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San Marcos DWI Attorneys

Fighting Driving While Intoxicated Charges

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, TX DWI lawyers by calling (512) 359-3743.

How Bad Is a DWI in Texas?

As hinted at earlier, a DWI charge in Texas is serious. Even before the case concludes, any person accused of the offense faces consequences that can affect their ability to take care of familial, educational, and professional obligations. If they are convicted, they are strapped with a criminal record that could prevent them from taking advantage of employment or other opportunities.

Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, a person can be accused of DWI if they operate 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.

Below are the potential conviction penalties for a 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.

Texas law identifies various factors that enhance the level of charge, including:

  • Committing a DWI with a minor under 15 years of age in the vehicle:

State jail felony, punishable by:

  • 180 days to 2 years of incarceration
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Committing a third DWI violation:

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):

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):

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 one of 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.

Are a DWI and DUI the Same 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 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.

The penalties for a DUI are as follows:

  • 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
  • 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
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      Our client was charged with a State Jail Felony while stopped for traffic violation in Williamson County. The officers searched the car and found THC oil pens. He was arrested for a felony. We found issues with the search and our investigation uncovered additional issues with the investigation. We pressed the prosecutor on these issues and, coupled with the clean UA’s we had our client take, the case was dismissed.

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      Our client was arrested after two girls he met online turned out to be underage. He was charged with four counts of sex assault of a child. The State interviewed the girls and obtained incriminating cell phone evidence, as well as evidence of drug use. The DA’s Office aggressively prosecuted this case and sought prison time.

    • Pre-Trial Diversion DWI Voluntary Blood Draw

      Our Client was pulled over and investigated for DWI. He was asked to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tests and subjected to an eye movement test. He also voluntarily provided a blood sample to be tested. The results were twice the legal limit. Our client has a prior felony conviction. The State waited a full 2 years after the incident and right before the deadline of the statute of limitations were to expire to file the charges against our Client.

    • Charges Dismissed Sexual Assault

      Our client met a woman on a dating app who claimed that she was sexually assaulted. We assisted our client in interviewing with the police. He was facing up to 20 years in prison and lifetime sex offender registration. After Smith and Vinson's thorough review of the case and careful negotiations, the case against him was dismissed by the District Attorney's Office.

    • 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

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