Best DWI Attorney in San Antonio, TX
San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer
Like most states, Texas is tough on drunk driving. Even if you’ve never been charged before, you could face jail time, fines, and community service upon conviction. You could even lose your driver’s license through administrative suspension before your criminal charges go to court.
In many cases, DWI consequences extend beyond a court sentence. A license suspension and increased insurance premiums can put a strain on your family. If you get a DWI, you could lose your CDL and your job as well. Students may lose scholarships or grants if they face the college disciplinary board.
Let Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC protect your rights and fight to reduce or dismiss your DWI charges. To schedule a free consultation with a San Antonio DWI defense lawyer, please call (210) 202-1076.
What Is a DWI in San Antonio, Texas?
Texas Penal Code 49.04 prohibits intoxicated drivers from operating vessels, motor vehicles, or water skis in public while:
- Having a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.08% for adults and 0.04% for those holding commercial driver’s licenses
- Being physically and/or mentally impaired due to consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medication, and other controlled substances
Drivers under 21 who operate vehicles in public places after consuming any alcohol are guilty of DWI. Texas has a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs and alcohol in underage persons, so if you are 18 and have a single drink before getting behind the wheel, law enforcement can charge you with DWI.
DWI First Offense
If you are convicted of your first DWI offense in Texas (a Class B misdemeanor), you may be fined up to $2,000, serve between three and 180 days in jail, and lose your license for up to two years. Depending on the circumstance, an ignition interlock device may be required on your vehicle, as well as attendance in a DWI intervention or education program. Upon regaining your license, you will have to pay a DWI license surcharge of $2,000 per year for three years.
DWI Second Offense
DWI penalties increase significantly after the first offense in Texas. If you are convicted of a second DWI offense, which is a Class A misdemeanor, you may be fined up to $4,000, jailed for up to one year, and lose your license for up to two years. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, attend a DWI program and pay a DWI license surcharge.
DWI Third Offense
In Texas, a third or subsequent offense is a third-degree felony that can result in a $10,000 fine. Moreover, offenders may be sentenced to two to ten years in state prison, have their license suspended for two years, and be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle and attend a DWI program. A DWI license surcharge also applies.
Crimes Related to DWIs
Several crimes involving DWIs involve harm or the threat of harm to others. These include:
- Intoxication assault
- Intoxication manslaughter
- DWI with a child under 15 in the vehicle
Other enhanced offenses include injuring medical personnel, a firefighter, or a peace officer or causing a traumatic brain injury that leaves the victim in a permanent vegetative state. These offenses typically involve much more severe penalties.
Commercial Drivers and DWIs in San Antonio, Texas
Those holding commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) are required to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of less than .04 when operating commercial vehicles. This is significantly lower than the .08 BAC limit for non-commercial drivers.
CDL holders who have operated any type of vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol are also disqualified from driving commercial vehicles for one year. A three-year disqualification can be imposed if the driver operates a commercial vehicle transporting hazardous materials.
Underage Drivers and DWIs in Texas
In a lot of cases, minors under 17 will be charged with DUI instead of DWI. Texas law has a zero-tolerance policy for minors with detectable amounts of alcohol, so you can be charged even if your BAC is under 0.08%. A DUI is classified as a Class C misdemeanor in Texas and carries a maximum fine of $500, along with the suspension of your driver’s license and an order for you and your parent or parents to attend an alcohol awareness course.
What is the Difference Between a DWI and a DUI?
DUIs and DWIs are both criminal offenses that refer to driving while intoxicated In Texas, this crime is legally defined as DWI, although the term ‘DUI’ is commonly used too. When a driver over 21 is legally intoxicated, they can be charged with a DWI. Those under 21 can, however, be charged with a DUI.
Of the two, DWI is a more serious crime because it is charged under the Texas Penal Code while DUI is applied to minors under the Traffic Code. However, DUI applies when there is any amount of alcohol in the system, so the conviction is much easier.
What If I Refused Chemical Testing?
In Texas, anyone who operates a motor vehicle must consent to a chemical test if a law enforcement officer suspects they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is called the implied consent rule, which states that by obtaining a license and operating a motor vehicle, you consent to a chemical test.
Refusing such testing can result in the loss of your license. Licensing suspensions can range from 90 days to two years depending on the severity of the DWI case. However, you won’t lose your license immediately: you have 15 days to request an administrative hearing and dispute a license suspension. After you fail to act within 15 days, an automatic suspension begins 40 days after your refusal. Your DWI defense lawyer can help you request the hearing and represent you during the proceedings.
It is often crucially important to your defense that you contest your administrative license revocation hearing. A good defense attorney will use this opportunity as a sneak-peek into the mind and methods of the arresting officer, the primary witness the State will use to build their criminal case against you. For this reason, locking an officer into sworn testimony when they may not have spent as much time reviewing the arrest and accompanying documentation or before they have rehearsed what they will testify to with the prosecutor in the case can provide invaluable material to impeach forgetful, mistaken, or deceitful officers during the trial of the criminal case.
Why Hire Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC for Your DWI Defense?
We understand that after being arrested for drunk driving, you can be stressed and confused. A DWI charge does not mean that a conviction is automatic. You can rest assured that the attorneys at Hunter, Lane & Jampala PLLC in San Antonio, Texas will diligently represent you to obtain the best possible resolution for your case.
With years of DWI defense experience, we have acquired a thorough understanding of the standardized field sobriety tests and law enforcement protocol that police use to try and deceive unsuspecting motorists into incriminating themselves into an alcohol-related charge. Knowing how these tests are biased against the accused, and in what ways the tests are flawed can prove an effective and comprehensive defense against DWI charges.
To build a strong defense, we will analyze the entirety of your case. It is critical to determine if the police illegally stopped your vehicle, whether the field sobriety tests were correctly performed, and whether the blood or breath specimen collected from you was correctly analyzed. Discovering an error in one or all of these areas could have a significant impact on the outcome of your case, including proving your innocence or leading to the dismissal of charges by the prosecution.
Our goal is to deliver the highest possible quality legal services to each client. We will use our experience and extensive knowledge of criminal procedure and the science and protocol of DWI investigation to provide you with an effective defense.
If You’ve Been Arrested for a DWI, Get a Free Consultation Now!
If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DWI, you need to retain an aggressive and experienced San Antonio DWI criminal defense attorney who knows how the system works and how to build a successful defense for you. To schedule a free consultation, call (210) 202-1076 or contact us online.