Legal Advice If Arrested For DWI

Legal Advice If Arrested For DWI in Fort Bend County, Texas

First Time DWI Arrest & Penalties, Richmond - DWI Charges & Consulting

If you are arrested, call Lee D. Cox, lawyer.

Motorists who are arrested on suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated {DWI} within the jurisdiction of Ft. Bend County, Texas, should speak with an experienced criminal defense law firm. Those arrested often are frightened and unsure how to defend themselves. Consulting with a qualified legal defense firm can be an important first step toward establishing an effective defense strategy.

The Texas code section 49.04 explains the DWI offense as, “a person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” Intoxication means the influence of specific substances which impair a driver’s cognitive or motor functions. Those substances include: marijuana, Class A drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, heroine, ecstasy, alcohol, and certain prescription drugs that are considered “controlled.”

If a driver is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol, legal intoxication is a blood alcohol concentration {BAC} at 0.08 or above for ages 21 and older. Limits are less than 0.08 for commercial vehicle drivers and those under 21 years of age. In Fort Bend County, and throughout Texas, law enforcement has an implied right to administer a breathalyzer test. This implied consent extends to urine and blood testing as well to determine the presence of drugs and alcohol. Refusal to submit these samples for testing is possible, but refusal can be counterproductive.

For example after a DWI arrest, refusal to submit to drug or alcohol testing can lead to a 180 day suspension of driving privileges. For a second DWI arrest, refusal can lead to a two-year suspension of driving privileges. Also, if a DWI arrestee failed a test in the past and had driving privileges suspended, refusal in that case leads to an automatic two-year’s suspension of driving privileges.

When a DWI arrestee is facing suspension of a drivers’ license, {s}he has a right to a hearing where a challenge can be made to the pending license suspension, so long as the request is made within 15 days of arrest. An attorney in the Fort Bend County district will likely request this hearing to protect your rights to challenge any possible license suspension.

If a person arrested for DWI declines to be tested, then without results from a breathalyzer or blood test, chances decrease for a prosecutor to successfully prove a DWI charge. Consult with an attorney who practices in the Fort Bend County district to protect your rights.

The breathalyzer process involves a driver exhaling air into a machine which measures intoxication levels. This breath test is considered less accurate than a blood test however, and a driver can request a blood test to confirm breathalyzer results within two hours.

Texas uses a breathalyzer machine known as the Intoxilyzer 5000. This instrument directs a beam of light through the air sample, and generates an estimate of alcohol present in the driver’s breath. There are variable factors that are known to affect the test numbers. For instance, the subject’s red blood cell count, and body temperature, as well as breathing patterns, and air temperature, all have been known to change the results of this test. In addition, the equipment calibration before a test is given, chemical levels from acid reflux in the subject’s throat, and even skin exposure to certain types of paint will affect the results.

Depending on the specifics in each DWI case, penalties can vary. A previous arrest record can affect a court penalty upon conviction. A Fort Bend County licensed attorney will discuss the details of your individual case if arrested for DWI. In general, for a First Offense, Class B Misdemeanor conviction, penalties will be a fine that does not exceed $2000. Jail confinement ranges from at least 72 hours to no more than six months. Finally, a community service requirement between 24 and 100 hours may be imposed on first offenders.

First time DWI arrest

First time offenders can be required to participate in alcohol and/or drug screening as well as counseling. Also a DWI education course may be required within 180 days of a conviction. The court may require consistent employment and a stable residency during the period of supervision.

Second time DWI arrest

DWI offenders arrested for the second time, or for a first time offender who tests a BAC of 0.15, are charged under a second class misdemeanor. For this category of DWI offense, the laws in Texas require the installation of a lung air device on the vehicle as a condition for bail. This device requires a breath sample that registers no alcohol in order to drive the vehicle. Penalties are:

  • A maximum fine $4,000.
  • Up to one year in jail.
  • Between 80 and 200 hours of community service.
  • License suspension for at least 180 days and up to 2 years.

Third time DWI arrest

A DWI third offense is a third degree felony with penalties as follows:

  • A fine of up to $10,000.
  • Confinement in jail of at least 2 years and up to 10 years.
  • Installation of Deep Lung Air Device on vehicle.
  • A minimum of at least 160 hours and up to 600 hours of community service.
  • Suspension of driver’s license for at least 180 days and up to 2 years.
  •  Required program of drug/alcohol treatment

If arrested in Fort Bend County, you should contact a law firm in the district and discuss your legal rights. Consult with the law firm about how to prove your innocence and preserve your reputation in the Fort Bend area, and beyond. If the prosecutor’s case warrants, discuss with your attorney a plea bargain or minimum sentence negotiation.

It is of the utmost importance to get experienced legal counseling from a law firm that will fight to protect your rights and produce the best possible outcome for your case.  Contact Lee D. Cox.