What Can a DWI or DUI Lawyer Do for You?

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by | Jul 3, 2023

Being charged with a DWI or DUI can be a frightening experience since a DWI/DUI conviction can result in devastating consequences. A criminal defense attorney can provide you an experienced and aggressive defense when it comes to plea bargains and in the courtroom. It’s always a good idea to speak with an experienced DWI or DUI Lawyer when facing these types of charges.

Is There a Difference Between a DWI and a DUI in Texas?

While many states use the terms DUI and DWI interchangeably, there is a distinction between the two in Texas. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) requires the state of Texas to prove the person was intoxicated, and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) doesn’t require the state of Texas to prove intoxication. Intoxication isn’t only caused by alcohol; it can also be caused by drugs even if the drugs are prescribed/legal.

  • DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) requires intoxication and is gauged by measuring a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC).
    • The state must prove you were intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. A driver is considered intoxicated if:
      1. their BAC is .08 or higher;
      2. they do not have normal use of their mental faculties; or
      3. they do not have normal use of their physical faculties.
    • The driver can refuse a breathalyzer (with consequences) but can also request a blood test administered via hospital.
    • If the driver refuses to breathe into a breathalyzer that measures BAC, they will face a mandatory driver’s license suspension for 180 days if it’s your first time refusing, with stronger penalties if it’s not your first time.
  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence) doesn’t require intoxication and refers to any detectable amount of alcohol or an alcoholic substance.
    • A DUI can only be received in two situations: (1) if you are under the age of 21 or (2) if you are a commercial truck driver.
    • A driver is considered under the influence if they admit they’ve consumed alcohol or if an officer smells alcohol on their breath or finds evidence of alcohol consumption while driving.

Do You Need a Defense Attorney for a First-time DWI or Can You Use a Public Defender?

Even if you don’t have any prior DWI charges or convictions, you can still face jail or prison time. You can also face a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license if convicted of a first-offense DWI or if you refuse to take a blood or breath test.

While a public defender may be provided for you, many public defenders are handling dozens or even hundreds of cases simultaneously. A public defender’s workload can prevent them from giving you and your case the attention and time needed and deserved to obtain the best favorable outcome.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer will have the time needed to carefully review all evidence against you and create a legal defense based on that evidence, so you get the best favorable outcome.

Why Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney for a DWI?

If you’ve been charged with DWI/DUI in Texas, hiring a criminal defense attorney experienced in DWI law will be beneficial.

DWI Lawyers Have Legal Expertise

Skilled DWI lawyers have expansive knowledge of Texas’s laws and legal procedures. They’ll help you understand your charges and the potential consequences and will craft a defense strategy to fight charges.

Experienced DWI/DUI Attorneys Protect Your Rights

Having a defense attorney on your side ensures your constitutional rights will be protected through the entire legal process. They also ensure all evidence collected against you was legally obtained and is admissible in court.

DUI Lawyers Help Navigate the Legal System

Without legal experience, the Texas legal system can be extremely complex and confusing. A DUI lawyer will guide you through each step of the legal process and ensure you understand what can happen at each stage.

Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys Help Reduce DUI Charges and Penalties

A DWI/DUI lawyer will work to have your charges reduced or possibly dismissed. In the case a conviction cannot be avoided, your attorney will negotiate with prosecutors to minimize any penalties and consequences you could face as the result of a conviction.

Dealing with the Consequences of a DWI or DUI

People who are convicted of DWI or plead guilty to a DWI can face a variety of penalties, and some penalties are severe. These penalties include jail sentences of between 3 and 180 days in jail, maximum fines of $2,000, or losing driving privileges for up to one year. In some cases, the court may place people on probation or order them to participate in alcohol education programs.

Even if you are exonerated by a judge or jury after a trial and won’t face any legal consequences, the charge might still show up on your criminal record, and anyone who performs a background check on you (e.g., an employer, a college, a landlord) could see that charge. A criminal defense attorney could work on your behalf to get your criminal record sealed or expunged so your name is protected in the future.

Driver’s License Suspension

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI/DUI, your driver’s license will be suspended as a result. A DWI license suspension will last between 90 days and 1 year for most first-time offenders. However, there are exceptions.

If you refuse a breath or blood test, your driver’s license suspension can be between 180 days and 2 years.

A DWI Can Affect Your Car Insurance

Being convicted of a DWI/DUI in Texas will have a considerable impact on your auto insurance rates. Insurance premiums can increase by hundreds or thousands of dollars per year following a DWI conviction. Insurance companies view drivers convicted of DWIs as high-risk and more likely to receive other traffic violations or be involved in accidents. To offset the increased risk, insurance companies generally raise premiums or cancel your auto insurance policy. If your policy has been canceled, it will be challenging to find affordable coverage in the future.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) SR-22 Form

All drivers in Texas convicted of a DWI/DUI are required to file an SR-22 form with the Texas DPS. The SR-22 form is a certificate of insurance filled out by your insurance company that proves you have the state-required minimum liability coverage. Not all insurance companies offer SR-22 coverage, and this requirement can make it harder to find an affordable car insurance policy.

Working with a DWI or DUI Attorney

The consequences and effects of a drunk driving conviction can have long-lasting implications on your personal and professional life. If you’ve been charged with DWI in Texas, you may benefit from hiring experienced legal counsel who can assist you in building a sound criminal defense. An experienced Texas DWI lawyer understands the ins and outs of any state or local laws and help ensure that your rights are protected. A skilled DWI attorney may also be able to help lessen criminal charges and ensure the police acted in accordance with the law.

At the Jimenez Law Firm, we have your best interests at heart. If you have questions regarding DUI or DWI defense, call us or complete the contact form on this website or call us at 214-513-0125 to speak with our legal team and request a consultation.