In Texas and most states driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08% or higher is illegal. If you are stopped by a police officer you can be arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated ). Other states have a DUI (driving under the influence) statute which is more easily violated than our Texas DWI statute. Under the DUI protocol, you could be prosecuted and convicted for simply being "under the influence," such as buzzed or any sensation of alcohol. Whereas in Texas, we require that the driver be intoxicated. In Texas "intoxication" is generally defined as having lost the normal use of either your mental or physical faculties by the reason of the introduction of alcohol, a dangerous drug or a combination thereof. Additionally, as set out above the BAC of 0.08% or above is another way to get convicted. The BAC standard is to catch those who have built up such a tolerance to alcohol that they have not lost the normal use of either of their mental or physical faculties and can perform sobriety testing without mistake.
When a person is stopped, and an investigation for DWI (or DUI, if under 21 or in another state) is initiated, then: First, the officer will need to determine whether or not you are under the influence by performing one or more of several field sobriety tests. There are usually three field sobriety tests. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test ("HGN") examines the eyes for nystagmus or jerking of the eyes. This test must be conducted in a precise and standardized manner by the officer, or the results can be attacked as "compromised." The next test is the nine-step walk and turn. This test is more of an agility test than any sort or mental test. However, there are as many as eight clues that the officer looks for in determining if there is enough to make an arrest decision. This test is a trick to the subject, in that he usually has never performed the test and because the officer never tells the subject what he must do to pass the test. In fact, they testify that you neither pass nor fail since you merely demonstrate whether or not you can follow instructions and perform exactly as directed. This test is very unfair to the subject and juries frequently see this test for a trick. The final field test is the one-legged stand. The subject must stand in a particular manner on one leg for as much as 30 seconds during which time he/she cannot use their arms for balance, must count out loud by thousand and look at his/her foot held six inches off the ground. This test is by far the most difficult for any person to do except an athlete or one, such as the officer, who has practiced the test. Other tests can range from a finger count, ABC;s, Rhomberg Test (close eyes, lean head back and touch your nose with the tip of your finger), or the estimate 30 seconds while the eyes are closed and the head is tilted back. Other more extensive tests such as blood, breath or urine test are also to be expected in a DWI arrest or investigation. Refusal to perform any of these tests when asked by the officer will most likely result in your immediate arrest and be being booked in a county jail for DWI. A DWI charge and conviction can have dramatic effects on your future. An attorney experienced in defending people charged with DWI will be able to help keep you out of jail.
Following are some, but not all, consequences for a DWI conviction:
*First offense: The Court may order you to serve up to 6 months in jail, a fine up to $2,000, and order you to complete an alcohol/drug treatment program. The DPS may also impose a 6 or 12-month driver’s license suspension depending on treatment program length. Additionally, the DPS will require you to pay $1000 per year for three years as a surcharge to maintain your right to drive in Texas.
*Second offense: The Court may order you to serve up to 1 year in jail, a $4,000 fine, and completion of an alcohol/drug treatment program. The DPS may also impose up to a 2-year driver’s license suspension. Additionally, a conviction for the 2nd DWI carries a driver's license surcharge of $1500 per year for three years as a surcharge to maintain your right to drive in Texas.
*Third offense: You can be charged as a felony and carries a possible sentence of 10 years in state prison. A mandatory license suspension of up to 2 years and a driver's license surcharge of $2000 per year for three years in order to maintain your right to drive in Texas.
In addition to any of the penalties the Court’s may impose for a driving under the influence conviction, the Department of Public Safety will take administrative action against an individual’s driver’s license. These actions can include restrictions, suspensions, and revocations. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Boren & Mims are experienced in representing clients in any administrative license revocation hearings with the Department of Public Safety, and understand that the protection of a driver’s license is often the most important matter in a DWI defense.
A DWI conviction and can result in jail time, license suspension, points on your driving record, surcharges, fines, counseling, and probation. The Law Firm of Boren & Mims, will fight for you and is determined to keep you out of jail. We will look at the facts surrounding your DWI charge and will question the allegations against you.
Mr. Mims is certified in the administration of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that DWI enforcement officers use to make arrest decisions. He is able to cross-examine these officers thoroughly and find their mistakes. These are valuable skills that benefit his clients. Our attorneys will challenge any field sobriety tests administered and will use their education and knowledge of Texas laws on DWI laws to obtain the best possible outcome for you.
If you are in need of an experienced DWI defense attorney, contact The Law Offices of Boren & Mims, immediately after you are released on bond. It is vital that you take certain actions to protect your rights within 14 days of release or you will lose certain valuable rights to defend you right to drive in Texas.
Even now, before you have even called, our team is in the process of planning a defense for you.