With the high stakes involved with any criminal charge, you need an experienced criminal trial attorney by your side. Attorney Shannon Drehner brings her years of experience as a chief felony prosecutor to defend you when you need it most. Don't wait, contact us today.
Houston DWI Lawyer
Aggressive Defense Against DWI Charges in Harris County
A DWI is one of the most common offenses in Texas. Unfortunately, a conviction can lead to extremely harsh penalties, such as a lengthy driver’s license suspension, fines worth hundreds and thousands of dollars, and even jail or prison time. After a drunk driving arrest, you must hire an experienced Houston DWI lawyer to help you avoid conviction.
At Drehner Law, our Houston criminal defense attorney is dedicated to helping our clients get their charges/penalties reduced, dismiss their cases altogether, or obtain a not-guilty verdict. As a former prosecutor, our Houston DWI attorney understands the ins and outs of the Harris County criminal justice system to provide our clients with high-quality and effective legal solutions.
Are you facing a DWI charge in Texas? Call Drehner Law today at (832) 558-7798 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our DWI attorney in Houston!
Texas DWI Laws
In the state of Texas, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a severe offense. The law states that no person may operate a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or while under the influence of drugs or any intoxicant that renders them incapable of safely driving.
A person can also be charged with DWI if they are found to be driving a motor vehicle in public while having “lost the normal use” of their mental-physical faculties due to intoxication; this includes being impaired by either legal or illegal substances such as alcohol, medication and illicit substances like marijuana.
If a police officer suspects you are driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, they can arrest you without needing additional evidence, such as sobriety tests or blood alcohol level results.
If you have been charged with DWI in Texas, you must get legal representation immediately. An experienced Houston DWI lawyer can help protect your rights and provide guidance throughout the process.
What are the Penalties for DWI in Texas?
In Texas, a person convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) faces severe penalties. A first offense can lead to up to 6 months in jail and/or fines of up to $2,000. Additionally, the driver may be subject to an annual fee for three years of up to $2,000 each year to keep their license.
A second DWI offense can result in up to one year in jail and/or fines up to $4,000. Furthermore, the driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days and revoked for one year. Drivers must also install an Ignition Interlock Device on vehicles they operate after their suspension period has ended.
A third DWI offense is a felony, resulting in up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000. The driver's license will also be revoked for two years, and they must install an Ignition Interlock Device on any vehicle they operate after their suspension period has ended.
In addition to these penalties imposed by the courts, drivers convicted of DWI may also face additional costs such as higher insurance premiums, alcohol education classes or programs, or other fees related to the conviction.
Penalties for DWI depend on a number of factors:
- Previous DWIs
- Alcohol concentration of blood/breath above .15
- Driving with a child passenger under the age of 15
- Injuring or causing the death of another individual
- Causing the injury or death of a police officer or firefighter
In addition for cases involving injury or death, the state can enhance the charge by alleging that the vehicle involved is a “deadly weapon.” This punishment enhancement has consequences in terms of the denial of community supervision and parole eligibility.
Field Sobriety Tests in Texas
DWI and Intoxication related cases are technical cases. Some standards govern every step of a DWI investigation. The National Highway and Traffic Administration has specific criteria for conducting field sobriety tests. The officer must first analyze if the suspect shows signs of intoxication. Then the officer must give the suspect instructions regarding the field sobriety test and demonstrate how they're done.
Before a blood sample can be collected, the state must have probable cause to believe the suspect is intoxicated. This probable cause should be properly documented in the search warrant. In addition, some protocols dictate how blood is collected, stored, and analyzed.
The Breathalyzer Test
Breath test cases pose even more problems for the government. Shannon knows that the breath test machine can often times be inaccurate. The breath machine is so unreliable that not a single hospital uses the contraption. Also, some States have held the evidence from a breath machine is so unreliable that they are not admissible in court.
Understanding Blood Tests in a DWI Case
Just because you have an unfavorable blood result, doesn’t mean that result is accurate or admissible in court. Before blood can be taken, the state needs a search warrant that says there is probable cause to believe that the suspect is intoxicated.
There are protocols that dictate how the blood should be collected at the police station/hospital. In addition, there are protocols that dictate how the blood should be stored after it is collected. The actual analysis of the blood is governed by a number of procedures that are followed and documented. While an unfavorable blood result may seem difficult to challenge, there are many situations where you can and should challenge the blood results with the help of a DWI lawyer.
Defenses Against a DWI Charges in Texas
In Texas, a person may attempt to defend against DWI charges by invoking an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense is a legal strategy explaining why the defendant should not be found guilty of the charge. Common affirmative defenses include lack of mental capacity, necessity, entrapment or coercion, and mistake of fact.
Additionally, a defendant may contest the accuracy of chemical test results that indicate intoxication. In Texas, police officers must follow strict protocols when administering breath and other chemical tests. Any deviation from these established procedures could render the results of the tests inadmissible. If chemical test results are thrown out, it can weaken the prosecution’s case and enable the defendant to reach a better resolution.
Finally, an individual charged with DWI may dispute the evidence to establish probable cause for an arrest. In some cases, police officers cannot point to sufficient evidence to prove the defendant was intoxicated. The defendant may argue that any field sobriety tests administered were not valid indicators of intoxication and that there is no other evidence to suggest they were impaired at the time of the arrest.
Can a DWI Be Dismissed in Texas?
In Texas, it is possible to have a DWI dismissed; however, this will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Generally speaking, it may be possible to get a dismissal if there are considerable problems with the evidence in the case or if the prosecutor decides to drop all or some of the charges against you. Additionally, a good criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution for a plea bargain that involves eliminating some or all of the DWI charges. It is important to note that having a DWI charge dismissed does not necessarily mean that the individual is innocent but rather that the prosecution has chosen not to pursue the case. It may also be possible to have a DWI charge expunged from your record. This requires that you meet specific eligibility requirements and provide proof of completed probation or court-mandated rehabilitation services. Expungement can help you avoid future difficulties when applying for jobs, housing, and other essential opportunities.
Houston DWI Statistics
According to the report, Houston had more fatal drunk driving crashes in the last 16 years than other significant locations in the country. This amounts to 3,000 wrecks caused by drivers who were either drunk or high on drugs. Wrecks that resulted in the deaths of drivers, passengers, or both. This number is alarming compared to the 2,000 wrecks reported in Los Angeles, a city two times the population of Houston.
As a result of this staggering statistic, law enforcement agencies across Harris County are proactively working to combat DWI. In addition, it has motivated the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute drunken driving cases aggressively to bring this epidemic under control. This is where a Houston DWI lawyer can help.
Contact Our Houston DWI Attorney Today
At Drehner Law, we understand the seriousness of being charged with a DWI in Texas. We provide compassionate and expert legal advice when you need it most. Our team of experienced DWI lawyers is dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complexities of their specific cases, advocating for their rights, and defending them against any criminal charges. Whether you need a DWI lawyer in Houston to help you fight for your rights or want to learn more about the legal process, our firm is here to help. We understand the gravity of being charged with DWI and will do our best to ensure that you receive fair treatment from start to finish.
Contact Drehner Law today to schedule a FREE consultation with our DWI lawyer in Houston!
Truly one of the hardest and most understanding lawyers that I have ever had.H. N.
She is very professional.A. Charco
My case dropped from a felony to a misdeamnor!M. Hicks