Stopped for DWI in Texas

Driving while intoxicated, or DWI, is a serious offense and can have long-term consequences on your ability to drive, your finances, and your freedoms. If you do get stopped for DWI in Texas, you can’t just fake your way through it. Make sure you know a few key details about DWI charges and how you can protect your rights. 

What is Considered a DWI in Texas?

You can be charged with a DWI, according to Texas law, if you are over 21 and have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, or if you are impaired by drug use. Drivers under 21 may face DWI charges at lower limits. You can also face DWI charges any time alcohol or drug consumption impacts your ability to drive, even in cases when you may not have exceeded the legal limit. 

What Happens When You Get a DWI?

When you are charged with driving while intoxicated, you could face a number of potential consequences, including:

  • Loss of driver’s license
  • Fines
  • Jail time

Your insurance rates may also increase, and conviction could be a blow to your reputation. Furthermore, being charged with a DUI or DWI can interfere with your ability to work in any industry that requires you to drive or even to get a job in other industries that may perform a background check prior to employment. 

What Should I Know If I Get Stopped in Texas for Driving While Intoxicated?

Driving while intoxicated can result in significant legal consequences. Make sure you know the potential issues you can face when dealing with a DWI stop or charge. 

1. You can be arrested for DWI even if you do not feel “drunk.”

The legal limit for DWI is a BAC of .08 or higher. However, you can be pulled over and arrested for a lower BAC if you’ve been observed driving erratically or are exhibiting any other signs of intoxication. Drug use, including driving while under the influence of prescription or nonprescription medications that change your ability to navigate safely, can also result in a DWI charge

2. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test, it can result in automatic license suspension. 

In Texas, if you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test, it will not get you out of being charged with a DWI. Refusing a test can also result in license suspensions of up to 180 days. 

3. You have a limited amount of time to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. 

During an ALR hearing, you will have the right to argue against the license suspension, especially if you can show that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to perform a field sobriety test and that you should not have to lose your license. However, you will only have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request an ALR hearing. Without that hearing, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for DWI. 

4. DWI convictions can have a number of serious long-term consequences. 

Not only can you face fines and jail time after a DWI, but you may also end up struggling with:

  • Getting a job. Especially if you intend to take any type of job that requires you to drive. A job that performs a background check may turn up your DWI, which can influence hiring decisions. 
  • Getting a loan. In some cases, you may have a hard time obtaining a loan or renting property with a DWI on your record. 
  • Travel. Some countries will make it more difficult for you to travel if you have a DWI on your record. 

Fighting the DWI is your best chance to protect your freedoms and keep your life moving forward smoothly. 

5. Repeat offenders could face even more substantial penalties in Texas. 

If you have had more than one DWI, you may end up facing a longer jail sentence and higher fines for subsequent offenses. Furthermore, you may find your insurance rates go up substantially, and you may struggle to get a provisional license that will allow you to drive with a breathalyzer or other device. Repeat DWI offenses can also leave you with more future difficulties related to employment, rental properties, and loans. 

6. Getting in touch with a DWI attorney as soon as possible can help you navigate your case more effectively. 

Securing skilled legal representation is so important that even career attorneys know to consult with a DWI lawyer as soon as they can after getting pulled over. The court system can be very tricky to navigate successfully, and any missteps along the way, from rash statements made to the police to things said in jail in an unguarded moment, can and will be used against you in court. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you understand all your options and have the best chance of protecting yourself. A skilled attorney can help you successfully navigate the system and protect your rights. 

7. Texas does offer options for first-time DWI offenders. 

If this is your first DWI offense, you may be eligible for:

  • Probation.
  • Alternative sentencing.
  • Diversion programs.

These programs can help you avoid some of the more severe consequences associated with DWI, including jail time and license loss. A DWI defense attorney can help you understand your options and work to minimize the overall impact of a DWI on your life. 

Take Your DWI Seriously

If you get pulled over for driving while intoxicated, you must take the matter seriously. Being stopped for a DWI in Texas can be a frightening experience. By understanding your legal rights and options, you can often navigate the process more effectively, protecting your freedoms and allowing the incident to disrupt your life as little as possible. By familiarizing yourself with the key points we discussed in this article and working with a Texas DWI lawyer, you can get a better feeling for your options and how to protect those key rights.

Austin Office
816 Congress Ave, Suite 950
Austin, Texas 78701

San Antonio Office
700 N St Mary’s St, Suite 1457
San Antonio, Texas 78205