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DWI Defense

Unfortunately, Texas has gained a reputation for its number of drunk driving incidents. In 2017, the National Highway Safety and Traffic Association (NHTSA) reported that 16,794 people were involved in a drunk driving accident. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal offense and can lead to serious consequences. A DWI arrest can be frightening, confusing and even embarrassing. Your reputation could be tarnished, and your career could in jeopardy. In addition, you’ll be forced to face the statutory penalties associated with DWI. If you or someone you know has been charged with driving while intoxicated, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Attorney for DWI Charges in Harris County, Texas

Have you or someone you know been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol? It’s imperative you gain legal representation as soon as possible. You could face serious penalties such as license suspension, community service, steep fines and even incarceration. Stay ahead of your charges and contact the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. We thoroughly understand the laws and legal ramifications of DWI. Our attorneys will stand by your side to guide you through this legal process. We will investigate your case to find the best possible defense for you. No challenge is too big for Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc., so call us today at (713) 224-5529. The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. represent people throughout the greater Harris County area including Bellaire, Tomball, Houston, River Oaks and Pasadena.

DWI Defined Under Texas Law

The state of Texas is currently battling a drunk driving problem. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) states every 20 minutes a person is injured or killed by a drunk driver. These startling statistics have caused Texas to impose stiff laws for drunk drivers. Texas Penal Code § 49.04 states you’re committing a crime if you:
  • Operate a motor vehicle in a public place; and
  • Are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You can also be charged with DWI while operating an aircraft, watercraft or assembling an amusement park ride.

How Does Texas Law Define Intoxication?

Texas law determines if a person is intoxicated by their blood-alcohol concentration or an assessment of their physical and mental faculties. Blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is the number of grams of alcohol in your system, which is measured by chemical testing. Law enforcement uses blood analysis, urinalysis and breath analysis to determine BAC.
Texas Penal Code § 49.01 measures BAC by number of grams of alcohol per:
  • 210 liters of breath;
  • 67 milliliters of urine; or
  • 100 milliliters of blood.
The legal blood-alcohol concentration limits in Texas include:
  • 08 or higher for non-commercial drivers at or over the age of 21;
  • 04 or higher for people with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL); and
  • 02 or higher for people under the age of 21.
Chemical testing is by no means a perfect process. Nearly all chemical testing samples are sent to a private or state crime lab, which could be contaminated by lab personnel. In addition, the machinery used to assess the samples could be outdated or inaccurate. This can lead to skewed results that can negatively affect your case. Another way for law enforcement to determine your impairment level is through field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are a series of physical exercises designed to evaluate your physical and mental faculties. While you may see a variety of field sobriety tests, only the tests standardized by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) are viable in court. The tests standardized by NHTSA include the walk-and-turn, horizontal gaze nystagmus, and the one-leg stand. Although these field sobriety tests have been studied, field sobriety testing still has issues. Many factors can influence a person’s results. Even simple things such as a person’s shoes can lead to misleading results.
Drunk Driving
Drunk Driving

Implied Consent Laws in Texas

Texas has imposed laws for people who refuse chemical testing. These are referred to as implied consent laws, meaning if you drive on Texas public roads you’re implicitly submitting to chemical testing by law enforcement. Refusing to comply with testing can lead to an administrative license suspension. It’s important to remember that field sobriety testing isn’t included in implied consent laws. Even though implied consent laws are in place in Texas, you can still refuse testing. Chemical testing has flaws and your results may be misleading to authorities. In some cases, it’s best to refuse chemical testing so law enforcement has no concrete evidence of your DWI. You may be charged with DWI, but the prosecution will only have subjective evidence to present to the jury.
If you refuse chemical testing, it’s important to understand there will be administrative consequences. You may not face criminal penalties, but your license will be suspended for a period of time. Listed below are the suspension periods for refusing chemical testing.
  • 180 days for a first-time refusal; and
  • 2 years for a second or subsequent refusal
You can combat your license suspension through an administrative license revocation hearing. You have to act quickly, however, since you have 15 days to file a request a hearing to challenge your administrative suspension. If you fail to request a hearing, the suspension will commence 40 days after the notice was served.
It’s also important to understand law enforcement can arrest you if they have probable cause you were driving under the influence. Probable cause is when an officer has a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances, that a crime did or is taking place. This means you could be arrested even if you refuse chemical testing. Handling both an arrest and license suspension is unnerving. However, it may be the best possible option for you. Staying in jail for a short period of time is a lot less of a hassle than handling a DWI conviction. The prosecution won’t have any substantial evidence if you’re charged. In fact, you may not be charged at all if the District Attorney’s Office doesn’t think they have a case. You can also contest your suspension and you may be able to retain your license.

Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated in Texas

The penalties for DWI depend on the circumstances of the crime and your criminal history. It’s imperative you understand the full scope of the penalties associated with DWI. You could face massive fines, DWI school, annual fees and possible incarceration. Listed below are the penalties for driving while intoxicated in Texas.
  • First Offense – Class B Misdemeanor
    • A fine of up to $2,000
    • Up to 180 days in jail;
    • Up to 100 hours of community service;
    • Driver license suspension for up to 12 months; and
    • Completion of a 12-hour DWI Education Program;
    • Annual fee of up to $2,000 for three years by the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
  • Second Offense – Class A Misdemeanor
    • A fine of up $4,000;
    • Up to 12 months in jail;
    • Up to 200 hours of community service;
    • Completion of a DWI Education Program;
    • Driver license suspension for up to two years; and
    • Annual fee of up to $2,000 for three years by DPS
  • Third or Subsequent Offense – Third-Degree Felony
    • A fine of up to $10,000
    • Up to 10 years in prison;
    • Up to 200 hours of community service;
    • Driver license suspension for up to two years; and
    • Annual fee of up to $2,000 for three years by DPS.
Certain factors can enhance the penalties of your DWI. If you have a child passenger in the car during the offense, you’ll face a state jail felony that’s punishable by:
  • A fine of up to $10,00; and
  • Up to two years in state jail
If you have a BAC of .15 or more during the offense, then your crime will be reclassified as a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for a class A misdemeanor include:
  • A fine of up to $4,000; and
  • Up to 12 months in jail

Commercial Vehicle DWI in Texas

Commercial drivers face even harsher penalties if they are convicted of DWI. Texas law states any commercial driver with a BAC of .04 or more is considered intoxicated. Commercial drivers with a BAC of .04 will face all the same penalties of a non-commercial driver with a BAC of .08 or higher. In addition to those penalties, commercial drivers may have their commercial driver license (CDL) suspended for a period of time. These suspension periods include:
  • Up to 12 months for a first DWI; or
  • Loss of CDL for life for a second DWI

Additional Resources

Driving While Intoxicated Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Department of Safety (DPS) to find more information about DWI offenses. Access the site to learn the penalties for DWI, DWI statistics, and tips on how to stay safe from drunk drivers. DWI Statistics – Visit the official website for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to learn more about DWI statistics in Texas. Access the document to learn the number of fatal crashes, injury-related crashes and other DWI crashes for 2017.

Lawyer for DWI Defense in Houston, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. excel at representing those accused of DWI in the Harris County area. Our attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. strive to provide quality legal service to all our clients. We have years of experience handling DWI cases and can help you move past these charges. The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. have won several awards to recognize their above and beyond legal service. One of these includes the ACS-CHAL Lawyer Scientist award that was given to our managing attorney Tyler Flood. This award exhibits that Tyler Flood possesses an in-depth understanding of the science behind a DWI. Contact us today for a case consultation at (713) 224-5529. We accept clients throughout the greater Houston area and surrounding communities including Bellaire, Pasadena, River Oaks and Uptown.
This article was last updated on March 7th, 2019.

Our Results

Learn about our experience and results with dwi-related cases

  • Not Guilty
    Driving While Intoxicated
    (Blood Draw .16)
    Client had bond forfeited while case was pending for not being able to attend trial when Judge ordered... us to be there due to his teaching job at Texas A&M University. When he finally had his day in Court, the Jury said Not Guilty.
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  • Dismissed
    Driving While Intoxicated
    (Blood Draw .15)
    Dismissed after motion to suppress granted during trial. Blood warrant was void of any mention of... Harris County in 12 different places. Probable Cause affidavit contained many false statements by officers.
    read more
  • Not Guilty
    Driving While Intoxicated
    (Breath Test .13)
    Fort Bend County, Motion to Suppress HGN denied by Judge McMeans even though he even... acknowledged that it was done completely wrong. Motion to Suppress breath test also denied even though there was a clear violation.
    read more
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2019 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 224-5529
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  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
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