DWI / Driving While Intoxicated Offenses
Drinking and driving is not taken lightly in the state of Texas and can result in serious penalties. Each year roughly 90,000 men, women, and minors are arrested for a DWI or driving while intoxicated in Texas. This is a criminal offense which is oftentimes also referred to as driving under the influence (DUI).
According to NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations, there have been about 1,400 drug and alcohol-related vehicle fatalities in the state of Texas since 2009. These stats rank Texas as a state with one of the highest amounts of alcohol and drug-related driving accidents in the nation.
Dallas, TX DWI Lawyer
If you were recently arrested in Dallas or Fort Worth for drinking and driving, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The damage that alcohol and drug-related collisions can have on lives and property is immense and due to the potential for temporary and permanent damage, Dallas Fort Wort law enforcement and the Texas penal code take a stern view towards drunk driving.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy focuses on DWI and DUI arrests in the northern Texas area including, Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Denton, Arlington, Irving, and more. If you are looking for a DWI or DUI attorney in Dallas it is important to get in touch with a law firm that has experience dealing with all types of DWI cases. Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a free consultation at (972) 233-5700.
DWI Offenses in Dallas
In the penal code, there are quite a few different types of DWI offenses and enhancements that a person arrest for DUI in Dallas may face, including:
Whatever DWI/DUI related crime you may have been arrested for, you should not assume that going to court and pleading guilty is your only option. With an experienced DWI or DUI attorney in Dallas, you can remain out of jail and enjoy your freedom.
DWI Texas Information Center
DUI vs DWI in Texas
Many in Texas are charged with a DWI, yet they often times refer to it as a DUI. Though they are similar charges with similar penalties, there are a few differences in the offenses. In the state of Texas, a person accused of drinking and driving with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of over .08 will be charged with a DWI.
However, if the person accused is a first time offender and a minor under the age of 21, then oftentimes they are charged with a DUI, instead of a DWI. Those over the age of 21 with a BAC of over .08 are oftentimes charged with a DWI which has more severe penalties.
Though these two terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to know the difference since they both are different charges with different penalties.
Penalties for Drinking and Driving in Texas
In the state of Texas, there is a zero-tolerance policy for minors. So if a minor has any amount of alcohol in their system they are charged with drinking and driving. For a first offense, a minor can face a license suspension of up to 1 year, a $500 fine, 90 days of community service and they will also be required to attend an Alcohol Education Program.
Adults that are charged with a DWI face more severe punishment. They can face up 2 years of license suspension, jail time up to 180 days, a fine up to $2000, and possibly an ignition interlock device. The punishments get more severe for repeat offenders or those with a child in the car.
Texas Resources for DWI Arrests
Find a DWI Lawyer in Dallas, TX – Visit the Lawyer Legion website to find a list of the best DWI attorneys in Dallas, TX. The ranking system used by Lawyer Legion provides information about an attorneys membership and leadership in the top bar associations for DUI defense and criminal defense including the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), the DUI Defense Lawyer Association (DUIDLA), the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA).
Texas Department of Public Safety on DWI Law – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is a law enforcement agency that seeks to protect and serve Texas by combating terrorism and crime, enhancing public safety, and strengthening emergency management throughout the state. A local Dallas DPS office is located at:1500 Marilla 1B South
City of Dallas Building
Dallas, Texas 75201
Phone: (214) 651-1859
Dallas County Clerk’s Office – This link provides individuals access to their criminal records and misdemeanor criminal case information, miscellaneous court information and resources about the justice system throughout Dallas County. The county criminal courts are located at:Frank Crowley Criminal Building
133 N. Riverfront Blvd.
Dallas, Texas 75207
Phone: (214) 653-7099
Find a DWI / DUI Attorney in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
If you have been arrested for drinking and driving, it is important that you contact an experienced DWI/ DUI attorney immediately. Richard C. McConathy focuses on drinking and driving cases and is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dallas Fort Worth.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy serves those accused of drinking and driving in Dallas County, Tarrant County, Denton County, Collin County, Rockwall County, Ellis County, Parker County, and other areas of northern Texas. Email or call (972) 233-5700 today to get a free consultation.
Texas DWI FAQ
DWI is a criminal offense that says a person may not drive a motor vehicle in a public place while “intoxicated.” The DWI statute does not say driving while drunk or “drunk driving.”
The legal definition of intoxication in Texas is:
- Having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more
- Not having the normal use of 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 substances into the body.
- Not having the normal use of mental 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 substances into the body
The State only needs to prove one of the three ways beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction.
According to the law, the definition of the word normal is the average person. The problem is how do we determine the average person? The law is vague in this subject, which lends itself for good argument to a jury that everyone is different and each has his own normal.
“Alcohol concentration” is defined by statute as:
a. the number of grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood;
b. the number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath; or
c. the number of grams of alcohol per 67 milliliters of urine.
A 0.02 equals one drink. A drink is 1-¼ ounces of liquor, 1 12oz beer, or 1 glass of wine. It takes one hour for the body to burn off a 0.02 down to a 0.00. Thus, to reach a 0.08 a person must consume four drinks in one hour.
Under criminal law, you are not required to perform any type of test or answer any questions to the police officer. You have the right to refuse any tests and request an attorney. However, if you refuse to attempt these tests, the officer most likely is going to arrest you.
Further, the civil law, which your driver’s license falls under, does not protect you. In fact, when you applied for your driver’s license you unknowingly consented to any future tests, if to which you refused you would lose your driver’s license for a period of six months. The decision is yours and there is a civil risk (your license), but you do have rights, and should not waive them. Always request your lawyer and don’t cooperate with anything if you wish to exercise your rights.
No. However, although a person has no right to refuse being videotaped, he does have the right to refuse to perform any police field sobriety exercises and to refuse to answer any questions, the answers to which, might be incriminating. Unlike breath or blood test refusals, there are no penalties for refusing to perform field sobriety tests or refusing to answer questions while being videotaped.
If performed in a controlled environment in the exact proscribed standardized manner, the tests can be a likely indicator of intoxication. This is hardly done in the street.
The research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the designers of the tests, concluded the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is 77% accurate, the Walk & Turn is 68% accurate, and the One Leg Stand is 65% accurate only when administered in the prescribed, standardized manner. Any change from the standardized manner will compromise the tests validity and make any result inaccurate. When not conducted properly it becomes an opinion test of the officer.
Therefore, these tests will inaccurately claim 23% – 35% of the people tested as intoxicated. Which when done incorrectly, which is the norm, can drop the accuracy to a frightening level.
Even SOBER persons can have difficulty with these tests, as stated by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The reason is as the NHTSA has admitted, are several factors that affect every person, such as:
- Being ill
- The distraction of traffic
- The police car’s strobe lights
- Lack of coordination
- Gusts of wind
- Road or sidewalk conditions
- Head lights of traffic
- Weather conditions
- Being nervousness
- Back problems
- Leg or knee problems
- Inner ear disorders
The State of Texas must prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt”, which is the highest burden of proof in the justice system. It is not defined, by Texas law, but can be easily explained to a jury.
The lowest burden of proof is probable cause. That is how an officer can start an arrest.
The next highest burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence. This is the amount of proof needed in civil courtrooms involving civil suites. A preponderance of the evidence is proof amounting to 51% or who can move the scales of justice.
The next highest burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence. This is amount of proof that will cause a juror or judge to have a “firm belief” in the matter to be proved. This is used in custody cases. Most juries when they hear that the burden of proof is higher than that to take their kids away from them understand the high level of proof.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is the highest burden of proof. A jury must have more than that necessary to take your kids away in evidence that you were intoxicated before they could find you guilty. This is very simple, if a juror has a single doubt, based on reason, as to a person being intoxicated, they must follow the law and find them not guilty.
Texas law does not give you the right to speak with an attorney prior to making the decision of whether or not to take the field sobriety tests, the breath test or blood test. However, the law does not require you to perform any field sobriety tests or to take a blood or breath test so continue to ask for an attorney and refuse to cooperate and the likely chances of being found NOT GUILTY can increase!
If you are convicted of the DWI, it will be on your record for life. Furthermore, a DWI conviction can be used for ten years to enhance your punishment of you are arrested for DWI again. If you are found Not Guilty, you can have the arrest and DWI charge “expunged” from your record.