Were You Arrested for a First Offense DWI in Austin?
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a severe violation. You are intoxicated if alcohol, drugs, or other substances impair your judgment and decision-making skills. Intoxicated drivers put themselves and others in danger, and the consequences can be devastating; nearly one-third of traffic fatalities are the result of intoxicated drivers. A first offense DWI is punishable by administrative and criminal consequences. A first offense DWI is a serious matter; if convicted, you will face hefty fines and criminal prosecution. If you are arrested for a first time DWI, it is essential to learn the Texas DWI laws.
What You Need to Know about First Time DWI in Austin
If a law enforcement officer requests for you to take a breathalyzer test and you refuse, then the Texas Department of Public Safety will suspend your driver’s license for a period of time, up to 180 days. The officer will give you a Notice of Suspension, and you will be able to drive temporarily until your hearing date. You may contest the suspension or request permission to drive for employment and education purposes. In order to qualify for an Occupation License, you must install an Ignition Interlock Device (breathalyzer switch) in your vehicle and provide proof of enrollment or employment.
All DWI charges result in some form of loss of driving privileges. Standard DWI penalties include incarceration and fines. In addition to these sentences, you may also be subject to community service, DWI education, and probation.
The type of consequences and severity of penalties varies greatly for a first offense DWI. There are many things that will determine the intricacy of your DWI case. Some factors that will influence the outcome of the DWI charge include:
- The ages of the passengers in the vehicle
- The BAC level
- The presence of an open container of alcohol
- Injuries or fatalities
Here Are the Austin DWI Limits You Need to Understand:
You are legally intoxicated if your Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level is .08 or higher.
A .15 BAC is considered to be an extreme level of intoxication and is subject to harsher penalties.
Austin First Offense DWI Penalties
In Texas, a non-complicated first offense DWI is a class “B” misdemeanor that can result in an upper limit of 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 penalty. However, each DWI case is unique; several factors can influence the severity of consequences and which DWI penalties apply to your situation.
A BAC of .15 or higher is viewed as severe intoxication and will result in a class “A” misdemeanor. It is indictable by up to a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. Even if this is your first DWI, a BAC of .15 is a dangerous violation, and you could be forced to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle before you are legally allowed to resume driving.
If you drive while inebriated and there is a passenger under the age of 15 in your vehicle at the time, you may face multiple harsh consequences, including a felony charge and child endangerment. A DWI charge involving a child passenger is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in a state jail. In addition to a felony charge, child endangerment charge, and jail time, you will also be responsible for a $10,000 fine.
If someone suffers an injury as a result of your DWI, then you will face a third-degree felony for Intoxication Assault, which is punishable by a $10,000 fine and 2 to 10 years in a state jail.
The penalties are most severe if the DWI results in a fatality. The penalties for Intoxication Manslaughter includes 2-20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Should I Hire an Austin DWI Lawyer for a First Offense?
If you experience a first offense DWI arrest in Austin, you need a reputable lawyer on your side. A DWI is a serious matter that can have far-reaching effects. A DWI Defense Lawyer will help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and will be able to offer you a good grasp of the nuances of DWI laws. You may feel hopeless if you are facing a first offense DWI charge; however, it is imperative to know that it is possible to have a good defense in place against the charges. Possible DWI defenses include:
- Not realizing that you were intoxicated
- Choosing to drive because it was absolutely necessary
- Driving because a Law Enforcement Officer instructed you to
- Faulty field sobriety test
- Faulty breathalyzer test
A first offense DWI is a serious matter; however, you do have some options to defend yourself if you choose to do so. You need to fully understand the Texas DWI laws for a first offense violation so that you can protect yourself in your legal battle against the DWI charges. Hiring a reliable lawyer will mean that you have a solid defense on your side to help you with your unique case.
What happens when you get your first DWI?
A first-time DWI offense is generally considered a misdemeanor which can potentially result in fines, jail time, community service requirements, and more penalties. If the offense is particularly severe, however, it is still possible to be charged with a felony.
Will I go to jail for first DWI?
Depending on the severity of the charges, jail time is a possible penalty for a first-time DWI. Jail time is not mandatory, but it is possible to receive up to 180 days of jail time for a first offense DWI in Texas.
Do judges go easy on first time offenders?
The DWI laws dictate that penalties for offenses get more and more severe the more prior offenses a person has on their record. A judge will take into consideration that this is a first-time offense, but they will still be sure to apply the appropriate penalties for the situation.
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