DWI Process in Travis County
On a night out, it is possible you could encounter the flashing lights of a Texas police officer. Police stop that results in driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges are a reality in the busy Austin metropolitan area. The DWI process can be daunting and complex.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 1,323 Texans were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2015. With such high statistics, law enforcement in the Central Texas area is on high alert for DWI offenses. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DWI, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett.
Find a DWI Attorney in Austin, Texas
The legal procedure for DWI charges can be long and overwhelming. A person with no criminal record can find him or herself facing possible jail time and huge fines. It is advisable that you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett if you have been arrested with a DWI.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett has handled many DWI and other traffic-related offenses in Texan criminal court. Kevin Bennett is a qualified attorney with years of experience in fighting for his client’s rights. He has been recognized for his legal excellence by admittance into several prestigious law associations including the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association (TCDLA), and the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association (ACDLA).
Kevin Bennett has represented clients throughout the greater Travis County and Williamson County area and surrounding cities including Austin, Bastrop, San Marcos, Georgetown, Lockhart, West Lake Hills, Lago Vista, Rollingwood, and Pflugerville.
Do not navigate through your DWI process blind. Call (512) 476-4626 or submit an online contact form to schedule for a free consultation today.
Overview for DWI Processes in Austin, Texas
All DWI charges begin with a stop by a police officer. If law enforcement pulls you over under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer will likely have you complete a series of field sobriety tests, various mental or physical tasks to test your coordination. You are under no obligation to perform these tests.
After asking you to submit to a field sobriety test, the police officer will often ask you to submit to a breathalyzer exam, although a urine alcohol test or blood test maybe used in certain cases. The maximum legal limit for breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Texas depends on your situation and age.
- 0.08 percent – 21 or Older
- 0.04 percent – Commercial Drivers
- Any Alcohol Concentration – Younger than 21
Texas has an “implied consent” law states that all driver license holders must consent to breath, blood, or urine exams by law enforcement. If you decide to refuse your test, the police officer will normally arrest you and start the process for your license suspension. There are a few advantages to refusing chemical testing, but if you choose to not submit there will be legal consequences.
If you are arrested for a DWI (or refuse chemical testing) law enforcement will then book you at a local police station. You will likely have your personal belongings searched and confiscated until your release. Police may take some information such as notes on the arrest and the alleged crime.
Once you are fingerprinted and detained in a holding cell, you may have the opportunity to bail out. Your bail is set once a police officer files a probable cause affidavit with the court. A judge will review your affidavit and determine a bail amount. Bail will vary based on your charge and circumstances.
Usually a first-time DWI bail, without serious bodily injury, will be around $1,500 to $2,000 if the alleged offender has no prior criminal record. In some cases, “own recognizance” release can apply. This is where the alleged offender is released after promising, in writing, to appear in court for all upcoming proceedings.
After your arrest, your arraignment date will be set at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center or one of Travis County’s branch courts. An arraignment is a formal reading of your charges. It will give you the choice to plead guilty or not guilty of your DWI offense.
It is advised that you secure legal representation and do not plead guilty at an arraignment. You may miss an opportunity to waive review of the prosecutor’s evidence. Additionally, a criminal defense attorney can file motions on your behalf and formulate potential defenses.
After a DWI arrest, your driver’s license is normally revoked for a period, with a maximum of two years. You should receive a notice for your administrative license revocation. However, if you request a hearing within 15 days of your arrest you can contest to whether the suspension is valid. Note, that if you do not ask for a hearing before the window closes your license will be automatically revoked on the 40th day since your notice.
Alongside this, you may be eligible for a restricted license (otherwise known as an occupational license or hardship license). A restricted license allows the alleged offender to drive to only necessary places such as work, school, or picking up children. There is certain criterion you must follow to be able to apply and obtain a restricted license.
DWI penalties in Texas are serious and can be life-changing. Repeat offenders have their penalties enhanced with each subsequent conviction. Each sentence is dependent on the details of your case and the number of prior DWI convictions you have on your record.
Note, that if certain circumstances are in place your penalties will be enhanced. These circumstances are: having a child in the car, having a BAC of over 0.15, having an open container, if you are a commercial driver, the DWI resulted in serious bodily injury on another, and the DWI resulted in the death of another.
The following are some standard maximum penalties for DWIs in Travis County.
|Conviction||Offense Level||Maximum Fine||Incarceration Time||License Suspension|
|1st DWI||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to $2,000||72 Hours – 180 Days||90 – 365 Days|
|2nd DWI||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to $4,000||30 – 365 Days||180 Days to 2 Years|
|3rd DWI||3rd Degree Felony||Up to $10,000||2 – 10 Years in Prison||180 Days to 2 Years|
|3rd DWI with one prior conviction||2nd Degree Felony||Up to $10,000||2 – 20 Years in Prison||Up to 2 Years|
|3rd DWI with two prior convictions||Enhanced Felony||Up to $10,000||25 Years – Life Imprisonment||Up to 2 Years|
|1st DWI with a BAC at or over .15||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to $4,000||72 Hours – 1 Year in State Jail||90 – 365 Days|
|1st DWI with an Open Container||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to $2,000||6 – 180 Days||90 – 365 Days|
|1st DWI with a Child Passenger||State Jail Felony||Up to $10,000||6 Months – 2 Years in State Jail||90 Days – 2 Years|
|1st DWI Resulting in Intoxication Assault||3rd Degree Felony||Up to $10,000||2 – 10 Years in Prison||180 Days- 2 Years|
|1st DWI Resulting in Intoxication Manslaughter||2nd Degree Felony||Up to $10,000||2 Years – 10 Years in Prison||180 Days – 2 Years|
Alongside this, Texas law indicates that you must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your car for five years following a second DWI conviction. An IID is a device that requires the driver to submit a breath sample to start the car. The alleged offender will be responsible for installing and maintaining the IID on their vehicle.
DWI Court Program – Visit the Travis County Court’s website and read more on the Travis County DWI Program. Find out what the program entails, the application procedure is, and the requirements for eligibility. See which judge is in charge of supervising the program and the positive lasting effects the program promises.
Policies and Procedures – Visit the Travis County Court’s website and view the general policies and procedures for the criminal court system. See the proposed and local rules, Travis County’s Fair Defense Plan, and how you can request a court interpreter if needed.
Find a DWI or DUI Attorney in Austin, Texas
The legal system for DWI charges can be confusing. Travis County law officials are cracking down more on those who are driving while intoxicated each year. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI in Travis County, this is not the time to be idle. Contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett and speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney today.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett is a Central Texas qualified law firm that specializes in criminal defense. Kevin Bennett has been handling Texas criminal courts system for years and understands the ins and outs of DWI laws. He is passionate about his work and clients. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett has been acknowledged by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating, an organization that vets businesses with a given score by a council of impressive professionals. Put your case and future in the best hands. Get in touch with Kevin Bennett at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents clients who have been arrested throughout the greater Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area including surrounding counties such as San Marcos in Hays County, Bastrop in Bastrop County, Austin in Travis County, Lockhart in Caldwell County, and Georgetown in Williamson County.
Kevin Bennett is a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and has handled cases involving various Texas law enforcement officials including the Office of Bastrop County Sheriff, Williamson County Sheriff, San Marcos Police Department, the Caldwell County Sheriff Department, Georgetown Police Department, Lockhart Police Department, Austin Police Department, the Office of Travis County Sheriff, and the Office of Hays County Sheriff.
Let us be your partner in the Travis County DWI process. Contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626, or simply submit an online contact form today.