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San Marcos DWI Attorneys

Fighting Driving While Intoxicated Charges in Texas

Being convicted of, or even merely charged with, a DWI can severely impact your life. Immediately after your arrest, you face a driver's license suspension, making it difficult for you to take care of daily tasks. If you are found guilty of the offense, in addition to losing driving privileges, you face a fine and/or incarceration. Because the effects of a driving while intoxicated charge are so severe, it is essential that you go into your case with an experienced and knowledgeable San Marcos DWI attorney on your side. With aggressive counsel, you increase your chances of minimizing or avoiding harsh penalties.

Driving while intoxicated matters are highly technical and involve a great deal of science. Prosecutors use evidence such as field sobriety and chemical test results to attempt to prove guilt. At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, we know that these measurements are not always accurate, and performance on them may be affected by things other than drug or alcohol consumption. Our San Marcos DWI lawyers will look into every detail of your situation to determine what defenses to raise and how to most effectively present your case to seek a favorable result on your behalf.

For the bold and fearless defense you need, schedule a free consultation with our San Marcos DWI lawyers by calling (512) 359-3743.

How Serious Is a DWI in Texas?

A DWI charge in Texas is a serious matter. Even before your case concludes, you may face consequences that affect your family, education, and career. A conviction can result in a permanent criminal record, impacting employment opportunities and more.

Texas Penal Code § 49.04 defines DWI as operating a vehicle in a public place while intoxicated by alcohol and/or controlled substances. Intoxication means:

  • The driver's normal mental or physical faculties were impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, rendering them incapable of safely driving; or
  • The driver had a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

Generally, first and second DWI violations are misdemeanors, with punishments varying depending on the facts of the case.

Penalties for Texas DWI

  • First offense (Class B misdemeanor):
    • 72 hours to 180 days in jail
    • Minimum of 6 days in jail if the driver had an open container of alcohol near them
    • Up to $2,000 in fines
    • 90 days to 1 year of driver's license suspension
  • Alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more (Class A misdemeanor):
    • Up to 1 year in jail
    • Up to $4,000 in fines
  • Second offense (Class A misdemeanor):
    • 30 days to 1 year in jail
    • Up to $4,000 in fines
    • 180 days to 2 years of driver's license suspension

Whether this is your first or second violation, handling your case without legal help could be costly. Our DWI attorneys in San Marcos, TX recognize how a criminal charge and conviction can affect you. That is why we will aggressively defend you at each stage of your case.

Can a DWI Be Charged as a Felony in Texas?

Driving while intoxicated is not only charged as a misdemeanor. In some cases, the offense is a felony, even if it is the first or second time someone has been accused of the crime.

Committing a DWI with a minor under 15 years of age in the vehicle is a state jail felony, punishable by:

  • 180 days to 2 years of incarceration
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Committing a third DWI violation is a third-degree felony, punishable by:

  • 2 to 10 years of incarceration and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Causing serious bodily injury to another (intoxication assault) is a third-degree felony, punishable by:

  • 2 to 19 years of incarceration and/or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Causing death to another (intoxication manslaughter) is a second-degree felony, punishable by:

  • 2 to 20 years of incarceration
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors and can have greater lasting effects. If you are facing a felony charge, reach out to our DWI lawyers in San Marcos immediately. Building a strong defense requires thorough preparation. Our team is ready to put in the time and resources to fight the allegations against you.

DWI vs. DUI in Texas

Often, the terms DWI and DUI are used interchangeably, but in Texas, they are actually different offenses. DUI stands for "driving under the influence of alcohol by a minor." It applies to people under 21 years of age who consume any amount of alcohol and get behind the wheel.

The 0.08 alcohol concentration limit does not apply in DUI cases. A minor can be charged if they have any amount of alcohol in their system while driving. This is true even if they were not affected by the substance.

DUI Under 17 Years of Age

First offense (Class C misdemeanor):

  • Up to $500 in fines
  • 20 to 40 hours of community service
  • 60 to 180 days of driver's license suspension
  • Completion of an Alcohol Awareness course

Second offense (Class C misdemeanor):

  • Up to $500 in fines
  • 40 to 60 hours of community service
  • 120 days to 2 years of driver's license suspension
  • Completion of an Alcohol Awareness course

Third offense (Delinquent conduct by a minor):

  • Up to $500 in fines
  • 40 to 60 hours of community service
  • 180 days to 2 years of driver's license suspension

DUI Between 17 and 20 Years of Age

First offense (Class B misdemeanor):

  • 72 hours to 180 days in jail
  • Up to $500 in fines
  • 1 year of driver's license suspension

Second offense (Class A misdemeanor):

  • 30 days to 1 year in jail
  • Up to $4,000 in fines
  • 180 days to 18 months of driver's license suspension

Third or subsequent offense (Third-degree felony):

  • 2 to 10 years of incarceration
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • 180 days to 2 years of driver's license suspension

While Texas's DUI law applies to minors operating a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system, a person under 21 years of age can be charged with a DWI if they had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. In such cases, they face the same penalties as a person 21 years of age or older.

Probable Cause in a Texas DWI Case

In a DWI matter, police officers cannot simply pull someone over because they have a hunch that the person is intoxicated while driving. They must have probable cause. That means there must be some legally justifiable reason for stopping the driver – for instance, the person was speeding or ran a red light.

Officers also need probable cause to arrest someone on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Often, this is established by observing the driver's physical behaviors or characteristics, such as having slurred speech or performing poorly on field sobriety tests.

In some DWI cases, probable cause plays an important role. Showing that the officer did not have a reason to stop or arrest the defendant can result in evidence being deemed inadmissible and weakening the prosecutor's case.

At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, we will review and analyze everything that happened, from your traffic stop to charges being filed against you. By listening to your side of the story, our San Marcos DWI attorneys can better understand what happened and build a defense tailored for you.

Get Started on Your DWI Defense in San Marcos, TX

Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony DWI in Texas, it is essential to retain the services of a team that knows how to counter these allegations. Smith & Vinson Law Firm consists of former prosecutors familiar with how the other sides build cases. We can use this insight to your advantage as we fight for you.

Contact our San Marcos DWI lawyers today by calling (512) 359-3743. Your initial consultation is free.

Our Client Reviews

Earning Our Reputation by Protecting Yours
  • Smith and Vinson are absolutely incredible! They go above and beyond to help their clients and have a track record of success in getting cases dismissed. Their aggressive approach and unwavering dedication make them stand out from the rest.
    - Linda W.
  • What sets this firm apart is their unwavering dedication to their clients. They listen attentively, provide clear guidance, and approach every case with the utmost diligence. Their attention to detail is truly impressive, and they leave no stone unturned.
    - Former Client
  • When in battle you need people by your side who are fierce enough to face the opposition with you. Brad and Jarod far exceeded my expectations with their passion for winning and attention to detail.
    - Nikki C.
  • After the Jury was selected, the first witness was called to the stand, and Brad and Jarrod imploded the State's case. Moments later, the case was dismissed. I couldn't be any more thankful for Smith & Vinson.
    - Former Client

    A Proven Track Record

    Check Out Our Recent Case Results
    • Not Guilty 2nd DWI

      911 caller reported a major rollover, single car accident. EMS and fire arrived on scene. They had to break the window to get our client out of the car. He said he had swerved to miss a deer and had been up close to 18 hours before the crash. Police later arrived on scene, spoke to our client and he admitted to coming from a bar and drinking 2 martinis.

    • Not Guilty 2nd DWI

      Our client was pulled over for a traffic violation. Officer smelled alcohol, client admitted to consuming a few drinks. Officer also noted slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. Client performed the SFST’s (roadside tests). Officer said he failed all 3, eye test, walk and turn and one-leg stand. Officer placed client under arrest and asked him for a sample of breath and/or blood. Client refused. Officer did not get a blood warrant.

    • Case Dismissed 2nd DWI

      Our client was involved in a vehicle accident in La Grange where she was ejected from the vehicle and had to stay in the hospital. There was alcohol in the car, and she had prior DWIs. The ethanol levels in her blood came back at a .13 so she was charged with Driving While Intoxicated. This client was unaware that she was charged after she left the hospital which resulted in the charge of Bail Jumping. However she maintained that she had only an 8% functioning liver due and upon researching her medical hist

    • Deferred Adjudication Aggravated Assault & Tampering with Evidence

      Our client was involved in a verbal dispute that turned into an altercation where a firearm was discharged into the ground. The round ricocheted and grazed a party to the dispute. Our client was facing multiple felony convictions and a prison sentence.

    • Deferred Adjudication Aggravated Assault Family Violence w/ Serious Bodily Injury

      Our client was involved in a domestic altercation that resulted in one of the parties sustaining a very serious life -altering injury that required serious medical intervention. We took the case and approached our defense with heavy strong willed negotiations with the State.

    • Rejected Pre-Indictment Aggravated Assault Strangulation/Impeding Airway Investigation

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