Intoxicated driving offenses are some of the most common in Austin. While they are prevalent, that does not mean you are out of legal options. If you are charged with felony DWI, you need legal assistance to defend yourself. A conviction often leads to severe consequences like license suspension, fines, and jail time.
Speak to the felony DWI lawyer in Austin from the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC.
DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated, and is a legal term used in Texas to describe the offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other states refer to this charge as driving under the influence (DUI). However, in Texas, DUI is a charge that only applies to minors.
In Texas, a person is considered legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. However, even if a driver’s BAC is below this limit, they can still be charged with DWI if their physical or mental faculties are impaired due to alcohol or drugs. Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for DWI involving minors (under 21 years old), where any detectable amount of alcohol can lead to charges.
DWI is a serious criminal offense with potentially severe consequences. The penalties for DWI in Texas can include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, probation, community service, and even jail time, depending on factors such as prior convictions and the level of intoxication. DWI convictions can have long-lasting effects on a person’s driving record, insurance rates, and future opportunities.
Texas law enforcement takes DWI offenses seriously. In some cases, prosecutors can issue DWI charges as felonies, which increases the severity of the matter. Due to the potential legal consequences and impact on your life, it’s advisable to consult a felony DWI lawyer immediately.
One factor that can impact your criminal case is how the officer pulls you over. They must have reasonable suspicion before they can make contact with you. Essentially they must justify that the stop was legal. They usually do this by citing a traffic violation, demonstrating a tip from an anonymous caller, or using NHTSA’s intoxicated driving factors.
Often officers will say they smelled alcohol to justify an investigation. When they say this, they are usually looking for probable cause. When they have that, they can make an arrest. They will usually establish probable cause by asking you questions, conducting field sobriety tests, and through visual observations. These tests can be flawed. When speaking to the officer, refrain from explaining how much you drank. Stay quiet until you talk to an Austin felony DWI attorney.
The purpose of field sobriety tests is to determine if you are intoxicated. If the officer can prove this, then they can make an arrest and charge you. Your BAC must be .08 or higher for these charges. DWIs include illegal drugs, prescription medications, or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Some of the most common tests include:
These tests are very subjective. There are various reasons why you can fail these tests that do not involve being intoxicated. When you speak to our felony DWI lawyer in Austin, we will review how your test went and if you had another reason for failing these tests.
You can be facing several charges for felony DWI. They will each have varying penalties discussed later. Some felony offenses you can be facing include:
You do not want these charges to stay on your record and affect your life. An underage DWI is a Class C misdemeanor with fines upwards of $500. It also requires attending an alcohol awareness class and community service. To fight back, speak to a felony DWI lawyer in Austin.
Most DWI offenses are misdemeanors, but some can automatically be deemed felonies. The penalties are steeper for felonies. You do not want your life derailed because of a misunderstanding or mistake. Among the penalties that you can face for felony DWIs are the following:
These are examples of the court penalties you can face. However, there are other consequences you may face. You may have your license suspended. You must also attend DWI school, counseling, or a drug and rehabilitation program. The state can also require you to install an ignition interlock device. Often not addressed, you may also face an increase in your insurance premium. To lower your penalties, speak to our Austin felony DWI lawyer today.
Many people accused of a DWI wonder if their employer will be notified of their charges. While you might think this situation has nothing to do with your employer, depending on your career path, it might. Texas does not make employer notification optional for specific careers. This rule usually applies to jobs involving a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Examples of occupations that require this license and employer notification include:
Employers in these fields will periodically check driver’s licenses and criminal records. If the employer finds a DWI charge or conviction, it can result in employment consequences. They can go as far as firing you for not informing them.
A critical factor in an Austin DWI case is proving physical control of the vehicle. The prosecution is responsible for establishing that you were over the legal limit and were in the operation of a car. This might be easy to prove if the person was driving and then pulled over. However, that is not the only situation that can apply. To be in actual physical control, you do not have to be driving. Some questions that can determine actual physical control of a vehicle include:
You may be charged with a DWI even if you were not actively driving the vehicle. Working with the actual physical control defense can help your case. It is challenging to prove the defendant was in control of the car. If you can prove that you were not in actual physical control at the time of the alleged offense, your charges may be reduced or dismissed. Do not try to do this alone. Work with our felony DWI lawyer in Austin.
Many legal fees and fines are associated with DWIs, but some are not often addressed. A DWI charge can cost a pretty penny and hinder your opportunities in the future. Some of the costs you may incur include:
You may also suffer employment issues like time off or job loss. You can experience a substantial financial burden if you are charged or convicted of a felony DWI in Texas. However, you have the right to fight back and defend yourself. It is best if you work with an Austin felony DWI lawyer. You will want to avoid penalties and the long-term impacts of a criminal conviction.
You have a higher chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed when you work with a criminal defense lawyer in Austin. It can be tempting to handle these matters independently, but it is ill-advised. The Law Office of David D. White, PLLC, can contest chemical tests, review evidence and craft a viable defense. We will work to keep your life from derailing from a criminal conviction.
We can work towards a plea deal when things are not favorable. The goal is to get your charges dismissed, but sometimes the best outcome is a lighter penalty. Contact our Austin felony DWI attorney for guidance on your circumstances.
“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.