Our Houston DWI Defense Lawyer Can Help You Today
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in Texas. If you have been charged with a suspected DWI in Houston, you could face several consequences – time in jail, hefty court fees and the loss of your driver’s license to name a few. During this time, you need an experienced DWI defense attorney in your corner who will listen to your story, give your case the highest level of attention and fight to protect your rights and your future.
At Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., our personal injury lawyers will handle your DWI case with careful attention to detail and determination to pursue the best outcome for you. We help clients in Houston and throughout southeast Texas to overcome their legal challenges by providing them with skilled, experienced and highly personalized service. When you work with us, we will be dedicated to protecting your rights, your interests and your overall well-being. Contact us now for a free consultation about your DWI charge and learn more about how we can help.
What Is a DWI Charge in Texas?
The Texas Penal Code defines the offense as operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. The law deems a person to be legally intoxicated if the person:
- Has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher; or
- Due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs or a combination of substances, the person loses the normal use of his/her mental and/or physical faculties.
For commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders and drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, the law is stricter. Your CDL may get suspended if you are found to have operated ANY vehicle while intoxicated. An underage driver can face a DWI arrest if he or she has driven after consuming any amount of alcohol. This is our state’s “zero tolerance” law and will cause your license to be suspended for up to one year.
What Are the Potential Consequences of a Driving While Intoxicated in Houston, Texas?
A DWI conviction in Texas can carry numerous consequences. Factors such as a person’s level of intoxication at the time of arrest and prior DWI record can affect the level of punishment. The consequences include:
- First offense – This is a Class B misdemeanor. You could face a minimum of 72 hours up to six months in jail, along with a $2,000 fine. Also, depending on the sentence, your license to drive may get suspended for up to one year. If you had an open container of alcohol in the car, the minimum term of confinement is six days. If you had a BAC of 0.15 or higher, the charge is upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor. It is a state jail felony if you had a passenger in your car who was younger than age 15.
- Second offense – This is a Class A misdemeanor. You could face a minimum of 30 days to a year in jail, along with a $4,000 fine and suspension of your driver’s license for up to two years.
- Third offense – This is a third-degree felony. You could face between two and 10 years in jail, along with a $10,000 fine.
If you are convicted of a second or subsequent DWI offense within five years, the court will order you to not operate any vehicle unless it is equipped with an ignition interlock device. Additionally, any DWI charge will result in more serious consequences if it results in serious injury or the death of another person.
Can You Lose Your Driver’s License If You Are Charged with DWI in Houston?
Under Texas’ implied consent law, any driver arrested for a suspected DWI must submit to a breath or blood test. In addition to the above DWI consequences, your driver’s license could be automatically suspended for 180 days up to two years if you refuse to submit to the chemical test. This automatic suspension is known as an Administrative License Revocation (ALR). However, if your license is revoked, you may still be able to get your driving privileges restored by requesting an administrative hearing.
Keep in mind: You must file the paperwork to request the hearing within 15 days from the date of your arrest. If you fail to request the hearing within this time period, you will automatically lose your license on the 40th day after the day you were arrested on suspicion of DWI.
What Are Potential Defenses to a DWI Charge?
When you have an experienced DWI defense attorney from Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., by your side, the attorney will explore all defenses available to you. Those defenses may include:
- Illegal stop – If an officer violated your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, any evidence collected as a result of that violation of your constitutional rights may be suppressed. Without this evidence, a prosecutor may be forced to dismiss the charge.
- Unlawful chemical test – Law enforcement officers must follow specific procedures when they administer chemical tests. If an officer improperly administered the test, the results could be thrown out of court, and the DWI may be dropped.
- Miranda rights violation – If an officer fails to properly advise a suspect of his or her Miranda rights, any confession or other statements made in response to any form of interrogation may be inadmissible, which could seriously damage the prosecution’s case.
- Lack of sufficient evidence – If the prosecution does not present enough information or evidence to prove the DWI, the case will be dismissed.
You should not attempt to try these defenses on your own. Instead, you should get the help of an experienced Houston DWI attorney as soon as possible.
How Can Our Houston DWI Defense Attorneys Help You?
After many years of public service, including as the twice-elected Harris County Attorney, Michael P. Fleming took his trial lawyer skills into private practice and went on to establish the law firm known today as Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. We built our law firm to take on the most challenging cases and provide the highest level of service to our clients.
If you hire us for your DWI defense, our attorneys will go to work for you right away and investigate the facts surrounding your arrest. We will interview witnesses and gather all the evidence, including chemical test results and the police report. We will listen to you and your story because we want to know all the circumstances of your case. We will be prepared to advocate on your behalf. We can also work with prosecutors to seek a plea agreement on your behalf, if necessary, and explore alternatives to a DWI conviction such as enrollment in the First Chance Intervention program.
Time is crucial after a DWI arrest in Houston. Don’t wait to get an experienced defense attorney on your side. Contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C., today for a free consultation.