August 18, 2017

Drunk Driving/DUI Defense

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED

An arrest for DWI can be a stressful and frightening experience. After an arrest for DWI, it is important to quickly contact an experienced criminal defense attorney so that all avenues of attack can be preserved. Contact Brittany Carroll Lacayo at 713-504-0506 to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation. She will provide an aggressive defense, which may result in dismissed charges, reduced charges, or minimized punishment.

YOU ONLY HAVE 15 DAYS TO REQUEST AN A.L.R. HEARING

After you have been arrested for DWI, you only have 15 days to request a hearing with the Department of Public Safety to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. Brittany Carroll Lacayo can represent you in both your criminal case and your administrative license revocation hearing. If you have been arrested for DWI, contact Brittany Carroll Lacayo at 713-504-0506 and schedule your free initial consultation to discuss the specific facts of your DWI case. See below for more information on A.L.R. hearings.


WHAT IS DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (DWI) UNDER TEXAS LAW?

In Texas a person is driving while intoxicated, if they are operating a motor vehicle in a public place while they do not have the normal use of their mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of:

  • alcohol;
  • controlled substances;
  • drugs such as marijuana or prescription medications; or
  • dangerous drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or meth.

OR they are operating a motor vehicle in a public place and they have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.


SHOULD I REFUSE TO TAKE A BREATH OR BLOOD TEST?

Generally, the answer is yes. By refusing a breath or blood test you will make it more difficult for the prosecution to prove that you were driving while intoxicated. However, while there are advantages to refusing a breath or blood test, there are also several disadvantages. Here is a summary of some advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

  • By refusing to take a chemical test of your breath or blood the prosecutor will not have any scientific evidence of your blood alcohol content at the time of your arrest to use against you at your trial.
  • It will make it more difficult for the prosecution to prove the case against you.

Disadvantages

  • The Department of Public Safety provides for longer administrative license suspensions for those that refuse to provide a test of their breath or blood. See below for information about license suspensions following a DWI arrest.
  • The fact that you refused to provide a breath or blood sample can be presented at your trial.

TIPS TO HELP YOU AVOID A DWI CONVICTION

1. Don’t drink and drive. But if you are stopped by the police . . .

2. Do not perform any sobriety tests at all. The officer may request you to do certain things, for example to walk on a straight line, but you can and you should refuse, especially if you suffer from poor balance, or you are under the influence of any alcohol or other substance.

3. Do not blow, especially if you have had more than a single alcoholic beverage. See above for advantages and disadvantages of providing a breath or a blood sample.

4. Be conscious about your body language and speech. Slurred speech and sloppy body language will be used to demonstrate intoxication.

5. Be polite to the officer and remain calm.

6. Remain in the car unless you are asked to exit your vehicle.

7. Remain silent. Do not answer the police officer’s questions. Instead, politely ask to speak with an attorney.

These are simply some general suggestions. We invite you to contact Brittany Carroll Lacayo at 713-504-0506 to discuss your particular situation.


CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR DWI UNDER TEXAS LAW

 

First DWI

In Texas, the first time you are charged with DWI it is a Class B Misdemeanor. Punishment can include, but is not limited to:

  • Up to a $2,000 fine;
  • A minimum of 3 days (6 days if there is an open alcohol container) but not more than 6 months in jail; and
  • Suspended driver’s license for up to 1 year.

Second DWI

In Texas, a second DWI is a Class A misdemeanor. Punishment can include, but is not limited to:

  • Up to a $4,000 fine;
  • A minimum of 30 days but not more than 1 year in jail; and
  • Suspended driver’s license for up to 2 years.

Third or Subsequent DWI

In Texas, a third DWI is a 3rd Degree Felony. Punishment can include, but is not limited to:

  • Up to a $10,000 fine;
  • Two to ten years in prison; and
  • Suspended driver’s license for up to 2 years.

Intoxication Assault

In Texas, a DWI with an accident where serious bodily injury occurred as a proximate cause of the intoxication is called intoxication assault. Intoxication assault is a 3rd Degree Felony. Punishment can include, but is not limited to:

  • A minimum of 2 years but not more than 10 years in prison; and
  • Up to a $10,000 fine.
  • Suspended driver’s license for up to 1 year.

Intoxication Manslaughter

In Texas, a DWI where a death has occurred as a proximate cause of the intoxication is intoxication manslaughter. Intoxication manslaughter is a 2nd Degree Felony. Punishment can include, but is not limited to:

  • Up to a $10,000 fine and
  • A minimum of 2 years but not more than 20 years in prison.
  • Suspended driver’s license for up to 2 years.

DWI with Minor in Vehicle

In Texas, it is a state jail felony to operate a vehicle while intoxicated with a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle.  Punishment may include:

  • Up to a $10,000 fine; and
  • At least 180 days, but not more than 2 years in jail.

DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION ONCE CONVICTED OF DWI

Offense Period Of Suspension
First Offense 90 Days – 1 Year
Subsequent Offense 180 Days – 2 Years
Second Offense Within 5 Years 1-2 Years
DWI With a Child Passanger 90 Days – 1 Year

DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION ONCE CONVICTED OF INTOXICATION ASAULT

Offense Period Of Suspension
First Offense 90 Days – 1 Year
Subsequent Offense 180 Days – 2 Years
Second Offense Within 5 Years 1-2 Years

DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION ONCE CONVICTED OF INTOXICATION MANSLAUGHTER

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Offense Period of Suspension
First Offense 180 days – 2 years
Second or Subsequent Offense within 10 years 1 – 2 years

ADMINISTRATIVE DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION
THE ALR HEARING

After you have been served with notice of an ALR (generally, when you are arrested for DWI), you only have 15 DAYS to request a hearing. If you fail to request a hearing, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended on the 40th day after your arrest.

HOW LONG WILL MY DRIVER’S LICENSE BE SUSPENDED FOR?

Adults (21 or older)

Refusal Case

The following periods of suspensions apply if you refused to provide a specimen of your breath or blood:

Offense Period Of Suspension
First  time you refuse a breath or blood test 180 days
If your license has previously been suspended for failing or refusing a blood or breath test for DWI, Intoxication Assault, or Intoxication Manslaughter during the 10 years preceding the date of your arrest 2 years

Failure Case

The following periods of suspensions apply if you consented to a peace officer’s request to provide a specimen of your breath or blood, and it had a concentration of 0.08 or greater.

Offense Period Of Suspension
First  time you fail a breath or blood test 90 days
If your license has previously been suspended for failing or refusing a blood or breath test for DWI, Intoxication Assault, or Intoxication Manslaughter during the 10 years preceding the date of your arrest 1 year

Minors (under 21)

Refusal Case

The following periods of suspensions apply if you refused to provide a specimen of your breath or blood:

Offense Period Of Suspension
First  time you refuse a breath or blood test 180 days
If your license has previously been suspended for failing or refusing a blood or breath test for DWI, Intoxication Assault, or Intoxication Manslaughter during the 10 years preceding the date of your arrest 2 years

Failure Case – Alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater

The following periods of suspensions apply if you consented to a peace officer’s request to provide a specimen of your breath or blood, and it had a concentration of 0.08 or greater.

Offense Period Of Suspension
First  time you fail a breath or blood test 60 Days
If you have 1 previous DWI conviction 120 Days
If you have 2 or more previous DWI convictions 180 Days

Failure Case – Alcohol concentration of less than 0.08

Offense Period Of Suspension
First time you fail a breath or blood test by having any detectable amount of alcohol 60 Days
If you have 1 previous DWI conviction 120 Days
If you have 2 or more previous DWI convictions 180 Days

Commercial Drivers License Holders

Generally, your commercial driving privilege will be disqualified for one year if:

  • You refused to submit to a test to determine your alcohol concentration
  • If an analysis of your breath or blood determines that you had an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or more while operating a motor vehicle, other than a commercial motor vehicle, in a public place; or
  • If an analysis of your breath or blood determines that you had an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, or that a controlled substance or drug was present in your blood, while operating a commercial motor vehicle in a public place.

ALR HEARING

Issues at the ALR hearing:

Refusal Case

Brittany Carroll Lacayo may be able to fight the suspension of your license at an ALR hearing where the Department alleges that you refused a chemical test by demonstrating that:

  • The officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop you;
  • The officer did not have probable cause to believe you were intoxicated;
  • You were not offered the chance to provide a breath or blood sample, or
  • You did not refuse to provide the breath or blood sample.

Failure Case

Brittany Carroll Lacayo may be able to fight the suspension of your license at an ALR hearing where you provided a chemical test with a concentration over the legal limit of 0.08 by demonstrating that:

  • The officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop you;
  • The officer did not have probable cause to believe you were intoxicated; or
  • You did not have an alcohol concentration over the legal limit of 0.08.

Additional benefits to an ALR hearing:

  • Your defense attorney will have the opportunity to discover information about the evidence against you.
  • The attorney will be able to subpoena the arresting officer to the ALR hearing and compel his or her testimony under oath. This will provide the attorney the opportunity to question the officer prior to your DWI trial.
  • It provides an opportunity to determine possible defenses for your trial.
  • If you win the ALR hearing, the Department of Public Safety will not be able to suspend your license.

WHERE WILL THE ALR HEARING TAKE PLACE?

The Houston Field Office for the Administrative License Revocation Hearing is located at:

The Preserve at North Loop

2020 No. Loop (610) West, Suite 111

Houston, Texas 77018

Phone: (713) 957-0010

Fax: (713) 812-1001

Information about other office locations can be found on the website for the State Office of Administrative Hearings: http://www.soah.state.tx.us.


OCCUPATIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE

What is an occupational driver’s license?

If you have had your driver’s license suspended you may apply for an occupational license to drive to and from work, school, or for essential household duties. Generally, the Occupational Driver’s License will only provide for a four-hour driving period. However, your attorney may be able to show the court good cause why the licensee should be allowed to drive for up to 12 hours each day, the maximum allowed by law. If your seeking to acquire an occupational driver’s license contact Brittany Carroll Lacayo at 713-504-0506.

What do I have to do to obtain an Occupational Driver’s License?

There are several requirements that need to be satisfied before a judge will grant an occupational driver’s license. These typically include:

  • File a Petition for an Occupational Driver’s License
  • Pay a filing fee
  • Pay all required reinstatement fees
  • Obtain SR-22 insurance
  • Some courts require a copy of your driving record
  • Present the Petition for your occupational license to a judge for approval.

Can I operate a commercial motor vehicle with an occupational driver’s license?

No. If your license is suspended, cancelled, or revoked under Texas law you will not be granted an occupational driver’s license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.


The information contained on this site is for general informational purposes only. The information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a Houston criminal defense attorney for advice regarding your own individual situation. We invite you to contact Brittany Carroll Lacayo at 713-504-0506 to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation. Use of this website or submission of an online form, does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Brittany Carroll Lacayo, Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Areas of Practice
DUI/DWI/Drunk Driving Defense Illegal Drug Charges Defense Marijuana Charges Defense
Meth Charges Defense Violation of Probation Charges Defense Assault Charges Defense
Domestic Violence Charges Defense Clear Your Record/Expunge Your Record Criminal Mischief Charges Defense