If you've been charged with a DWI in Texas, you're not alone. Texas ranks near the top of states with the most DWI arrests. The penalties for a DWI are severe and can leave you facing jail time, a license suspension, thousands of dollars in fines, and a misdemeanor or felony on your criminal record.
It's critical not to give up hope if you're facing a DWI charge. Your first step is to contact an experienced and Board Certified DWI attorney. A Board Certified DWI attorney can review details of the incident, identify flaws in your case, prepare a defense, and fight to get you a favorable outcome.
Many defendants in DWI cases have never been arrested and have no idea how to find a proper legal defense. Not sure where to start your search? We've got you covered. We've outlined the key details that will help you find the right DWI attorney. Here's what you need to know.
Consequences of a DWI in Texas
Many people aren't fully aware of the consequences of their DWI charge in Texas. DWI is a serious crime that can result in long-term effects even for a first-time offense. It's important to understand both the legal consequences and the precedents for a DWI arrest.
In Texas, the police may arrest you on suspicion of a DWI if alcohol or medication interferes with your ability to drive. Most people believe you can only be arrested for DWI when you have been drinking, however, you can be arrested for DWI if you have not been drinking and the officer believes your prescription medication, over the counter medication or illegal drugs are causing you to be intoxicated. Although drinking responsibly before driving isn't illegal, some drivers are unfairly charged with DWIs even when they are not intoxicated. According to Penal Code Section 49.01, intoxicated means:
- Not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of alcohol, a controlled substance, drug, or any other substance or combination of substances in the body
- Having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more
Receiving a DWI in Houston can result in severe penalties. In addition to legal consequences, you will also face collateral consequences that affect your livelihood. A DWI can affect your ability to find employment, secure housing, retain custody of your children, keep professional licenses, and more.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, maximum legal penalties for Texas DWIs are as follows:
DWI First Offense: Class B misdemeanor resulting in a $2,000 fine, 180 days in jail, and 1-year driver's license suspension. Class A misdemeanor with a $4,000 fine and 1 year in jail for an alcohol concentration of .15% or above.
DWI Second Offense: Class A misdemeanor with a $4,000 fine, 1 year in jail, and 2-year driver's license suspension.
DWI Third Offense: A 3rd degree DWI felony with a $10,000 fine, 10 years in prison, and a 2-year driver's license suspension.
Drivers will also face additional punishment if a child under 15 years of age is in the car at the time of their arrest. Although these examples include the worst-case scenario, it's crucial to understand the implications of a DWI conviction. An experienced and Board Certified DWI attorney can help potentially get the charges dismissed, reduce the charges or minimize the punishment.
Why You Need a Board Certified DWI Lawyer
Some people may be tempted to fight a DWI charge on their own. They may want to avoid paying legal fees, assume they can handle the experience on their own, or think they have no path to success. Although every DWI case is different, it's critical to use a DWI specialist lawyer to help you navigate the legal process. Every detail is crucial in a DWI case. People who use DWI specialist lawyers have a far better chance of reducing their charges, minimizing their penalties, or getting their case dismissed.
Even if you think you are guilty, it's important to use an attorney. Lawyers can review the facts of the case to identify issues with your arrest. In Texas, police must first have reasonable suspicion to stop a driver. Lawyers can identify a violation of your rights, including a lack of reasonable suspicion to pull you over, improper search and seizure, and improper administration of field sobriety tests.
Even innocent drivers are arrested for DWIs by Texas law enforcement. Officers are able to use their discretion when it comes to probable cause. Since it is not defined in Texas statutes, probable cause can be based on a subjective evaluation of the circumstances. The exclusionary rule prevents evidence from being used against defendants when probable cause does not exist. Therefore, your attorney can successfully argue the court to exclude evidence from the case in instances where offices violate your rights.
An experienced DWI specialist attorney has the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare a strong defense against your charges. Not only can they help you reduce your charges, but they can also help you navigate the legal process. A DWI case can be an intimidating experience. Your attorney will help you understand what you're up against and provide guidance every step of the way.
How a DWI Lawyer Can Help
Two primary factors affect the determination in a DWI case: the facts surrounding the incident and the representation of the defendant. Although you can't change the details of your case, you can improve the likelihood of a favorable outcome by hiring an experienced attorney.
The right lawyer can make all the difference in a DWI case. Using the first lawyer you find or the cheapest option available might seem like a good idea, but it can lead to disastrous results. Many inexperienced attorneys move swiftly to resolve the case. They might miss key details or work to negotiate a plea deal even in winnable cases.
Using a skilled attorney is an absolute necessity in DWI cases. Experienced DWI attorneys have the legal know-how to prepare for trials and to present evidence on your behalf. They have a keen understanding of the law and how it relates to each individual case.
The best DWI lawyers have years of trial experience that prove invaluable to their clients' cases. They can fight on your behalf to achieve a dismissal of charges, negotiate a plea deal, and justify a reduction in sentence.
What to Look for in a DWI Lawyer
The path to success in a DWI case starts with a strong defense. Since DWI is a specialized area of the law, you need to make sure that your lawyer has a firm understanding of Texas DWI policies, procedures, and systems. They should be able to prove that they have successfully achieved positive outcomes for many clients. You should look for the following characteristics in a potential DWI lawyer:
- Board Certification in DWI Defense by the National College for DWI Defense accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
- Awards and esteemed recognition by peers. DWI Specialist Doug Murphy was voted by his peers and awarded the 2021 Lawyer of the Year for his work in Defense DWI in the Houston Area.
- Proven track record of success in court
- Experience in a wide range of cases and trials
- Specialized in DWI and criminal defense law
- Support staff and additional resources
One of the most common reasons that people do not use experienced DWI attorneys is the cost. Using a cheap lawyer will end up costing you more after you are convicted. Many defendants are afraid of the ensuing legal fees and possible hidden costs that might come with using a lawyer. Hiring a cheap lawyer or refusing to use one altogether is a serious mistake. Although hiring a lawyer is not free, the cost pales in comparison to the fines and potential loss of income that come from a DWI conviction, not to mention the collateral consequences. The attorneys at Doug Murphy Law Firm are always upfront about potential costs when reviewing a case. They will work with you to minimize the cost while working tirelessly to help you win your case.
The Best DWI Attorney
The cost of hiring an esteemed attorney is a small price to pay for your freedom. You need a proven trial lawyer who has demonstrated their ability to win cases and aggressively pursue positive outcomes. With so much at stake, it's crucial to enlist the services of someone who is a proven commodity in their field.
Doug Murphy has numerous accolades and a reputation for being one of the fiercest DWI attorneys in Texas. He is a preeminent expert in his field who has advocated for countless clients over the years. As one of just two Texas Board Certified experts in criminal law, Doug Murphy is officially accredited by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Doug's dedication towards fighting on behalf of his clients has earned him esteem in his industry. He was voted to The Best Lawyers in America by Woodward White, Inc. from 2013 to 2020 and Texas Rising Stars and Texas Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters services over a dozen times. Doug currently serves as the Dean of the National College for DUI Defense conducted at Harvard Law School, where he works to improve criminal defense for DWI nationwide.
If you are facing a DWI charge, you don't want to put your future in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer. Doug Murphy has unparalleled experience and success fighting on the front lines for DWI defendants in Texas. Doug is recognized as a leading DWI expert who can help you achieve the results that few other lawyers can.
Your Texas DWI Lawyer
There's no denying the stress and uncertainty that come with a DWI charge. You can rest easy knowing you're in the hands of the best DWI lawyer in Houston. Doug Murphy will use his unrivaled experience to fight for you and to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Contact his office today by calling 713-229-8333.