What Happens When You Plead Guilty to Driving While Intoxicated in Texas?
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, or DWI, in Texas, you are probably wondering what you should do. If you took the Breathalyzer test and blew over the legal limit of .08, should you go ahead and plead guilty? Or should you risk going to trial?
Whether you plead guilty or are convicted of driving while intoxicated by a judge and jury, the penalties are the same.
If this is your first offense, you may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $2,000, and you may spend between 3 and 180 days in jail. You could also face a $1,000 to 2,000 charge every year for three years to maintain your driver’s license. You must also complete an alcohol education course. If your blood alcohol concentration is over a .15 on your first DWI, the range of punishment increases to up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Your license may be suspended for up to two years in either case.
For a second offense, your fine may increase up to $4,000, and you could spend between a month and a year in jail. Your license may be suspended for up to two years, and, just as with a first offense, you may have to pay $1,500 to $2,000 per year for three years to maintain your license. Again, you must complete an alcohol education course.
If this is your third offense, you face up to a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence of between 2 and 10 years. Again, your license may be suspended for a period of up to two years, and you may be required to pay a $1,500 to $2,000 per year surcharge for three years to maintain your license. Alcohol education courses are required as well as a minimum 10 days in jail.
In addition to the above, you may also be required to use an ignition interlock device on your vehicle even on a first DWI.
These are serious penalties that have long-lasting impacts on your personal and professional life. If you plead guilty to DWI, you may face any of the penalties described above. In addition, your charges will become part of your criminal record.
If you have been charged with DWI, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who is able to explain the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Understanding your case allows you to make an informed decision as to whether or not you should plead guilty. In many cases, it is not in your best interest to plead guilty. For example, did the police officer have reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place? If not, your charges may be dismissed. An officer cannot pull you over simply because he wants to. Similarly, Breathalyzer tests do malfunction from time to time, and you may have a valid excuse for failing a field sobriety test, such as a physical limitation. If you plead guilty to your charges without consulting an experienced attorney, you may forfeit any defenses you would have been able to raise in court to fight your charges.
If you have been charged with DWI, do not delay—contact a skilled Denton DWI attorney today
Denton DWI lawyer Brent D. Bowen has represented hundreds of clients throughout the Denton, Texas area. With his experience and legal savvy, many clients have had DWI charges reduced or dismissed. To schedule your free consultation with attorney Bowen, call 940-222-2488 or contact us online.