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.
Texas statute § 49.04 defines “driving while intoxicated” as operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. The term “intoxicated” means:
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:
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
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.
|DWI||Class B misdemeanor||3 to 180 days in jail|
|DWI with Child Passenger||State Jail Felony||180 days to 2 years in state jail|
|Boating while intoxicated||Class B misdemeanor||3 to 180 days in jail|
|Intoxication Assault||Third-degree felony||2 to 10 years in state prison|
|Intoxication Manslaughter||Second-degree felony||2 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
Second offense – Class A misdemeanor
Third offense – Third-degree felony
DUI by a minor under 17 years old come with the following penalties:
First offense – Class C misdemeanor
Second offense – Class C misdemeanor
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:
Intoxication assault – Enhanced penalties of:
Intoxication manslaughter – First-degree felony if you caused the death of a:
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.
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.
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:
The suspension period could increase if specific circumstances existed at the time of the alcohol-related offense:
Minors between 17 and 21 years of age can face license suspension depending on whether it’s their first, second, or third DWI offense:
Minors under 17 convicted of DUI also face license suspension depending on how many prior offenses they have:
Fortunately, there are ways you can protect your license or retain the right to drive legally, including:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.