. They can identify violations of your rights, analyze the evidence to determine the factual and legal weaknesses of the prosecution's case, and more.
Let's review some examples of ways a DWI can be won.
An important tactic is to identify an unreasonable search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution requires that police must have a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity to pull you over in the first place. Then they must have probable cause to believe that you are driving while intoxicated. If probable cause does not exist, the court can dismiss the charges.
A DWI specialist attorney can also challenge the admissibility of evidence. They may dispute blood tests or breath tests, on the grounds that these tests are not always accurate, and police sometimes fail to follow proper protocol.
They can use police reports and evidence to identify an error, infringement on your rights, or issues with police or witness testimony.
An attorney can also help you with issues outside of your criminal proceedings. They request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing on your behalf: Without this hearing, you may lose your license, even before trial, but Doug Murphy Law clients often have the suspension set aside during these hearings.
Regardless of the details of your case, you need a strong defense. Doug Murphy can put the pieces together and provide expert representation.
DWI Lawyer Cost
Using cheap or inexperienced attorneys can have dire consequences. These attorneys may not have the experience and knowledge necessary to get you the best possible result. Hiring a less expensive and experienced lawyer will end up costing you significantly more in the long run.
When considering the costs, you should also consider the size of the fines and the lost time behind bars that you could have avoided with proper representation. That's not to mention the collateral costs of a DWI. With a DWI on your record, you may have lifelong difficulty renting or buying a home, finding employment, obtaining professional licenses, or owning a firearm. And the damage is not limited to finances: a DWI can impact child custody.
When hiring an attorney, it's important to discuss fees upfront. Typically, criminal defense attorneys charge an hourly rate or a flat fee. The cost will vary depending on the details of your case and the attorney's experience.
The cost of an experienced Houston DWI specialist attorney is well worth it when you consider the price of your freedom. You should only hire a Board Certified DWI expert with a proven track record of winning diverse cases. Would you let a general surgeon operate in you if you needed a specialist for an intricate surgery DWI defense is the same because the police science techniques and the law are different than defending other criminal allegations.
What to Look For
Selecting the right attorney is the most important decision you can make in your DWI case. You should look for an attorney with the reputation and qualifications needed to win your case. They should have the accolades, references, and acclaim that prove they are a master of their craft.
Whether you're dealing with a minor first offense DWI or a more serious charge, it's crucial to find an experienced defense lawyer. Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas attorneys to hold Board Certifications in both DWI defense and criminal law. He has more than 21 years of courtroom experience and an extensive history of defending clients in all types of DWI cases.
Your Texas DWI Attorney
There's no denying the severity of a DWI conviction. To achieve the best result, you need a quality attorney by your side. Doug Murphy has a stellar reputation as one of the chief leading experts on DWI law in the state of Texas and in the United States. He will use his exceptional talent and incredible knowledge to ensure you get the best possible representation in your case.
Houston-based attorney Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers who are both Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense.
Contact an Experienced DWI Defense Attorney
One of the best DWI lawyers in Houston, Doug Murphy brings 20 years of experience in the courtroom. Annually heralded as one of the Best Lawyers in America by US News & World Report, Murphy currently serves as the Dean of the National College for DUI Defense conducted at Harvard Law School. He served two terms on the board of directors and as co-chair of the DWI Committee with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He was also lauded by the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association for his hand in exposing the flaws in the Houston Police Department Breath Alcohol Testing vans, which led to their decommissioning.
Murphy has extensive experience defending clients in a wide array of cases, including Driving While Intoxicated, DWI with a Child Passenger Under 15, and Boating While Intoxicated.
Don't let a DWI charge destroy your life. You can fight back with the help of an experienced Board Certified DWI lawyer. He will review the details of your cases and present an action plan and work to protect your freedom.
Contact Doug Murphy today to schedule a free consultation.