Charged with Driving While Intoxicated in Houston?
DWI charges cover being behind the wheel of a car with a BAC, or Blood Alcohol Concentration, of 0.08 percent or higher, or having one’s faculties and reactions impaired by drugs or alcohol. The Texas courts and prosecutors treat this as a serious crime. The methods and equipment used by law enforcement to determine if a driver is impaired or note are not infallible, which allows for a number of avenues of effective defense. Anyone who has been charged with DWI should work closely with a Houston criminal lawyer who has a reputation as an insightful and successful defender of individual rights.
Types of Driving While Intoxicated Offenses
Conviction on a DWI charge can remain on your criminal record for life. This could have serious consequences in your professional life and affect your reputation and standing in the community. Serious DWI charges can even lead to a long jail or prison term. A conviction can also lead to difficulties in getting insurance, not to mention high rates. It is vital to defend against a DWI charge from the moment you are arrested. Keeping a conviction off your record can make a tremendous difference to your future. There may be any number of defense strategies, which could be used effectively in your case, and the lawyers at Jim Medley & Associates have experience in handling all types of defense for those charged with a drunk-driving offense, including:
Penalties of DWI & Driving with a Suspended License
A 0.08 percent BAC is the legal limit for intoxication while driving in Texas. If your driving is impaired, you can still be stopped and arrested for a DWI, even if your BAC is below 0.08 percent. Successive DWI offenses carry increasingly more severe penalties. The penalties for a first-offense conviction include up to $2,000 in fines, up to six months of jail time, a suspended driver’s license for up to one year and community service requirement. Additionally, a drunken driving conviction is a criminal offense, which will give you a criminal record and negatively impact your life and your future.
Generally, most people convicted of a DWI are placed on probation in lieu of jail. Probation generally lasts one to two years with conditions such as drug/alcohol evaluation and completion of an approved DWI education class. If your case has extenuating circumstances, such as an auto accident, an alcohol problem or a prior bad driving record, additional conditions may be ordered. Such requirements may include an ignition interlock device, an alcohol treatment program, restitution and more.
A driver’s license suspension may be the result of many offenses or situations, including a DWI, excessive moving violations, drug offenses and more. It is best to speak to a lawyer at Jim Medley & Associates about the particulars of your case.
Challenging DWI Evidence
Are Field Sobriety Tests Always Accurate?
In almost every DWI investigation, the law enforcement officer will use a preliminary form of testing known as a field sobriety test (FST). While this form of testing has been subject to a significant amount of scrutiny over the years, it gained credibility after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took measures to standardize three of the most widely used procedures: the Walk and Turn, the One-Leg Stand and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. Even so, it is important to understand that these tests are still purely subjective. Since field sobriety testing was designed to simultaneously test a suspected drunk driver’s physical and cognitive abilities, it is entirely up to the officer to decide how the individual is performing.
For example, an officer might conclude that the individual is intoxicated simply because they were unable to balance on one foot for the duration of the One-Leg Stand test. While this could serve as a valid indication of drunkenness, it could also be argued that the driver has poor balance even while they are sober. As such, you should not assume that a failed field sobriety test would lead to a DWI conviction. Rather, the criminal attorneys at Houston’s Jim Medley & Associates P.C. believe it is possible to defend against any form of DWI evidence, regardless of how condemning the results may appear to be. The same would apply to a breath or blood test, as it is still possible to argue that the BAC reading was incorrect.
Challenging the Results of a Breath or Blood Test
While chemical testing is seen as a more reliable form of DWI testing, since it can be used to measure an individual’s BAC, it is important to understand that it is not always an exact science. In some cases, the improper administration of a breath test may lead to skewed results. In others, it could be argued that the machine was not in proper working condition if the officer had failed to calibrate it according to regulations. When examining a blood test, the results would be void if the sample’s chain of custody was not clearly documented. For this reason, you should not hesitate to challenge the evidence in your case with the help of their firm.
What Are The Legal Consequences Of DWI?
Have you been charged with a DWI? If you were arrested for drunk driving, you could be facing serious consequences that will change your life forever. The penalties for a conviction in a DWI case will vary depending on the situation, and can include:
• Jail time
• Vehicle impoundment
• Court-ordered alcohol or drug counseling
• Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
• Driver’s license suspension
• Increased insurance rates
A guilty verdict in a DWI case will result in a permanent criminal record that can limit your employment, housing and educational opportunities. It can also make you ineligible for certain professional licenses and security clearances. If you are a commercial driver, a DWI conviction could lead to the loss of your job and source of income. With so much on the line, a DWI attorney should be contacted at once for experienced legal advice regarding your DWI arrest in the Houston area and how to proceed with your defense.
Sentencing In DWI Cases
When a person is arrested for DWI, they will be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony offense based on the facts of the case. If the DWI involved an auto accident with injuries, a high BAC or a minor in the car, a conviction in the case could result in severe punishments. Persons with a prior DWI criminal record should also expect harsh penalties if they are found guilty.
Jim Medley & Associates Can Help!
If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI or driving with a suspended license in Houston, anywhere in Harris County or in the surrounding counties of Montgomery, Galveston, Brazoria, or Fort Bend, you need to seek professional legal assistance. Their team recommends you consult with a criminal attorney as soon as possible.
Jim Medley & Associates has effectively defended hundreds of individuals facing these charges in the greater Houston area and can provide an aggressive and thorough defense. When you turn to their legal team for help, you can rest assured that you will receive nothing less than the skilled representation that you deserve.
Call the firm today at 713-668-2394 or submit a free consultation form online to get started.