If you do a quick Google search for “DWI first offense,” “DWI arrest,” or “DWI attorney,” you will be flooded by high-pressure ads that make huge promises about the toughest defenses by attorneys who seem confident they can deliver a complete acquittal, no matter the circumstances or evidence.
You’re likely to hear strongly implied guarantees of a “not guilty” verdict before you even sit down with your new attorney to discuss that recent annoyance — that little charge of DWI, your first offense.
But, recklessly pushing for an acquittal may not be in your best interest — it’s not the best strategy in every case.
We strongly suggest you choose your attorney wisely — Texas courts can be severe in cases involving DWI, first offense or otherwise.
You may be in for a very long process with a lot at stake. A DWI can change your life, and probably not for the better.
No matter what a lawyer’s initial promises or what success rate he or she quotes you, you have a serious problem if you’re facing charges for a DWI. For a first offense, you will probably be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.
According to Texas Penal Code 49.04, this particular charge carries a fine of up to $2,000 and between 72 hours and 180 days in jail.
But, that’s if your blood alcohol level was under 0.15.
If you’d been drinking more heavily when you were pulled over, or if you had a prior conviction for DWI at the time of your arrest, you would now be staring at a potential Class A misdemeanor — up to one year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines (Texas Penal Code 49.09).
In case you were wondering, these same laws apply to operating a boat or plane while intoxicated.
And, if you’re under 21, you can’t drive with any measurable alcohol in your system whatsoever.
Financial penalties aside, a DWI (even a first offense) is going to complicate your daily life if you depend on your car.
Your license is about to be suspended for a considerable period of time — you can expect somewhere between 90 and 180 days. This may be extended to a full year if you are convicted of a second offense.
There is an (expensive) way to keep life moving, though.
If your DWI is a first offense, you may be able to obtain an occupational license, which would allow you to drive to and from places deemed absolutely necessary, such as work and school — but you’ll have to prove financial responsibility, and may have an ignition interlock device ordered to be placed on any vehicle you operate.
These provisions, in addition to your legal fees, will come at a cost.
The possible consequences should certainly make you want to avoid being pulled over for a DWI. First offense or not, the fines, court costs, jail time, loss of wages, and loss of driving privileges are costly.
This is assuming you get to keep your job — the above penalties often cause a ripple effect that piles additional consequences on top of the actual problems.
Many employers feel that a DWI demonstrates a lack of responsibility that they don’t want to deal with, or your legal matters could complicate your availability to show up for work, and they may find ways to ease you out the door.
We can’t say it clearly enough — a DWI, first offense included, is a serious affair.
With experienced counsel, you stand a better chance of navigating the process and minimizing the possible jail time and fines.
While an acquittal is the best outcome possible if you’ve been arrested for a DWI, many times the prosecution’s case is solid. It becomes necessary to adopt a strategy to lessen the consequences as much as possible.
If you agreed at the time of arrest to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test or any field sobriety test, and you failed, the deck is stacked pretty strongly against you.
You need a reputable, experienced attorney who can advise you on the best course of action — you are the one who has to suffer the consequences.
If you have been arrested for a DWI — a first offense, or for the second or third time — it’s in your best interest to seek out a reputable DWI attorney immediately.
Having the right lawyer could significantly improve the outcome of your case, and the best lawyers know when to press for acquittal and when you need damage control.
It’s your attorney’s duty to work on your behalf to assess the state’s case, recommend all available means to lessen the consequences, and to show you how to get the best result possible.
Contact the law firm of Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant If you ever find yourself facing charges for DWI. That first offense is a serious event than can alter your life — give us a call at (940) 387-3518, or fill out our contact form here.
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