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License Suspension and Other Aftermath of a DUI or DWI

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

License Suspension and Other Aftermath of a DUI or DWI

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DWI Consequences in Texas

Texas is one of the toughest states in the nation when it comes to penalties for Driving While Intoxicated. A person who is convicted on a charge of DWI in Texas can expect to deal with a long list of consequences before their sentence is completed. This can include a license suspension, expensive fines, jail time and probation. While it is possible to hire a defense attorney to argue against these charges in court, in some cases, a person can face penalties even if they are not convicted. In these cases, some of the penalties can begin as soon as a person is placed under arrest for suspicion.

License Suspensions

When a driver is pulled over for suspicion of DWI in Texas, the officer who makes the traffic stop may ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test. This can involve certain physical and verbal tasks like reciting the alphabet or walking heel-to-toe in a straight line. If the officer believes that the driver fails these tests, the officer may ask the driver to submit to an alcohol test. This can take two forms:

  1. A breath sample collected from a portable breathalyzer device
  2. A blood sample collected at a hospital or medical facility

A driver who submits to a test that shows a blood alcohol concentration higher than .08 may be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. Their license may be automatically suspended for 90 days up to a maximum of 180 days. In fact, the arresting officer may confiscate the driver’s license at the time of the arrest.

Texas has implied consent laws, meaning that all drivers agree to submit to alcohol tests when asked by police officers. However, a driver who has no prior DWI convictions may refuse to submit to the test. If this happens, the driver will automatically have their license suspended for a period of 180 days, regardless of the outcome of their case.

Other Penalties

A license suspension isn’t the only consequence that drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence can face. A conviction for this offense can also lead to:

  • Incarceration in county jail for a period of three days or up to 180 days
  • A fine of up to $2000
  • An annual surcharge of $1000 for three years after conviction
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Mandatory attendance at alcohol treatment programs

In most cases, the judge may order that the defendant must undergo a psychological evaluation as well as a drug and alcohol evaluation. These tests are performed to detect the presence of substance abuse problems. A defendant who appears to have a substance abuse problem may be forced to attend additional counseling or drug treatment programs.

The fines that are levied are used in conjunction with a DPS surcharge. For a first-time offense, this surcharge is $3000 split up over three years’ worth of payments. This is perhaps the most expensive part of a DWI conviction.

In some counties, a judge may order a defendant to obtain an ignition interlock device as a condition of bond. This device prevents a driver from starting a vehicle without first providing a breath sample. A breath sample which contains traces of alcohol will not be able to bypass the device. Although this condition is not always required for first-time offenders, second-time offenders will almost always have to abide by this requirement.

Legal Defenses

Hiring a defense attorney after being charged may present additional options to a defendant. For example, a defendant must request an Administrative License Revocation hearing within 15 days after being arrested. A defense attorney may be able to present evidence at this hearing to prevent the defendant’s license from being suspended.

A defense attorney may also be able to argue at trial that the arresting officer in the case was improperly trained or made a mistake while collecting a breath sample. The attorney may also introduce evidence to show that the breathalyzer was improperly calibrated. If these tactics are successful, the court may agree to drop the charges or offer a plea bargain to a less serious offense.

Have you been charged with driving under the influence? Don’t go through it alone. Call The Law Office of Greg Tsioros at 832-752-5972 and get the help you need.

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