Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Mario Madrid is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Criminal Law and a proud member of the National College of DUI Defense Attorneys. Contact him at 713-877-9400 to get a case analysis and discuss the specifics of your situation.
Houston DWI Lawyer Mario Madrid discusses DWI defense and strategy.
First Offense DWI in Houston
In Houston, Driving While Intoxicated, or DWI, is governed by the Texas Penal Code. You can be convicted of DWI if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) equaled or exceeded 0.08%. Texas criminal law can impose a variety of penalties on a driver convicted of DWI, including:
- Jail time
- Driver’s license suspension
- Fines and surcharges
- Community service of 24-100 hours
- 12 hours of Texas DWI Education Program
- Required installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your car
Texas DWI law imposes jail time of 3 to 180 days in jail for a first offense DWI. The judge has the power to probate a sentence (meaning you won’t have to go to jail), normally in exchange for a court order to perform community service instead. Whether or not you have to actually do jail time, or how long you spend in jail if you do have to go, depends on the circumstances of your case (your BAC level, for example), and the skill of your DWI defense lawyer.
Driver’s License Suspension
When a driver is stopped on suspicion of DWI, he is given a field sobriety test – typically a breathalyzer test, but perhaps a blood test if drug use is suspected.
If you refused the test, you can lose your license for 180 days, even if you are never convicted of DWI. If you accept the test and fail it, your license can be suspended for 90 days.
Since suspension of your driver’s license is considered an administrative penalty, not a criminal penalty, you have only 15 days to file a formal request for an Administrative License Revocation Hearing. You are entitled to be represented by an attorney and call witnesses at the hearing. Even if your driving privileges are suspended, with the help of a good lawyer it is possible to obtain a hardship license that will, for example, allow you to drive to and from work.
Driver’s license suspension can make life very difficult. Whether you are a parent, college student or single young professional, you likely need a vehicle to get from Point A to Point B. This might be work, daycare, school or the grocery store. Most people do not recognize how important a vehicle is until they do not have access to one. Rather than having to spend hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars on Uber rides all over Houston. We are confident we can provide the proper legal representation to make your adult life much easier.
The financial consequences of a DWI conviction/license revocation can be mild or severe, depending on your financial condition. For a first offense DWI, Houston courts can impose a fine of up to $2,000. In addition, the Texas Department of Public Safety can impose a “surcharge” that obligates you to pay $1,000 per year for three consecutive years just to keep your driver’s license. If your BAC was 0.16% or more, this surcharge increases to $2,000 per year.
Under Texas DWI law, under certain circumstances the barriers to conviction can be lowered or the penalties can be enhanced. These circumstances include:
- You were under 21 at the time of the alleged offense (the legal BAC limit is 0.0% — any detectable amount of alcohol is enough to support a DWI conviction).
- You were driving on a commercial license (the legal BAC limit is lowered to 0.04%).
- A child under 15 was in the car with you at the time of the alleged offense (penalties are enhanced).
- An accident occurred (penalties are enhanced, sometimes drastically).
- You have previously been convicted of DWI anywhere in the U.S., no matter how long ago (penalties are enhanced, sometimes drastically)
All is not lost simply because you have been charged with DWI in Houston. An aggressive and principled DWI defense lawyer might win you an acquittal in a variety of different ways, including proving that the officer had no probably cause to pull you over in the first place (even if you were intoxicated at the time). Call Madrid Law, PLLC at 713-877-9400 for a free initial consultation on your case.
2016 DWI Laws in Texas
As most know, Texas is a very conservative state so we do not expect to see a number of major changes in the DWI laws. That said, if there are any small or incremental changes that could affect your license suspension or jail time, we at the Madrid Law will make certain that we are educated on these updates. We will not leave any stone unturned when it comes to helping our clients.
If you have any questions about 2016 DWI laws in the state of Texas, do not hesitate to call us at any time. We have a legal staff that is more than willing to help you through these difficult times. We will also offer valuable resources that can assist you if you would like to educate yourself on some of the legalities in the state of Texas.
Ignition Interlock Laws Change in 2015
In June 2015 Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law that changed the way ignition interlock in enforced in the state of Texas. The law took effect on September 1st, 2015. It is as follows:
The new law requires the installation of an interlock for first-time offenders with a BAC of .08 or greater if they choose to drive following a DWI arrest during a license suspension. The previous law allowed arrested DWI offenders to obtain a non-interlock restricted license following arrest. The law allows for drivers arrested for DWI to either apply for an interlock 15 days after arrest or choose not to drive. The interlock-restricted license period is at least 90 days for first-time offenders and 180 days for repeat offenders. Courts can also order an interlock upon conviction per current law.
If you have any questions as it relates to Ignition Interlock or DWI in the state of Texas contact Madrid Law today.
July 4th, 2016 DWI Possibilities
One of the most popular outdoor holidays is just around the corner. Millions of Houston residents will be enjoying their fun in the sun on July 4th or Independence Day. There will also be some that are pulled over with the suspicion of drunk driving or driving while under the influence of alcohol. Remember, you have legal rights when it comes to being pulled over under suspicion. Feel free to call the Madrid Law for legal representation if you have been cited with a DWI on July 4th in Houston, Texas or any part of the state of Texas.
DWI Plea Bargain in Texas
We are often asked about a plea bargain as it pertains to a DWI in Houston, Texas. Remember, the first or initial plea bargain offer from the prosecutor is likely not in your best interest but simply a way to move the case off the court docket and lessen the amount of work and costs by the State of Texas. A full evaluation and investigation is strong suggest. Make sure to contact the Madrid Law today so we can determine what is best for your current DWI situation. Do not assume that a plea bargain is your best option because it will be quicker.
DWI Offender Classes and DWI Intervention Program
We are often asked about DWI offender classes and the DWI intervention program in the state of Texas and where the locations are in and around Houston. In early August 2016 we created a number of valuable resources to help you find a class. We also publish content explaining how you can become a teacher or host a program where you are. Here are the articles:
- How Can I Find a Licensed DWI Offender Education Program Teacher?
- How to Become an Approved Provider for the DWI Intervention Program?
- When and Where Can I Sign Up for DWI First Offense Classes in Houston?
- How Much are the DWI Offender Education Workshops in Texas?
If you would like any further information, feel free to contact Madrid Law at any time. You can reach us at 713-877-9400.
Holiday DWI and Alcohol Related Traffic Legal Representation
During holiday weekends, it is not uncommon for Houston, Texas drivers to be accused of driving while intoxicated. With an extra push from law enforcement to keep the roads safe, it is sometimes the case that drivers are wrongfully accused. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, do your best to drive safely but if you are wrongfully accused of DWI contact Madrid Law today.
Halloween 2016 is just around the corner and millions of Houston, Texas residents will be traveling by vehicle to get from Point A to Point B. While most drivers that are with their children will not be around alcohol, there will be some single adults that will enjoy their night consuming adult beverages at a party or downtown at a pub or bar.
If you feel as if you have been wrongfully issued a DWI citation on Halloween or you would like to better understand your legal rights after getting a DWI ticket contact Madrid Law today. We have a great deal of experience helping those that have been arrested during Halloween and other holiday events in which parties and festivities were taking place. Do not fear if you are calling from jail as we can make a jail visit.
A good Texas DWI lawyer can name dozens of potential strategies that can help a defendant beat a DWI. Not all of these defenses are useful in every case, of course — the ones that apply to a given case are based on fact patterns that are peculiar to that case. Following are some of the most common defenses:
- The police officer lacked the legal justification to pull you over in the first place. If you were pulled over arbitrarily, for example, even a breathalyzer test can’t be used against you.
- The police officer lacked the legal justification for administering you a breathalyzer test. He may have incorrectly administered a field sobriety test, for example, to provide him with a false justification for administering a breathalyzer test in order to “confirm” your intoxication.
- You weren’t intoxicated at the time you were pulled over. If you drank heavily immediately before being pulled over but not before that, you could have been relatively sober at the time you were pulled over, but legally drunk by the time you took a breathalyzer test a few minutes later.
- The officer incorrectly administered a sobriety test. If the officer administered a breathalyzer test too soon after you had your last drink, for example, the results could greatly exaggerate your state of intoxication.
- You were arrested at an illegal DWI checkpoint. In Texas, a DWI checkpoint must comply with certain guidelines to be legal — you cannot be forced to take a breathalyzer test, for example, and you cannot be targeted because of your race.
- The breathalyzer machine was improperly calibrated or otherwise malfunctioned. Just as a radar gun can malfunction, so can a breathalyzer machine.
- A chemist failed to properly administer a blood test, or the equipment that the chemist relied on malfunctioned.