Killeen DWI, DUI and DUIA Defense Lawyers
Tough defense when you’re arrested for driving under the influence in Harker Heights, Waco, Copperas Cove and across Central Texas
If you’re convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), you could face jail time, a hefty fine, the suspension of your driver’s license, installation of an interlock device in your vehicle and more. Subsequent offenses can bring more penalties. And, even an arrest without conviction can cause you to lose your license for up to two years. Having experienced legal defense on your side is critical.
At the Law Office of Mary Beth Harrell, we know that mistakes happen, and when you’re facing criminal charges, things can get stressful and confusing. Trying to sort out those mistakes can be complicated and only adds to the stress. Our Killeen criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to guiding you through the legal process and fighting for justice in the courtroom. With our DWI attorneys by your side, you can take back control of your life.
Driving while intoxicated in Texas
One of the most common offenses across the state is driving while intoxicated. In 2018, the Texas Department of Transportation reported over 900 fatalities related to drunk driving. This is why our state has stringent DWI laws, and it’s important to understand what they are – especially if you’re facing charges.
As laid out under state law, you can be found guilty of DWI if prosecution proves two things:
- You were operating a motor vehicle in a public place
- While operating the vehicle, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .08% or higher or your faculties were impaired by alcohol or drugs
Although DWI is often used interchangeably with DUI, there are some differences between the various types of acronyms used for alcohol-related vehicle offenses.
The difference between DWI and DUI/DUIA
You may have heard the terms DWI, DUI or DUIA when referring to drunk driving charges. Although these acronyms all generally mean the same thing, you should note the differences, as the charge could have some effect on the possible penalties.
A DWI is a criminal charge for driving with a .08% BAC or higher in a public place. You can also be arrested for DWI if you appear to be physically or mentally impaired by drugs or alcohol, even if you’re under a .08 BAC.
A DUI/DUIA, on the other hand, is part of Texas’ zero-tolerance policy for minors and juveniles. This means a minor can be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated for having any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while operating a vehicle in a public place.
Our attorneys have been working within the local criminal justice system for decades, and understand DWI laws inside and out. We can explain the charges against you and the potential penalties associated with your case. Then, we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work on building a strong, smart defense on your behalf.
What are the penalties for DWI in Texas?
Texas courts assign penalties for DWI offenses according to whether or not it was your first offense, as well as other factors, including whether persons were injured due to your actions. Consequences of conviction can include jail time, fines and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
If you are a repeat DWI offender, you may have additional penalties added to your sentence.
Note: As of September 2019, financial penalties for misdemeanor DWI convictions have increased.
Penalties for first-time DWI convictions with less than a .15 BAC include fines up to $2,000 and between three and 180 days in jail. You’ll also have your license suspended between 90 days to a year. This is a Class B misdemeanor. However, if your BAC was .15 or more, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor, with fines increasing to up to $4,000 and jail time of up to one year.
After a second DWI offense, you can be fined up to $4,000 and face jail time from 30 days to one year. You may also have your driver’s license suspended for 180 days to two years. This is a Class A misdemeanor.
A third offense is a third-degree felony DWI. Penalties can include fines up to $10,000, loss of license from 180 days to two years, and two to 10 years in prison. Conviction of a felony can also result in the loss of the right to own a firearm, as well as a wide variety of other collateral consequences.
A person may be charged with intoxication assault if a DWI accident occurred and someone suffered serious injury as a result. These charges are much more serious than DWI, and conviction can result in two to 10 years in prison. This is a third-degree felony, with fines up to $10,000. You can be charged with intoxication assault while operating a vehicle, boat, airplane, or operating or assembling an amusement park ride while intoxicated and causing an accident.
When a death occurs in a DWI accident, the driver can be charged with intoxication manslaughter. This is a second-degree felony and conviction can result in two to 20 years in prison, as well as fines up to $10,000. Texas law also requires those convicted of intoxication manslaughter to complete a minimum of 240 hours of community service.
Both intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter can be thought of as criminal negligence, as a crime occurred regardless of whether you had the intent to hurt anyone.
DWI with child passenger
If you have a minor under age 15 in the car and are arrested for DWI, you may be charged with DWI with Child Passenger. This enhanced charge is a state jail felony, with fines up to $10,000 and between 180 days to two years in jail.
Can I get my driver’s license back after a DWI arrest?
After you’re arrested for a DWI, you have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing. If you don’t make this request, your license will be automatically suspended – so it’s in your best interest to hire an attorney to request this hearing immediately. This hearing can restore your ability to drive until further judgement is made. This is a civil process separate than your criminal charges. Talk to our attorneys for details.
Common errors made in DWI stops and arrests
We know that if you’ve been pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, you’re probably scared and unaware of all your rights. But we also know that an arrest doesn’t mean a conviction, and that you’re innocent until proven guilty. Our attorneys have worked on enough cases to know that law enforcement doesn’t always do their job right, and when they don’t, we know how to get a case dismissed.
Many factors can lead to someone being falsely charged with a DUI or DWI. Most errors occur during the traffic stop, and some of these include:
- Breath test (Breathalyzer) malfunction or misuse
- Improper demonstration or evaluation of the Field Sobriety Tests
- Lack of probable cause for traffic stop
- Lack of probable cause to arrest the individual for DWI
- Lack of reasonable suspicion to detain the individual for DWI
- Misconduct on behalf of the police officer that made the stop
Our staff knows what errors to look for when defending our clients. Our DWI attorneys are committed to studying the minute details of a case so that we can build the best defense your behalf.
We have been able to get many DWI cases dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge throughout the state. We have saved our clients thousands of dollars in fees, fine and surcharges. We have saved their driver’s licenses from getting suspended, and saved them from a conviction that would follow them for the rest of their lives.
Smart, strategic DWI defense attorneys serving Killeen
If you’re facing drunk driving charges, you need a lawyer who knows the local prosecutors, judges and police. The Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm has been practicing law for decades, and work to protect your rights when arrested for a criminal offense. We know what it takes to defend a DWI case and we want to defend you. Let us help. Contact us today at 254-680-4655 or by filling out our contact form. We have offices in Killeen, Copperas Cove, and Waco, and handle in-custody visits for clients who cannot come to us.