DWI Penalties in San Antonio

San Antonio is one of the worst cities for drunk drivers in Texas. DWI penalties in San Antonio are severe and vary depending on the defendant’s criminal record, the details of the crime, and how serious the offense was. Generally, a DWI conviction can lead to jail time, fines, treatment programs, and driver’s license suspension. Besides, if you injure someone due to a drunk driving accident, you could face felony charges.

If an officer arrested you for DWI or driving-related offenses, an experienced attorney will mount a solid defense to get a dismissal or reduced penalties. They should carefully investigate and evaluate the case against you and do everything they can to protect your rights and freedom.

What Constitutes a DWI?

DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated.” In Texas, DWI refers to a person operating a vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. This generally implies an individual operates a vehicle while they lack the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the effects of a drug or alcohol. In Texas, an individual 21 years or older can be arrested for a DWI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or above.

DWI Penalties in San Antonio

Texas allows a DWI charge as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Penalties vary and may include the following:

First offense: First-time DWI offenses are a Class B misdemeanor. Court penalties include:

  • A driver’s license suspension of 90 days to 1 year.
  • Up to $2000 in fines.
  • Entry into a substance abuse treatment program.
  • 72 hours to 180 days in jail.
  • Community service.

Second offense: Below are the penalties for a second-time DWI offender:

  • 30 days to 1 year in jail. 
  • A fine of up to $4000.
  • Entry into a substance abuse treatment program.
  • Community service.

Third offense: A third DWI offense is a third-degree felony that involves more severe penalties. These include:

  • A fine of up to $10,000.
  • Driver’s license suspension of 180 days to two years.
  • 2 to 10 years in prison.

Your Rights If Stopped  While Intoxicated?

Be mindful of your actions if an officer stops you after witnessing dangerous driving or other traffic violation. Our attorneys advise clients to remain polite and courteous throughout their interactions with officers. The following are some of the steps to help increase the chance of beating a DWI charge:

Don’t Admit to Drinking or Visiting Any Drinking Establishments and Don’t Lie

Politely refuse to answer any questions. If you admit to drinking or visiting any drinking establishments, the officer will put your answer on record. The San Antonio prosecutor can likely use this information against you, and the court or jury can impose DWI penalties.

Decline All Sobriety Tests

Decline all sobriety tests, including the one-leg stand, walk and turn, and eye test.

Refuse a Breath or Blood Test

Don’t agree to any breath or blood tests even if the officer threatens you with a license suspension or arrest, which they can choose to do right there on the side of the road. The DWI attorneys from Stephen T. Bowling reveal the equipment used to take these tests is subject to mechanical and human error. If the results of the tests show you are 0.08 or higher, the prosecutor uses this as solid evidence to have your license suspended.

Call a DWI Lawyer

Call a San Antonio DWI attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Firstly, this allows your attorney to take your statement while the information is still fresh in your mind. It also ensures that you get an ALR hearing scheduled, which will protect your drivers license and driving privileges. These situations are difficult enough without having to depend on others to get around town.

Can the Court Expunge DWI Penalties in San Antonio?

A DWI conviction cannot be expunged in Texas. However, some DWI charges may be expunged if they did not lead to a final conviction. Generally, DWI charges that can’t be expunged are eligible to be sealed under the Texas DWI Second Chance Law. It takes six months to expunge a DWI charge in Texas.

How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Record in San Antonio?

A DWI conviction is permanent in Texas. Criminal convictions for DWI and any other charge generally stay in the government records forever.

DWI Defense 

Depending on the facts of your case, your DWI attorney can challenge all aspects of the case, from the reason for the traffic stop to how the officer administered the breath or blood test. Whether it is a first DWI offense, second DWI offense, or even a third DWI felony offense, challenging the prosecutor’s evidence is the most effective way to dismiss a DWI charge in San Antonio. The following are some of the defenses a DWI attorney will likely use against a DWI charge:

  • Illegal stop: The law protects you from unlawful search and seizures. Unless law enforcement has evidence to believe you have committed a traffic violation, they cannot stop you. Your lawyer should present evidence the officer lacked just cause to stop you and use it to get your DWI dismissed.
  • Inaccurate alcohol tests: Several factors may compromise breathalyzer tests, resulting in inaccurate readings. Your attorney should challenge the accuracy of test results to get the evidence thrown out. 
  • Inaccurate field sobriety test: Field sobriety tests are designed for you to fail and give the police officer a reason to arrest you. Your DWI attorney should argue that the field sobriety test was improperly administered or done with faulty equipment.

Don’t Wait to Begin Preparing a Defense

A DWI charge and penalties in San Antonio are no joke. Even if the evidence behind the charges is nothing to go by, the consequences of a conviction are dire. If the arresting officer charged you with a DWI, get the help you need to protect yourself, your family, your assets, and your reputation. You often only have a short time to schedule that ALR hearing.

If you need to speak with an attorney, we invite you to reach out. The legal team at the Stephen T. Bowling San Antonio law offices fight for clients and their families every day. We leverage our experience  in both the law and law enforcement to help you navigate the complexities of the court system. Our experienced team will help you understand your options and mount an effective defense.

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