When you’re consuming alcohol, a night of fun can transform into a nightmare in a split second. Before you know it, you can find yourself in the back of a police car, slapped with a criminal charge, and facing significant penalties such as fines, the loss of your driver’s license, and incarceration. In Texas, there is a broad range of alcohol-related offenses that law enforcement takes very seriously, from DWI to public intoxication. Many alcohol offenses are classed as misdemeanors, but certain crimes involving alcohol rise to the level of felony charges.
Whether you’re a visitor or a resident of Austin facing an alcohol charge, arming yourself with knowledge and a strong legal strategy is your best defense. It is strongly advised to seek the representation of a skilled defense attorney who can ensure your side of the story is heard. At the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC, our knowledgeable alcohol offense lawyers know what you’re up against and can help you prepare a strong case and protect your rights.
In Texas, the potential alcohol offenses one can be charged with extend beyond drunk driving. Our legal team has helped countless clients fight alcohol-related charges, each with possible penalties and relevant laws. Some of the alcohol offense cases we’ve taken on include:
Alcohol offenses in Texas are ranked based on severity, with proportionate fines, jail time, and other penalties reflecting the level of the offense. These crimes range from the least serious – Class C Misdemeanors – up to First-Degree Felonies. The severity and potential penalties for various alcohol-related crimes are listed as follows:
This level of crime is considered the least serious and, as such, carries the lightest possible punishments. Examples of Class C Misdemeanor alcohol offenses include minors possessing alcohol (MIP), using a fake ID to purchase alcohol, public intoxication, and open container violations. Those convicted of Class C Misdemeanors face up to $500 in fines and no jail time.
Class B Misdemeanors are treated slightly more seriously than Class C, with jail time as a possible penalty. Examples of alcohol-related crimes of this level include first-time DWIs and first-time BWIs. Those convicted may be fined up to $2,000 and face up to 180 days in jail.
One step below felonies, Class A Misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanors in Texas. Examples of alcohol offenses in this category include selling alcohol to minors and resisting arrest while intoxicated. Class A Misdemeanors carry penalties of up to $4,000 in fines and a maximum of one year behind bars.
Third-Degree Felonies are the least serious felonies but are more severe than misdemeanors. In addition to intoxication assault, some DWI offenses rise to third-degree felonies, including subsequent DWI offenses. Those convicted of Third-Degree Felony alcohol offenses may be fined up to $10,000 and face prison time ranging from 2 to 10 years.
Intoxication manslaughter occurs when a driver unintentionally causes the death of another person due to intoxicated driving. This type of alcohol-related offense is considered a Second-Degree Felony and carries possible fines of up to $10,000 as well as a maximum of 20 years in prison.
When intoxication manslaughter results in the death of an emergency first responder, such as a peace officer, a firefighter, or an emergency medical services technician, the second-degree charge rises to a First-Degree Felony. Those convicted face fines of up to $10,000 and the possibility of life behind bars.
If you’ve been charged with an alcohol-related offense in Austin, Texas, you might be concerned about the long-term impact it could have on your record. Fortunately, legal options are available to help mitigate the consequences of your arrest and protect your future. Expungement and record sealing can allow you to clear or restrict access to your criminal record. With the help of our experienced defense attorneys, the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC, can work to make sure your criminal record is permanently protected from public eyes or, in some cases, erased.
Expungement is the legal process of completely erasing an arrest or conviction from your criminal record. If your case is dismissed, you complete a deferred disposition, or you are acquitted, you may be eligible for expungement. Once your record is deleted, it’s as if the arrest or conviction never happened, and you can legally deny its existence in most situations. Expungement can be a powerful tool to give you a fresh start and prevent your alcohol-related offense from affecting your personal and professional life.
Record sealing is a similar process but doesn’t completely erase your record. Instead, it restricts access, making it inaccessible to the general public. Certain government agencies, such as law enforcement and the courts, will still have access to the sealed record, but potential employers, landlords, and others won’t be able to view it without a court order. Record sealing can be a practical option if you’re not eligible for expungement but still want to limit the impact of your alcohol-related offense on your future opportunities.
The situation can be overwhelming when you face an alcohol-related offense in Texas. In these trying times, seeking the guidance of a seasoned attorney is not just a smart choice – it’s a critical one. At the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC, our defense attorneys specialize in alcohol-related offenses, and we bring more to the table than just knowledge of the law. We can serve as your fierce advocate, navigator, and protector of fundamental rights throughout the legal process.
Alcohol-related offenses in Texas encompass a wide range of situations and legal intricacies. The defense case we build on your behalf will be determined by the specific charge you are up against, the available evidence, and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. But more than this, we will tailor our approach and work closely with you at every step, ensuring your preferences and needs remain at the forefront of each decision. As your devoted ally, we believe that your future matters and are here to help you protect it. Some of the services and tasks we can handle on your behalf include:
If you are up against an alcohol-related charge, remember that you do not have to plead guilty and accept the resulting penalties. As a citizen of Texas, you have the right to fight the charges against you alongside a dedicated defense attorney. Many options are available to you, and the path to the best outcome will depend on your case. At the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC, we possess a vast toolbox of resources and tactics that we can use to help you defend yourself, your freedom, and your rights. Some of the strategies we may employ include:
We will closely examine the evidence the prosecution intends to present. If there are weaknesses or inconsistencies in their case, we can challenge the validity of the charges.
If there were any violations of your constitutional rights during your arrest or the collection of evidence, we could pursue motions to suppress such evidence.
We can negotiate with the prosecution to explore the possibility of reduced charges or alternative sentencing options.
Tests used to determine intoxication, such as breathalyzers or blood tests, are fallible and may be subject to errors. In some cases, we may be able to challenge the results of these tests by calling their reliability into question.
If you have medical conditions that could have influenced your behavior or appearance of intoxication, we can present medical evidence to demonstrate an alternative cause of the alleged offense.
If your case goes to trial, we will aim to systematically break down the prosecution’s case against you. Our trial strategy will focus on highlighting reasonable doubt to demonstrate your innocence.
In many cases, having a strong defense attorney by your side can lead to a reduction of charges or sometimes a complete drop of the charges against you. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense where the defendant accepts a lesser charge or agrees to specific terms in exchange for lighter penalties.
While the decision to accept a plea bargain ultimately rests with the defendant, several factors come into play during negotiations that can significantly influence the outcome. The likelihood that your alcohol-related charge will be dropped or reduced will depend on the following:
When you plead not guilty to an alcohol-related offense, the prosecution may be inclined to offer a favorable plea deal to avoid the uncertainty of a trial, even if the evidence against you is strong. If the evidence is particularly weak, your lawyer may be able to have the charges dropped entirely.
Your criminal history can impact the negotiations as well. Defendants with a clean record may have a stronger negotiating position, as the prosecution may be more willing to offer leniency for first-time offenders.
Demonstrating a commitment to rehabilitation can be persuasive during plea negotiations. If you agree to participate in alcohol treatment programs, counseling, or community service, it can show a willingness to address the underlying issues that led to the offense.
The surest way to increase the chances of reaching a favorable plea deal or dropping your charges is to work with a reputable alcohol offense attorney. Prosecutors will be encouraged to push for the harshest charges and penalties if they do not have legal representation or opt for a public defender.
If you’ve been charged with an alcohol-related offense, you must take action now to safeguard your future. The decisions you make as you approach this legal battle can have a lasting impact on your life. At the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC, we know how to fight alcohol charges in Austin and are committed to providing you with unwavering legal support and guidance.
Whether you’re dealing with DWI charges, public intoxication, or any other alcohol-related offense, we have the knowledge and experience to craft a powerful defense on your behalf. Reach out to us today by calling 512-764-5899 or completing our contact form.
“When you hire me, you get me. Not my admin, not my associates. I’ll meet, talk, text, and work with you directly to get you the best possible outcome in your case.”
David D. White
Criminal Defense Lawyer
David is both professional and easy to interact with. I cannot say enough good things about his ability to provide the best service possible. If I had another legal matter in the future I would definitely use David again. I highly recommend him.