How And When Can A DWI Charge Be Reduced In Texas?
An arrest and criminal charge for drunk driving in Texas can be frightening for those charged, and for good reason. Driving while intoxicated under Texas law is an offense that law enforcement and prosecutors take seriously, and will not hesitate to invoke the toughest possible penalties allowed under the circumstances.
What are the penalties for DWI in Texas? For a first offense alone, a defendant can face up to 180 days in jail for driving while intoxicated, along with fines ranging from $2,000 to $6,000 total. Offenders also face a year-long driver’s license suspension if guilty of driving while intoxicated. For those facing a third offense charge, the penalties include up to 10 years in prison based on the circumstances.
A person can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated under the Texas Penal Code if they are “intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” To obtain a conviction, prosecutors must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Was intoxicated, and
- Was operating a motor vehicle
Either of these elements can be challenged by a defendant during their criminal case. Proving a person was intoxicated within the meaning of the law while driving, for example, is not as simple as it may seem. If it can’t be shown what the driver had in the system, or whether their blood-alcohol content met the .08 threshold, a prosecutor’s case can run into trouble. Same, too, if it cannot be proven that a defendant was “operating” the vehicle. Depending on the circumstances of each individual case, this can be open to argument.
Procedural problems during the course of a DWI arrest can also open the case up to potential dismissal or a reduction of charges. If the breathalyzer test was not administered according to strict guidelines (or the equipment may have been faulty), the machine’s BAC reading could be rendered inadmissible. Similarly, if an officer skips steps or does not administer a Field Sobriety Test within proper guidelines, evidence gained during that portion of an arrest can be challenged.
Another potential issue that can lead to a reduction of DWI charges in Texas would be violations of a person’s Constitutional rights. Any public citizen has crucial rights against unlawful search and seizure under the 4th Amendment, and 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Further, a misreading of a person’s Miranda Rights during a traffic stop can put the prosecution’s case in jeopardy.
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney will know not only the ins and outs of Texas DWI law, but also the potential facts and issues that would make a case subject to a reduction in charges or even dismissal.
Our Pearland, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help if You Face DWI Charges under Texas Law
A DWI charge is an intimidating challenge to face, since the consequences can be so severe. A defendant in a DWI case must put up a strong challenge, preferably with a proven and skilled Pearland criminal defense attorney at their side. At Keith B. French Law, we understand your concerns, and stand ready to prepare your defense. If you have any questions, concerns, or uncertainty about your case, contact us today.