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DWI Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many drinks is a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC)?

    Alcohol blood concentration's only rise when you drink alcohol at a faster rate than your body can eliminate it. The human body considers alcohol to be a poisonous substance. Once you ingest alcohol, your body will try to remove it. Your BAC is based on your size, statute, and other factors. An average 150-pound man has a BAC of 0.08 percent after drinking four 12 oz. beers.

  • What should I do if I get stopped for drinking?

    It is important that you are polite and follow instructions, but do not say any more than you need to. Make sure that you provide proof of a valid driver's license, insurance, and registration for your vehicle. It is recommended that you have these ready by the time the police officer approaches your car. The police officer will evaluate you through observation to determine if you are too impaired to drive. If he or she asks if you have been drinking, you will have a choice to admit to drinking or not. If you say yes or you say no and the officer still suspects you are impaired, he or she will usually ask you to exit the car and do a quick assessment of your sobriety. After asking you to submit to field sobriety tests, the officer may ask you to do some chemical testing.

  • How accurate are Field Sobriety Tests?

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) designed the standard field sobriety tests. There are three tests, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. If all three are done in a standardized manner (which is not always the case), the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is 77 percent, the One Leg Stand is 65 percent, and the Walk and Turn is 68 percent accurate. These NHTSA statistics indicate that up to 35 percent of the people tested are inaccurate. This does not even incorporate police officers who do not follow the standardized procedures and individuals who suffer from injury or disability.

  • What factors can affect my performance on a Field Sobriety Test?

    Sober people have difficulties with the field sobriety tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released several factors that affect people during field sobriety tests including:

    • Fatigue
    • Anxiety
    • Inner ear disorders
    • Back problems
    • Leg or knee problems
    • Weather conditions
    • Allergies
    • Weight
    • Lack of coordination
    • Traffic distractions
    • Police car lights
    • Footwear
    • Age
    • Being sick
    • Certain disabilities
    • Road or sidewalk conditions
  • Should I perform a field sobriety test(s)?

    Most criminal defense attorneys will advise you to not perform a field sobriety test. Texas law does not require you to perform field sobriety tests. You should consider your physical, mental, and balance limitations before you say yes to do any of these tests. Some sober individuals cannot even finish these tests, so it can end up hurting you in the future.

  • Should I take a breathalyzer test?

    It is highly recommended by most criminal defense attorneys that you do not take a breath test. Many would consider breathalyzers occasionally flawed and unreliable in measuring impairment and alcohol concentration. Texas State Law indicates that any person who does not submit a blood, urine, or breath sample may lose their license for 180 days or longer. You will possibly be arrested in addition to this. However, it is important to note that most people who refuse to end up with lower court costs, different bail conditions, and a much higher chance of winning their case.

  • I did a breathalyzer test and failed, can I still contest my results?

    If you are working with a practiced criminal defense attorney, yes. Many breathalyzers are inaccurate and are outdated for measuring blood alcohol concentration. In addition to this, there are many factors that can cause abnormal results on a breathalyzer or other chemical tests. For instance, it has been reported that Atkins dieting, dental work, and people who are exposed to chemicals in their day-to-day work, can create a high result in a breathalyzer test.

  • Will I go to jail?

    Normally, a first-time DWI offender will not receive jail time. Unless there is an injury, death, property damage, or the person had a minor present, it is unlikely that an individual will see a holding cell. Most first-time DWI offenders will result in a "probated" confinement sentence, another way to say that you are officially on probation, with specific terms and conditions to live by. However, if you are a repeat offender it is very likely that you will go to jail as a condition of your probation. Understand that a jail sentence can always be negotiated if you have a seasoned criminal defense attorney on your side.

  • What is required in DWI probation?

    If your arrest results in a probation period, then you will be expected to follow certain standards. For instance, you are not allowed to do the following:

    • Miss your required probation meetings
    • Commit another crime
    • Fail to pay legal fees
    • Consume drugs or alcohol
    • Go to bars

    You must also complete the following:

    • Finish a DWI program
    • Perform possible community service
    • Attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving "Victim Impact Panel"
  • How much does it cost for a DWI in Texas?

    DWI charges come at a large cost. If you are convicted, you will be required to pay court costs and fines demanded by the Court. If you are on probation, you will be required to pay a monthly probation fee. Alongside this, you may be required to pay for ordered classes, chemical testing, and if you are a repeat offender an ignition interlock device (IID).The Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) will have you pay a surcharge for three years and file an “SR-22” policy of insurance with the TDPS for two years which is also a cost. Finally, you will be expected to pay any property damage if you caused some on your arrest.These costs do not even incorporate missed work, towing feeds, travel fees, bonds, and high insurance rates following a DWI conviction. All of these costs can range up to $10,000 or more.

  • What is an "SR-22?"

    The SR-22 is a Texas Department Public Safety form used in most types of license suspensions and more so in DWI cases. It basically indicates that you are "high-risk" for insurance companies. If you are in need of an occupational license, you will be required to file an SR-22.

  • What is the typical punishment for a DWI in Texas?

    A first-time DWI is a Class B Misdemeanor. The following are the statutory maximum penalties:

    • Maximum jail time of 180 days
    • A fine up to $2,000
    • License revoked for up to a year.

    A first-time DWI with a BAC of or over .15 percent is a Class A Misdemeanor. The following are the statutory maximum penalties:

    • Maximum jail time of one year
    • A fine up to $4,000
    • License revoked for up to a year.
  • What is the punishment for a second DWI in Texas?

    A second-time DWI is a Class A Misdemeanor. The following are the statutory maximum penalties:

    • Maximum jail time of one year
    • A fine up to $4,000
    • License revoked up to two years
  • What is the punishment for a third DWI in Texas?

    A third-time DWI is a Third Degree Felony. The following are the statutory maximum penalties:

    • Maximum prison time of 10 years
    • A fine up to $10,000
    • License revoked up to two years
  • How long will a DWI stay on my record?

    DWIS under certain conditions can be expunged. A person who wants to remove a DWI from their record must apply for non-disclosure and complete the following requirements.

    • the individual was a first-time DWI offender;
    • the individual must have had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.14 or less;
    • the individual must not have been involved in an accident as a result of operating a motor vehicle under the influence;
    • the individual must have successfully completed any sentence handed down by the court, including any DWI program, probation, or jail sentence; and
    • the individual must have paid all court costs and fees.
    • the waiting period has elapsed:
      • 2 years if the person successfully completed a period of at least six months of driving restricted to a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device as a part of the sentence; or
      • 5 years if there was no interlock requirement as part of the sentence.

    If a person fulfills all of the above requirements, he or she can petition to have their DWI conviction expunged from public record.

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