By Collin County Criminal Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
In Dallas and Collin County where I practice, DWI’s are statistically very winnable. Today’s blog, though, deals with what happens if you plead guilty or are found guilty at trial.
A first DWI in Texas is a Class ‘B’ misdemeanor. A first DWI conviction in Texas is not a felony. Even as a misdemeanor a conviction stays on your criminal record forever.
The punishment range for a Texas DWI is between 72 hours an 180 days of jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine.
Don’t panic! That time is usually probated — meaning you’re on probation for DWI and only if you violate your probation do you look at going back to jail. I can safely say in my experience as a prosecutor and a DWI defense lawyer the vast majority of persons arrested for DWI spend no time in jail after their original arrest. Of course, no lawyer can guarantee you any result.
With the punishment range as it is, your lawyer must admonish you that it is legally possible for you to be assessed 180 days and a $2,000 fine. This is not to minimize the consequences, but most experienced DWI lawyers in Dallas and Collin Counties will tell you that result is highly unlikely.
You should also be aware that if you’re convicted of DWI and your breath test result was a 0.15 or above, you’re legally required to have a deep lung device installed on your car for at least half of the probation period.
Beginning in September, 2011, a DWI with a blood alcohol concentration above a 0.15 is now a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year of jail — again — typically probated.
Also there is a surcharge for renewing your driver’s license of $1,000 upon conviction for 3 years following the conviction. The surcharge goes up to $2,000 per year if your breath and/or blood is a 0.16 or higher.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice please consult an attorney.