Texas law is more unforgiving to those accused a misdemeanor DWI than felony offenses, but that doesn’t mean the accusation shouldn’t be taken seriously. If convicted of a misdemeanor DWI it could stay on your for the remainder of your life and impact your ability to get a job.
If you were recently arrested for a misdemeanor DWI conviction, you should contact an attorney who can review evidence and advise you on the best course of action.
Criminal Defense Attorney for Misdemeanor DWI in Harris County, TX
If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor DWI, you probably have many questions that Brain Benken can answer. Brain Benken is a trusted attorney with nearly 30 years as a criminal defense attorney who will do everything in his power to win your case or have it thrown out.
The Benken Law Firm represent clients throughout all Harris County and surrounding county communities such as Houston, Greater East End, Gulfgate, Greenway, Memorial Park, Montrose and many others. If you would like to schedule a time to consult with Brian Benken about your case, call (713) 223 - 4051 today.
There were nearly 2,000 DWI related accidents in Houston last year. To make sure the Texas roadways stay safe, the state has strict laws when it comes to driving while intoxicated.
Laws regarding DWI and related offense are listed under chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code. One of the first things the chapter defines is what the state considers intoxicated. According to section 49.01 (2), Texas law defines intoxicated as:
- Not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties because of alcohol, a controlled substance, other drug or a combination of two or more.
You are also considered intoxicated if you have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
A fun night out can quickly turn sour when you’re pulled over for driving under the influence. Being arrested is a serious matter, but thankfully, Texas law is forgiving to those accused of driving under the influence for the first time.
To be convicted of DWI you must be caught operating a motor vehicle on a public road while under the influence. For a first time conviction, you could be charged with a class B misdemeanor with a minimum of 72 hours behind bars.
While the court is required to impose a minimum sentence of 72 hours in jail, they are allowed to sentence you to up to 180 days, a fine that can cost up to $2,000, or a combination of both.
When you’re arrested, a police officer will confiscate your driver’s license. When you’re driver’s license is confiscated you have 15 days to give notice that you wish to have a hearing before your license is suspended. Failing to do so will result in an automatic license suspension.
The more you’re convicted of driving while intoxicated, the less forgiving the Texas courts will be. Under section 49.09 of the Texas Penal Code, when you are convicted of a second DWI you could face a class A misdemeanor that entails the court to impose penalties that can include:
- A minimum of 30 days in jail but no more than one year
- Up to two years of probation or community supervision and a fine that can cost up to $4,000
- The installation of an interlock device that will require a breathalyzer test before the car starts
- A minimum of six months but up to two years of a driver’s license suspension.
There are aggravated factors that can enhance the penalties and charges for both a first and second DWI conviction. These factors can consist of property damage, high BAC and open alcohol containers in the vehicle.
Texas doesn’t have a specific law for DWI with property damage. So instead, you could be charged with both a DWI and reckless damage or destruction. Reckless damage or destruction is defined as recklessly damaging or destroying property without the consent of the owner.
If it’s found that your DWI resulted in property damage, you could face an additional charge that includes a class C misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. It’s also worth noting that the court typically orders restitution for damaged property in addition to fines.
It’s legal in Texas to have alcoholic beverages in a vehicle if they remain closed. For the beverage to meet the legal definition of open container, the bottle, can or other receptacle with the alcoholic beverage must be open, had been opened, has a broken seal or the contents are partially removed.
It doesn’t matter if your car is stopped, parked or operating, if a police officer finds you in a vehicle with open alcoholic beverages, you could face a class C misdemeanor that entails a $500 fine.
In the event your DWI case shows that open containers were present during your arrest, you will be required to spend a minimum of six days in jail as opposed to 72 hours.
Additional Resources for Misdemeanor DWI in Harris County, TX
Intoxication and Alcoholic Beverage Offenses | Texas Penal Code– Follow this link to read the precise legal definition of terms like driving under the influence, intoxicated and DWI related crimes in chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code. You can also view the penalties for each crime and possible aggravated factors. The chapter can be read on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
Punishments | Texas Penal Code– Follow this link to the Texas Constitution and Statutes website to learn more about how crimes are punished in the state. You can view a full list of misdemeanor and felony punishments as well as punishments for habitual misdemeanor offenders.
Defense Lawyer for Misdemeanor DWI in Houston, TX
Brian Benken holds over 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer, and he knows what it takes to win a case or have it dismissed. His investigative experience also gives him an advantage in developing the facts of your case.
Take the first step in building your defense. Contact The Benken Law Firm today at (713) 223 - 4051 to schedule a free case consultation.
The Benken Law Firm defends clients of misdemeanor DWI in all communities across Harris County and surrounding counties such as River Oaks, Hunters Creek Village, The Heights, West University Place and many others.