DWI and other Alcohol Offenses
Being charged with Driving While Intoxicated or as a Minor in Possession of alcohol can be scary and complex. These alcohol offenses carry stiff penalties and usually result in your driver's license suspended even before you are convicted.
Driving While Intoxicated is a serious charge at any time, but carries very different punishments based on your prior history. You commit this offense, under Texas law, if you are operating a motor vehicle in a public place while you are intoxicated. You are "intoxicated" if either you:
1. 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 your body; or
2. Have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. [Texas Penal Code 49.01(2)] Your blood alcohol concentration may be measured by testing your breath, blood, or urine.
1st offense: 72 hours - 6 months in jail; a fine up to $2,000
Law change alert! Effective September 1, 2011, if your blood alcohol concentration measures 0.15 or higher, the punishment for a 1st offense increases to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
2nd offense: 30 days - 12 months in jail; a fine up to $4,000
3rd offense: 2 - 10 years in prison; a fine up to $10,000
In addition, the presence of an open container of alcohol in the vehicle may add to the minimum jail time.
BUT that is not all! The punishment starts as soon as you are stopped:
Your license will be suspended if you --
> give a sample of your breath and it says your
blood alcohol level is .08 or above, or
> refuse to give a sample.
It is very important that you consult an attorney within 15 days of your arrest. Only if filed in 15 days will you be able to appeal this suspension.
Even if your license is suspended, you may be able to get an Occupational Drivers License that would allow you to drive to and from work. Don't risk your job by losing your transportation!
Finally, you will need an experienced attorney to defend you against the possible jail or prison that could result from a conviction. An experienced attorney can advise you about whether the breath test the officer took is valid, if the field sobriety tests performed on you were done correctly, or whether the officer made a critical mistake that violated your constitutional rights.
The Flanigan Law Firm can file an appeal of your license suspension, apply to the court for an occupational drivers license for you, and provide critical legal representation that may prevent a conviction or reduce the possible consequences.
Minor with Alcohol Offenses
> Minor in Possession of Alcohol
> Minor in Consumption of Alcohol
> Attempted of or Purchase of Alcohol by Minor
> Misrepresentation of Age by Minor to obtain Alcohol
The above are Class C misdemeanors, but carry very unique punishments, such as:
1. 6 months jail and a fine between $250-$2,000 if you have been convicted twice before of one of these type of offenses,
2. Community service of at least 12 hours, but in some cases, up to 40 hours, and
3. Drivers License suspension: 30 days for the first offense, 60 for the second, and 180 for the third.
The Flanigan Law Firm can provide advice and representation for you if you are charged with these offenses.