Dallas DWI Defense Attorneys

Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter Can Help with Drunk Driving Charges

If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated in the Dallas area, you may be feeling uncertain about your future. Retaining the legal advice of one of our Dallas criminal lawyers could be critical to any possible reduction or elimination of the charges brought against you. Call (214) 845-7007 to set up your consultation today.

Under Texas state law, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious criminal offense. The consequences of a DWI conviction can be life-altering, often resulting in license suspension, substantial fines, probation, or even prison time. At Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, our driving while intoxicated lawyers in Dallas understand how allegations against you are likely to be prosecuted and, therefore, how to best defend against them.

Mark T. Lassiter is one of the most respected and widely-recognized Dallas DWI defense lawyers in the state, and he knows what it takes to mount a strong and effective defense against the charges you are facing.

Types of DWI and Alcohol Charges We Can Handle

Texas statute § 49.04 defines “driving while intoxicated” as operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. The term “intoxicated” means:

  • Having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher; or
  • The presence of alcohol, a drug, a dangerous drug, a controlled substance, any other substance, or a combination of at least two substances preventing a person from having the normal use of physical or mental faculties.

Law enforcement might request a breath test or blood draw to determine if you have alcohol in your system. You have the right to refuse if you haven’t been arrested yet. However, it’s implied that you have given consent once you’re arrested for operating your motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated under the Texas implied consent law.If you refuse to submit to a chemical test after your arrest, you could lose your license for up to 180 days. The Texas Department of Transportation could suspend your license for up to two years if you have at least one alcohol-related enforcement contact within the last ten years.

There is a wide range of alcohol-related charges that individuals can face, all of which carry potentially devastating consequences if they are convicted. Make sure you have the representation necessary to protect yourself and your future when facing the following alcohol offenses:

  • Driving while Intoxicated (DWI) – Being intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
  • Driving while intoxicated with a child passenger – Operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated and with a passenger under 15 years old.
  • Driving under the Influence (DUI) – DUI is a term some people will use interchangeably with DWI when referring to a person driving with alcohol or drugs in their system. However, the main difference between the two is DUI refers to alcohol-related offenses committed by minors.
  • Boating while Intoxicated (BWI) – A person is intoxicated while operating a watercraft. A watercraft is an aquaplane, vessel, one or more water skis, or another device to carry or transport people on the water.
  • Intoxication Assault – Causing serious bodily injury to another person while intoxicated and operating a watercraft, aircraft, or amusement ride, or serious bodily injury results from assembling a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated.
  • Intoxication Manslaughter – Operating a motor vehicle, amusement ride, or watercraft while intoxicated or assembling a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated, causing another person’s death.

Whether it is for a first or repeat offense, if you have been arrested and charged with an alcohol-related crime, you need an experienced Dallas DWI lawyer in your corner fighting for you.

We serve the entire Dallas area

Driving While Intoxicated Penalties in Dallas

A driving while intoxicated conviction in Dallas can carry with it a frightening array of consequences. If you are found guilty of driving while intoxicated, a judge may sentence you to one or more of the following, depending on various aspects of your case:

Alcohol-related offenses fall under two main levels of charges: misdemeanor or felony. Varying classifications exist, depending on the circumstances of the crime, each with its own minimum and maximum sentencing guidelines.

  • Fines of up to $2,000 for first-time offenders and up to $10,000 for repeat offenders
  • Jail time of up to 180 days for first-time convictions and up to 10 years for repeat convictions
  • License suspension of up to one year for first-time DWI offenders and up to two years for repeat offenders
  • Annual fees to retain your driver’s license ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 every year for three years
OffenseClassificationSentence
DWIClass B misdemeanor3 to 180 days in jail
DWI with Child PassengerState Jail Felony180 days to 2 years in state jail
Boating while intoxicatedClass B misdemeanor3 to 180 days in jail
Intoxication AssaultThird-degree felony2 to 10 years in state prison
Intoxication ManslaughterSecond-degree felony2 to 20 years in state prison

Texas follows strict zero-tolerance laws when sentencing minors convicted of alcohol-related crimes. The penalties for DWI by a minor 17 to 21 years old are:

First offense – Class B misdemeanor

  • 72 hours to 180 days in jail
  • Up to a $2,000 fine

Second offense – Class A misdemeanor

  • 30 days to one year in jail
  • Up to a $4,000 fine

Third offense – Third-degree felony

  • Two to ten years in prison
  • Up to a $10,000 fine

DUI by a minor under 17 years old come with the following penalties:

First offense – Class C misdemeanor

  • 20 to 40 hours of community service
  • Maximum of $500 fine
  • Completion of an Alcohol Awareness Course

Second offense – Class C misdemeanor

  • 40 to 60 hours of community service
  • Maximum of $500 fine
  • Completion of an Alcohol Awareness Course

You could face an enhanced penalty under Texas statute § 49.09 if you have a prior conviction of DWI or another alcohol-related crime or extenuating circumstances exist.

BWI or DWI – Class A misdemeanor if you have one previous conviction of driving while intoxicated, boating while intoxicated, assembling or operating an amusement ride while intoxicated, or operating an aircraft while intoxicated. Mandatory sentencing is 30 days to one year in jail.

DWI, DWI with a child passenger, and BWI – Third-degree felony if:

  • You have one prior intoxication manslaughter conviction; or
  • Two previous convictions for offenses related to operating an aircraft while intoxicated, boating while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.

Intoxication assault – Enhanced penalties of:

  • Second-degree felony if you caused an emergency medical services worker or firefighter serious bodily injury while they were performing their official duties;
  • Second-degree felony if you caused traumatic brain injury to someone resulting in a persistent vegetative state;
  • First-degree felony if you caused serious bodily injury to a judge or peace officer while they performed their official duties. Mandatory sentence of 5 to 99 years or life in prison.

Intoxication manslaughter – First-degree felony if you caused the death of a:

  • Firefighter;
  • Emergency medical services worker;
  • Member of a volunteer firefighting unit that conducts at least two-hour long drills at least twice a month or performs services without pay; or
  • An employee of the state or a political or legal subdivision certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.

Moreover, driving while intoxicated conviction may have serious personal and professional consequences, some of which may be exceedingly difficult to overcome. Contacting a driving while intoxicated attorney as early on as possible is essential to the success of your defense.

Consequences of a DWI Conviction

Other issues that may result after being convicted of a DWI charge range from civil proceedings in family-related matters (if you are a parent) to detrimental effects on your personal and professional reputation.

If you have children, Child Protective Services (CPS) may investigate you and start an inquiry regarding your drinking habits, especially if you are already in the middle of a divorce or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. Calling a DWI attorney to assist you with your defense is key to preventing a conviction, thus decreasing the possibility of these additional civil-case issues.

Many employers take DWI charges seriously and will no longer employ someone convicted of the offense. Not only could you lose your job, but you could also have trouble finding another job. Companies often complete thorough background checks, including looking for criminal history. If they see your arrest and subsequent imprisonment, they might decide not to hire you.

Furthermore, if you have personal and professional goals, a DWI conviction can lead to the delay or derailing of these ambitions. For instance, if you seek a professional license in a particular field (such as law or medicine), you may find it difficult to obtain the license and end up facing a more unstable and uncertain future than the one you planned for yourself.

You could also struggle to find a place to live. Property management companies and landlords typically run background checks too. Discovering you have a criminal record could result in a denial of your application. They might not want a convicted felon living in their building, potentially causing problems for other tenants.

If you want to keep all of your personal and professional opportunities open and available to you, call (214) 845-7007 today to speak with an attorney from Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter about your case.

Are you in need of a defense attorney for your DWI case?

Protecting Your License After a DWI Arrest

When a person is arrested for an alcohol-related driving offense in Texas, they frequently risk losing their license. Unfortunately, being unable to drive legally can have devastating effects on your life, including making it difficult, if not impossible, to get to and from work.

The mandatory administrative penalties for DWI are:

  • First offense– License suspension between 90 days and one year.
  • Second offense – 180 days to two-year license suspension.
  • Third offense – Suspended license for 180 days to two years.

The suspension period could increase if specific circumstances existed at the time of the alcohol-related offense:

  • There was an open container in the vehicle.
  • Your blood alcohol concentration was over 0.08%.
  • Your passenger was 14 years old or younger.
  • You caused an injury, death, or a car accident.

Minors between 17 and 21 years of age can face license suspension depending on whether it’s their first, second, or third DWI offense:

  • First offense – Up to one year
  • Second offense – 180 days to 18 months
  • Third or subsequent offense – 180 days to two years

Minors under 17 convicted of DUI also face license suspension depending on how many prior offenses they have:

  • First offense – 60 to 180 days
  • Second offense – 120 days to two years

Fortunately, there are ways you can protect your license or retain the right to drive legally, including:

  • Driver’s License Hearings
  • Administrative License Revocation (ALR)
  • Occupational Driver’s Licenses

While there are things you could do to protect your license, you only have a limited amount of time to take action, making it critical to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. The police officer will issue a Notice of Suspension upon your arrest, informing you of your rights and granting you temporary driving privileges. You will only have 15 days from the date of that Notice to request an ALR hearing. If you don’t request a hearing after 15 days, your license suspension will automatically begin 40 days after the date on the Notice of Suspension.

What Is An Administrative License Revocation Hearing?

An ALR hearing is for individuals arrested for driving while intoxicated who failed their chemical test or refused to take one and want the chance to fight for their driving privileges. During the hearing, the State must prove that you should lose your license for a specified period based on the circumstances of the offense. The prosecutor might ask the arresting officer to sign an affidavit recalling the details of your arrest. However, it might be useful to your case to issue a subpoena for the officer to testify at the hearing. That way, we can question them and might obtain additional information or prove that they violated your rights somehow.

The State will attempt to prove its case in one of two ways:

  • Your BAC was at 0.08% or higher. They must show that the officer had reasonable cause to pull you over and administer a breath or blood test.
  • You refused to take a blood or breath test after the officer stopped your vehicle for reasonable suspicions that you were driving while intoxicated and read you the Implied Consent form.

If you lose the ALR hearing, suspension of your license will automatically occur after 31 days. However, you are allowed to file an appeal as long as you do so within 30 days from the decision date.

Defenses Commonly Used Against DWI Charges

Every client’s case is unique and comes with a different set of circumstances. The defense strategy we use for you will depend on the type of offense you committed and whether extenuating factors exist, such as causing serious bodily injury or death.

The most common DWI defense strategies are:

  • The officer provided false or unsubstantiated testimony.
  • Law enforcement violated your rights, such as performing an unlawful search of your vehicle.
  • An officer forcefully took a blood sample after you refused to submit to the blood test.
  • Improper calibration of breath test led to inadmissible results.
  • The arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle.
  • File a Motion to Suppress Evidence Obtained Illegally so the prosecution can’t present it at trial.
  • Enter a plea agreement for a reduced charge or more lenient sentence.
  • Question the validity of the Police Report and the officer’s recollection of what happened.

Your Dallas DWI defense attorney from Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine the right strategy that accomplishes your legal goals. We want to ensure a favorable outcome and will work hard to secure your freedom and future. You can depend on us to remain by your side as we fight the charges you’re facing and seek dropped charges or a total dismissal of the case.

How Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter Can Help

While you may be tempted to handle a DWI case on your own, this area of law (and this type of charge) can get complicated very quickly. Understanding your rights, what the law requires, what the judge has discretion in ordering as a punishment, and the difference between a good offer and a bad offer from the prosecutor are all aspects of a DWI defense strategy that only a trained and experienced attorney can offer. Only a DWI attorney who knows these nuances will be able to protect your interests adequately.

Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter can help you strategize for the best defense in your case or negotiate the best offer that applies to your situation. Take the following examples into consideration and see for yourself how having a DWI attorney is in your best interest:

  • Plea Bargaining Assistance: Many prosecutors will offer a charge called “Obstruction of Highway” if they feel that a DWI case is not strong enough to stand on its own and result in a DWI conviction. When they have these doubts, they will offer those charged with DWI the option of pleading guilty to the less severe crime of obstruction of a highway. But why should you accept a plea bargain for this crime if the prosecutor thinks there may be issues with the case at hand? This is when our office can step in to negotiate on your behalf and help you avoid convictions for any charges, DWI. or otherwise.
  • Arrest Analysis: There are often deficiencies or problems with an arrest that can make it possible to mount a successful defense against a DWI charge. Arrest analysis includes putting into question the field tests performed upon being pulled over by a police officer, probing into the maintenance and calibration of breathalyzer equipment at the police station, and presenting alternative theories for why a police officer may have observed common symptoms of intoxication where no intoxication existed. Hacking these arguments on your own can prove to be overwhelming and difficult. Contacting an attorney who makes this their job and knows what a “good arrest” versus a “bad arrest” looks like is the best way to help you successfully defend against DWI charges by questioning the nature of the arrest.
  • Interlock Device Installation Prevention: Many people are unaware that if you have been convicted of DWI two or more times in the past five years, a judge can order the installation of an interlock device on your car’s ignition switch. The device detects, through breath, whether or not you are legally intoxicated and prevents you from starting your vehicle. Putting up the best defense is always important, but it becomes even more critical if you are a repeat offender. Trying to defend against such a charge yourself, whether it is your first DWI or your third, is taking the risk that you will be convicted again and have this punishment ordered, in addition to the penalties applicable to your repeat offender status.
  • Avoiding Child Endangerment Escalation: If you were caught driving while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 15, charges of child endangerment could be added to your case. If this happens, you may face higher fines of up to $10,000, lose your license for 180 days, and serve jail time of up to two years. Finding yourself in this situation can get very complicated, and you will need an experienced attorney to navigate the murky waters to avoid any further escalation, if possible. Contacting Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter to handle your case can help mitigate the sentencing and charges applicable to your situation.

These are just some ways a driving while intoxicated case can be addressed, attacked, and handled. Knowing what to expect in this area of law when you are not an attorney is a challenging undertaking, and any attempt to mount a defense on your own may lead to conviction and more severe penalties. Contact Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter at (214) 845-7007 as soon as you are charged with driving while intoxicated to ensure that you have an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer in your corner to protect your rights.

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5 Tips for DWI Defense in Texas

If you’ve made the mistake of having one too many drinks before getting behind the wheel, there is a likelihood of getting charged with a DWI. An officer may have you do a field sobriety test or blow into a breathalyzer to test your blood alcohol content (BAC) if they pull you over. You may go to jail and have a DWI on your record if you exhibit clear signs of intoxication or your BAC is above the legal limit.

While a DWI is definitely not an ideal situation, there are options at hand to help you. When you use the right strategies post-DUI, you can minimize the negative impacts of this situation on your future. Here are 5 tips to mitigate the effects of your recent DWI in Texas:

When pulled over, don’t be your own worst enemy.

The evidence is about to pile up against you the moment you’re pulled over after drinking unless you consciously decide not to work against yourself. The officer will ask you questions and may ask you to perform some field sobriety tests, like walking the line, but remember that you always have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Be cooperative, but don’t give the officer any evidence that they can use against you later.

Hire a good DWI attorney.

This may go without saying, but your first step in minimizing the negative impacts of your recent DUI is hiring a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to back your case. Do your research to find a DUI defense attorney in Texas that has a track record of good results and will help defend your rights. Once you’re arrested, it’s your constitutional right to speak to an attorney (legally known as the Right to Counsel). If this right is denied, the entire case will be thrown away.

Gather all your evidence.

A strong defense will have sufficient evidence, so make sure to gather all the evidence that will support your case as soon as you can. Things like the police tape and blood testing procedure can impact the final charges, whether for or against you. Make sure your attorney is well-versed in the use of evidence in a defense case and has a history of success in these types of cases.

Present a quick plea.

Often, if you read your plea case out quickly and concisely, it can help avoid more serious charges. It’s often more beneficial to plead guilty and accept lesser charges than to fight against all charges, leading to more serious repercussions if ultimately charged guilty.

Make sure you hire ONE attorney!

Be aware that some law firms or offices will assign multiple attorneys to your case. You might be talking to a different attorney each time you go into the office and have someone new representing you in court. You may even be working with a green attorney who has never worked on a DUI case before. Make sure that the attorney you start with is experienced with these kinds of cases and is the same one who will be standing up with you in court. You might pay more, but it will ultimately be worth it to reduce your charges.

Remember that you always have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Be cooperative, but don’t give the officer any evidence that they can use against you later.

Contact a Dallas Driving While Intoxicated Defense Lawyer Today

While the law outlines DWI charges in black and white terms, they are not as clear-cut when it comes to strategizing defenses. With all the variables the charge presents, the various ramifications one can incur, and the fact every person’s case is unique, you should contact an attorney to assess your situation and defend you and your interests.

At Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, our Dallas DWI defense attorney understands the impact a DWI conviction can have on an individual and their family. However, you do not have to face these potential consequences alone. Call (214) 845-7007 today for a FREE consultation to speak with one of our driving while intoxicated attorneys to begin building your case.