DUI Charge Attorneys
DUI or DWI convictions can cause devastating consequences. Drivers face large fines, loss of driving privileges, or even jail time. The defense attorneys at The Jimenez Law Firm, P.C., understand the severity of a conviction and will explore every legal avenue to craft an effective DWI defense unique to your situation. We will work to have your DWI charges minimized as much as possible, but if trial litigation is necessary, you’ll be represented by an experienced and aggressive defense team.
Difference Between DUI and DWI in Texas
Many states use the terms DWI and DUI interchangeably. In Texas, however, there is a distinction to be made between the two.
- DWI: Driving while intoxicated, more commonly referred to as DWI, is gauged by measuring a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). IF the driver’s BAC is .08 or higher, they are considered intoxicated. If the driver refuses to breathe into a breathalyzer, that person faces a mandatory revocation of their driver’s license for one year.
- DUI: DUI or driving under the influence is different from DWI. DUI does not require intoxication as DWI does, but rather, it refers to any detectable amount of alcohol.
Which is Worse: DUI or DWI?
Under Texas law, a DWI is considered to be a more serious crime. DUIs are typically charged to minors under the Texas Traffic Code because minors are not legally allowed to consume any amount of alcohol. Therefore, if a minor has any blood alcohol reading, regardless of how small, they can be charged with a DUI because of their age and consumption of alcohol.
Alternatively, DWIs are charged under the Texas Penal Code, which is more serious. And, while you shouldn’t take either DWI or DUI charges lightly, DWIs can result in heavy fines and time in jail or prison.
It’s also important to remember that the Texas statutory definition of intoxication also includes the loss of mental or physical faculties due to alcohol consumption or the use of a controlled substance, drugs, or a combination. The law also applies to the operation of a motor vehicle in a public place including watercrafts.
OUI and OWI
Some states use other acronyms for the same crimes. You may also hear about OUI or Operating Under the Influence or OWI for Operating While Intoxicated.
In many situations, a first offense can be handled relatively quickly. There are still consequences, but it might be possible to get an occupational license or enroll in a DWI education course depending on your county and circumstances. It is important to contact a DWI defense attorney who can properly defend you. Whether that defense hinges on the legality of the initial stop or the validity of the breathalyzer results, we will build the strongest defense possible in your situation.
Contact Our Firm
If you or a loved one is facing DUI or DWI charges, then you’ll want to hire a great DUI or DWI, defense lawyer. A Texas DWI lawyer will understand the ins and outs of any state or local laws and help ensure that your rights are protected. A skilled DWI attorney may also be able to help lessen criminal charges and ensure the police acted in accordance with the law. Here at the Jimenez Law Firm, we have your best interests at heart.
If you have questions regarding DUI or DWI defense, contact The Jimenez Law Firm, P.C., by calling or by completing the contact form on this website. We offer consultations and accept most major credit cards for the payment of services. Our legal team looks forward to speaking with you regarding your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. You can refuse a field sobriety test. However, there may be consequences to the refusal. For example, the officer may take your refusal as you are hiding something and could arrest you. As a result, you may also be asked to take a breath test or a blood test.
You are able to represent yourself in court for a DWI charge, however, it’s often not in your best interest to do so unless you have a thorough understanding of Texas law. DWI attorneys have the understanding and expertise to provide you with quality legal advice while ensuring your rights are protected and that any involved police officers acted in full accordance with the law. They are also experienced in various defense strategies that have worked in the past. A Texas DWI lawyer will also have an intimate understanding and experience working with various judges and know what sort of facts they look for in each case. This allows them to create a defense strategy customized for the exact scenario you experienced.
Yes. People who are convicted of a DWI in the state of Texas are required to file an SR-22 to indicate that they have the necessary insurance to meet state requirements and you must maintain a valid SR-22 for 2 years from your most recent conviction.
Many people believe that a DUI or DWI conviction will simply fall off your record after a certain amount of time has passed. However, this is not true. Under Texas DWI laws, if your conviction does not meet certain requirements then it will remain on your record for the duration of your life.
If you wish to have the DWI case expunged from your criminal record in Texas, then you must either receive a “Not Guilty” verdict at a jury trial or have the case dismissed before trial. If your case was dismissed, then you must wait a minimum of 2 years from the dismissal date before you can request for it to be removed from your record. If you received a “Not Guilty” verdict, then you can file to clear your arrest and record immediately.
A second offense DWI in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $6,000 and a maximum jail sentence of 12 months. If convicted, it will be on your record permanently, a minimum 3-day jail sentence, and drivers license suspension. Everyone charged with a second DWI is eligible to make an application for probation.
A third DWI in Texas is considered a third-degree felony. Conviction for a third DWI will result in a prison sentence of no less than two years and no more than ten years. However, it is possible for the court to probate the majority of the two-year minimum. A third DWI offense also comes with a maximum fine of $10,000 plus court costs and fees. You’ll also likely get a 2-year suspension of your driver’s license.
In many cases, to get your license back, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device that requires you to blow into it before you can start your vehicle. If the device detects alcohol, then your vehicle will not start.
It’s not uncommon for some people to sleep in their car rather than risk a drive home after a night of drinking. Unfortunately, it is still possible to be arrested for a DWI in this scenario. This is because the state of Texas defines “intoxicated” and “motor vehicle” but the law does not define what “operating” means. And, as DWI charges stem from being intoxicated while operating motor vehicles in a public space, the court may still decide that you were operating the vehicle.
Texas courts have previously found sleeping people to be “operating” their vehicle under the following circumstances:
- Asleep in the back seat with the keys in the ignition
- Asleep in the driver’s seat
- Sleeping with a seatbelt on
- Starting the vehicle to use the heater or air conditioning
- Listening to the radio in the car
Refusing to take a test in Texas will likely result in license suspension. However, you do have a 15-day window to request a hearing for the purpose of preventing your license from being revoked.
The duration of driver’s license suspensions depends on how often you’ve refused or failed a breathalyzer test. If it’s your first refusal, then you may lose your driver’s license for 180 days. If you have a prior DWI conviction or a prior refusal, then your license may get suspended for 2 years.
If you do request a hearing regarding your license suspension, then an administrative hearing will determine if you lose your license and for how long. If you do not request this hearing, then your license will be suspended for the maximum allowable period.
Field sobriety tests allow police officers to get a better understanding of your sobriety during a traffic stop. However, before they can ask you to submit to a field sobriety test, they must see signs of intoxication such as:
- Slurred speech
- Red eyes
- Delayed reactions
- The smell of alcohol or drugs
If the police officer believes you to be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, they’ll ask you to perform a field sobriety test. Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are three tests that make up the Standardized Field Sobriety Test:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus
- One-leg stand
A horizontal gaze nystagmus test involves the officer observing the suspect’s eyes as they follow a slowly moving object. The officer will check to see if the suspect is unable to follow the object or if the eyes are jerking while they track the object.
A walk-and-turn test happens when the police officer asks the suspect to take nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line. The suspect will then pivot and walk back in the direction they came from.
A one-leg stand test happens when the officer asks the suspect to stand on one leg with the other foot lifted at least six inches off of the ground for about 30 seconds.
In the state of Texas, you are considered legally intoxicated when your blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.08%. However, you’re viewed as breaking the law any time that drugs or alcohol affect your driving, flying, or boating abilities, even if your BAC levels are below the legal limit.
A DWI or DUI conviction may immediately disqualify you from jobs that require you to drive, operate machinery, or be in charge of other people’s safety. If you’re required to do jail time then your job may also fire you for that. However, even if you manage to avoid jail time, a conviction can still play a significant role in your employment.