Texas law states that the legal limit for intoxication is .08 BAC (breath or blood alcohol concentration). If a police officer suspects that you are driving while intoxicated, chances are they will place you under arrest for drunk driving. This may occur regardless of your actual BAC reading.
DWI is taken very, very seriously by local law enforcement. Anyone that faces drunk driving charges faces serious consequences in the event of a conviction. Moreover, drunk driving cases in Texas have a process that moves quickly by design. This is no different in Houston area courts. In fact, the Harris County District Attorney’s office is among the most aggressive in prosecuting drunk driving cases.
Even though the law puts you at a serious disadvantage, you still have rights. Do not hire an attorney or a public defender that will only have you plead guilty. If you are facing drunk driving charges in the Houston area, contact the Monks Law Firm immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between DUI and DWI?
DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is only charged to minors (under the age of 21). Law enforcement can charge minors with DUI if there’s any alcohol present in their system (but under the legal limit of 0.08). This is charged under the Texas Traffic Code. Penalties include a fine for up to $500, community service, mandatory alcohol awareness classes, and a 60 day license suspension.
DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) is a much more serious offense and is charged under the Texas Penal Code. Penalties include not only fines and a license suspension, but possible jail time.
The strategies for both are completely different. However, the Monks Law Firm has successfully defended clients that have faced these charges.
I’ve been charged with a DWI. What kind of penalties am I facing?
The penalties that you face depend on if you have any previous convictions for DWI. Those that are convicted for DWI the first time face at $2,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. In addition, your driver’s license could be suspended up for a year. Also, you may have to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 a year for the following three years just to keep it.
The above punishment doubles across the board when you’re facing a second DWI conviction. Subsequent convictions can lead to further penalties, including up to 10 years in state prison. That’s why it is important that you have an experienced drunk driving lawyer on your side to fight for your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case.
What is the driver’s license suspension process?
Driver license suspensions begin with civil administration process called Administrative License Revocation or ALR. This process is separate from the proceedings of your criminal DWI case.
This process begins at the time of the traffic stop. If a law enforcement officer has reason to suspect that you are driving impaired, the officer may have you take a field sobriety test. If you fail the sobriety test, the officer will place you under arrest. At that time, you will be given notice that your driver’s license will be suspended. The officer will take your license and issue you a temporary driving permit.
After you receive your notice during the traffic stop, you have 15 days to request an ALR hearing. If you fail to request this hearing within 15 days of your arrest, the suspension goes into effect 40 days after your arrest.
My driver’s license is suspended…but I still have to work! What do I do?
If your driver’s license does go into suspension, we can still help you get back on the road so that you can go to work, school, or perform household duties. We can assist in securing you an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL). This is a restricted license that is available to those that have had their license suspended due to certain offenses.
The Monks Law Firm will advise you on the Occupational Driver’s License process as well as requirements. Regardless, we will do everything we can to prevent your license from being suspended or to help you secure an ODL.
Does Texas have a surcharge program?
Yes. Texas Surcharge Program is assessed in two ways—through a point system or fees based upon convictions.
The points for Texas drivers are assessed in the event of a traffic conviction for traffic offenses, either in-state or out-of-state. The number of points is determined by whether or not the offense resulted in a crash. Two (2) points are levied in a non-crash conviction. Three (3) points are given when the conviction is the result of a traffic offense that led to a crash. Surcharges are levied after six (6) points. There is a $100 surcharge for the first 6 points on your driving record; it is $25 per additional point. These surcharges must be paid every year you maintain 6 or more points on your driving record. If you complete defensive driving, there will be no points added to your record.
Drivers with a DWI (first-time or subsequent), DWI with a BAC level twice the legal limit, as well as driving with an invalid license, no license, or no insurance convictions will pay an annual surcharge for three years after a conviction. These surcharges can range anywhere from $100 for no license to $2,000 for DWI with a BAC level twice the legal limit.
Let Monks Law Firm fight for your rights
A drunk driving charge is a serious situation that can lead to lasting damage to your livelihood. This requires an attorney that has the experience of securing positive outcomes for their client’s cases. Do not call someone that is simply going to tell you to plead gulity. Hire someone that will fight for your rights. Contact the Monks Law Firm today.