Denton County TX DWI Lawyer
Skilled Denton DWI Attorneys Protecting the Rights of the Accused
Drunk driving is a serious problem in Texas. For that reason, state law imposes significant penalties on anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI). If you have been charged with DWI in Denton County, even as a first-time offender, you need to take the matter seriously and contact Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, as soon as possible.
Having an experienced DWI defense attorney at your side is invaluable, especially if you have never been arrested before and do not understand Texas drunk driving laws. You may think that a first-time offense is no big deal and at worst, you will have to pay a small fine. In fact, a first-time DWI is classified as a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and jail of 72 hours up to 180 days in jail. Your driver’s license can also be suspended for up to 1 year.
What Is Considered Drunk Driving in Texas?
You may already know that a person is guilty of DWI if his or her blood-alcohol content is measured at 0.08 percent or greater. For the average person weighing 160 pounds, this works out to about 3 to 4 drinks over a short period of time. But every person metabolizes alcohol at different rates, so it is possible to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent after just 1 or 2 drinks. However the key thing to remember is your alcohol concentration “at the time of driving.”
More importantly, the 0.08 percent threshold is just one way that a Denton County prosecutor can prove you are guilty of DWI. Actually, you can be legally intoxicated even if you never had a single drink. Intoxication under Texas law refers to “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties” due to the use of alcohol or any other drug or substance. This includes both illegal narcotics like marijuana or even prescription drugs in your lawful possession. For example, if a police officer observes you driving erratically because you had prescription sleeping pills in your system, that is enough to charge you with a DWI.
What Are the Penalties for Multiple DWI Convictions?
As noted above, a first-time DWI is normally charged as a Class B misdemeanor. A second offense is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor. This carries a possible jail term of 1 year, a maximum fine of $4,000, and a 2-year suspension of your driver’s license.
A third DWI conviction is a third-degree felony. This carries a minimum prison term of 2 years–with a sentence of up to 10 years depending on the circumstances. After the third conviction, a subsequent DWI is charged as a second-degree felony, where you could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
What Do I Do If I’m Charged With a DWI?
If a police officer pulls you offer on suspicion of DWI, it is important to remain calm and understand your rights. The officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test, such as having you stand on one leg to assess your balance. You do not have to consent to such tests, and there is no legal penalty if you refuse. However, the officer will likely arrest you and use your refusal to do the tests against you.
The officer is also likely to seek a blood or breath test to determine your actual blood-alcohol concentration. Under Texas law, you can refuse these tests as well, but your driver’s license can be suspended as a result. However, the officer cannot force you to take a blood or breath test without your consent or a warrant signed by a Texas judge. The key to remember is that you only have 15 days to request a hearing on your driver’s license.
Also remember, in any DWI case you have a constitutional right to speak with a Denton County criminal defense attorney. If you have been arrested or charged with DWI and need immediate assistance, call Brent D. Bowen, Attorney at Law, today at (940) 222-2488.