DWI Attorney in Austin
Even though being arrested or charged with DWI or DUI is a common occurrence these days it is still a serious offense that carries serious ramifications if you are convicted. It is important that you hire a DWI attorney in Austin who has experience fighting these cases in a jury trial.
An Experienced DWI Attorney in Austin Can Help
If you have been arrested for drunk driving you are most likely charged with a Class B Misdemeanor which has a punishment range of up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. A second conviction for DWI is a Class A Misdemeanor while a third conviction becomes a felony.
If you have never been arrested before and there are no extenuating circumstances the odds of you receiving a jail sentence are fairly slim. If you are convicted of DWI you most likely face a term of probation. Of course, our goal as your DWI attorney in Austin is to avoid you being convicted of DWI.
DWI Driver’s License Suspension
If you are charged with DWI, the Texas Department of Public Safety will try to suspend your driver’s license. The rules regarding driver’s license suspensions are numerous and complicated, and you should hire an experienced DWI attorney in Austin to help. Generally, for a first offense DWI, if you refuse a breath test, DPS will try to suspend your driver’s license for 180 days and if you fail a breath test, DPS will try to suspend your driver’s license for 90 days. It is important to know that you have a right to refuse a breathalyzer test. That’s important enough to repeat—don’t take a breath or blood test!
From the date you are arrested you have 15 days to contest the suspension of your driver’s license. It is important that you meet with an experienced DWI attorney in Austin before this deadline passes so they may advise you as to the best course of action. Your driver’s license will be suspended 40 days after the date you were arrested. If your driver’s license is suspended, it is fairly easy to obtain an occupational driver’s license that will allow you to drive for work and other essential needs during the period of your suspension.
Difference between DWI and DUI
Many people confuse driving while intoxicated “DWI” with driving under the influence “DUI”. In Texas, a DWI is typically a Class B Misdemeanor (for a first offense) and a DUI is a Class C Misdemeanor that is issued to minors under the age of 21 when an officer notices a detectable amount of alcohol on a minor who was operating a vehicle. In short, if you are over 21 you cannot get a DUI. You CAN get a DWI if you are under 21. Even though it is a Class C Misdemeanor, a DUI is still an offense you should speak with a DUI or DWI attorney in Austin about.
DWI is an opinion crime. One police officer who claims he sees red, glassy eyes, hears slurred speech and smells the odor of alcohol can take you to jail. Someone who just met you and knows nothing about where you have been, whether you have allergy problems, what kind of medical issues you have, the way you talk and whether you drank any alcohol that day, let alone how much, can take away your freedom. Without an experienced DWI attorney in Austin, you could end up with more time in jail, having to pay thousands of dollars in fines, your driver’s license suspended and a criminal conviction on your record for the rest of your life without an attorney that knows how to defend a DWI, DUI or other alcohol related offenses. An arrest, conviction or even dismissal of a DWI can radically change your life. You could lose your job, miss out on future employment opportunities or get evicted from your home. At Erskine Law, we understand that your case creates problems outside the courtroom and work hard to help you solve them.
DWI Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Driving While Intoxicated?
DWI is a crime when operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Intoxication is not the same as “drunk.” The law defines intoxication as the loss of the normal use of your physical or mental faculties, or having alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater in your breath, blood or urine. A person can be intoxicated from substances other than alcohol such as a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug or a combination of two or more those substances into the body.
What are the consequences of a DWI conviction?
Getting pulled-over, arrested, and spending the night in jail for DWI is just the beginning of a long road. While your case is going on a judge could order you to not to drive at all, install a breath testing machine in your car or put an alcohol monitor on your ankle. The Texas Department of Public Safety will use the Administrative License Revocation hearing to try to suspend your license. The possible penalties for a conviction include:
First DWI charge:
- 72 hours to 180 days in the county jail
- Up to a $2,000 fine
Second DWI charge:
- 30 days to 1 year in the county jail
- Up to a $4,000 fine
Third DWI charge:
- 2 to 10 years in prison
- Up to a $10,000 fine
If convicted and placed on probation, you could be ordered to:
- not drive;
- spend more time in jail;
- pay fees;
- attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings;
- enroll in a rehab program;
- perform community service;
- stay away from bars;
- take random alcohol and drug tests;
- and/or report to a probation officer regularly.
Getting charged with a DWI does not have to lead to these consequences though. Every case is different and finding a DWI attorney in Austin that has experience handling these types of cases is key.
Will my driver’s license get suspended?
On the 41st day after your arrest, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will automatically suspend your license, if you do not follow the proper procedures. You only get 15 days to request a hearing. A DWI attorney in Austin who knows how the process works can ensure that your license does not get suspended automatically, but you must act fast to keep your right to a hearing and possibly save your driver’s license. The outcome of this hearing can differ greatly depending on your representation.
Possible suspension periods:
- 90 days for providing a sample of 0.08 or greater
- 180 days for refusing to provide a sample
- 1 year with prior suspension within 10 years
- 2 years with prior suspension within 5 years
Brian Erskine has the experience representing clients in danger of losing their driver’s license and will fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact our office to set up your free consultation and decide if Brian Erskine is the right DWI attorney in Austin for you.