Plano DWI Lawyer

Life can change in an instant. One minute, you’re driving home, and the next, you’re handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser, arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) and facing serious consequences such as the loss of your driver’s license, hefty fines and even jail time! And this says nothing of the embarrassment that you’re probably experiencing.

This is the reality for a large portion of drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance such as a prescription medication or an illicit drug. Many who are arrested for DWI have never been in trouble with the law before. This can make the experience even more stressful and frightening.

But there is help! At the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, our legal team has the experience and strategies required to help you minimize the negative consequences of a DWI arrest, while maximizing your chances of seeing a favorable case conclusion. But it’s important to seek help immediately. The sooner you hire a DWI lawyer, the better your chances are of seeing a positive outcome.

If you or a loved one were arrested for drunk driving or driving under the influence of another substance in Dallas, Plano or a nearby area, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass to discuss your case in a free and fully confidential consultation session. Call (972) 422-9999.

Frequently Asked Questions and Concerns Following a DWI Arrest in Collin County

It’s normal to be frightened following a DWI arrest, especially if you’ve never been on the wrong side of the law before. The experience may be especially distressing for drivers who were arrested for taking their prescribed medication exactly as the doctor ordered.

At the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, we believe by answering your questions and addressing your concerns, we can help to minimize some of the fear and stress that you’re experiencing. So we have compiled an overview of the most common questions concerning DWI arrests in Texas.

Is DWI a Misdemeanor or Felony in Collin County?

The severity of the charge will vary depending upon factors such as your criminal history (specifically, if you have prior DWI charges), whether you had a child in the vehicle or whether another person was injured or killed.

Many first-time DWI offenders are charged with a Class B misdemeanor, while repeat offenders are far more likely to be charged with a felony.

Even first offenders can be charged with a felony DWI if there was a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle; if another person was seriously injured; or if another person was killed as a result of your alleged actions.

What’s the Legal Limit for Alcohol in Texas?

Like many states, Texas has a few different blood alcohol content (BAC) limits.

  • For a driver age 21 or older, the BAC limit is .08.
  • For a driver under age 21, the BAC limit is .02.
  • For a commercial driver, the BAC limit is .04.
Will I Lose My License if I’m Arrested for Drunk Driving?

DWI LawyerMany clients are understandably concerned about the possibility of losing their driver’s license due to a DUI. The general rule is that your license will be suspended if you register with a BAC of .08 or higher on a test, if you refuse testing or if you are convicted.

Texas has implied consent laws for chemical tests, so if you refuse to take the test, you typically face a fine and an automatic 180-day license suspension for a first offense or two years for a second or third offense.

Typically, the administrative license revocation begins 40 days after you’re notified. It’s typical to receive notification when you are arrested. The suspension typically last 90 days for first-time offenders. If your license is suspended, you typically need to pay a reinstatement fee in order to get your driving privileges restored.

But it is possible to avoid losing your license after a DWI by requesting an administrative hearing, which will be conducted by the Texas Office of Administrative Hearings. Our law firm can help you request a hearing, but you must act soon because you only have 15 days to make the request! Your DWI lawyer can help guide you through this process, in addition to representing you during court proceedings.

What are the Texas DWI Penalties? Will I Have to Go to Jail for a DWI?

Many clients are understandably concerned about the potential for jail time, but this where you can benefit from having an experienced attorney to defend your case.

For a first-time DWI offense, jail time is possible (the range is 3 to 180 days), but the judge may opt for probation instead. It’s typical to be court-ordered to complete a DWI education program and a rehab evaluation. You may also be sentenced to perform community service and/or pay a fine of up to $2,000 (unless there was a child under age 15 in the vehicle. This carries a higher fine.)

It’s also common for first-time DWI offenders to face a license suspension between 90 to 365 days and higher insurance premiums. Drivers who are convicted of a first offense are typically required to pay a $1,000 annual fee for three years – a DWI surcharge as part of the Driver Responsibility Program with the Texas Department of Transportation. The fee is increased to $2,000 annually for drivers with a BAC of .16 or greater. Failure to pay this fee within 30 days can result in license revocation.

In cases where a first-time offender had a blood alcohol content of .15 or greater, it’s common for the courts to order the installation of an ignition interlock device. An IID is standard for subsequent offenses.

Generally, subsequent offenses tend to carry far more serious penalties. But your attorney will work hard to bring about the best possible outcome to your case.

What Type of DUI Cases Does Your Law Firm Handle?

Our law firm defends clients who are accused of many different DUI-related crimes, including:

  • First-time DWI offenses
  • Second offense DWI
  • Third offense DWI/felony DWI
  • Multiple DUIs
  • DUI cases involving a minor
  • Intoxication assault
  • Intoxication manslaughter

Many clients also have concerns about the cost of hiring a DUI lawyer. Each case is unique in terms of complexity and the amount of time and work required to resolve the matter. So we review each case individually to provide you with an accurate idea of cost.

Is a DWI a felony or misdemeanor in the state of Texas?

If you are charged with your first offense of DUI or driving while under the influence, your charge may be considered a misdemeanor. However, some states even consider second and third offenses for DUI misdemeanors depending on the court. The courts may require a period of seven to ten years between each offense.

You will be charged with Felony DUI if:

  • Serious physical harm or bodily injury occurred.
  • A fatality occurred because of the crime.
  • The defendant had a BAC or Blood Alcohol Content over the legal limit.
  • The defendant had prior DUI arrests or convictions.
  • A passenger was a minor or below a certain age
  • The defendant was driving on a suspended, restricted, or revoked license.
Are DWI checkpoints legal in Collin County?

According to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as Americans, we have rights that protect us against unreasonable searches and seizures. Much of the time, a search is considered reasonable if the police have probable cause to believe that it is necessary. However, courts do not view searches and seizures that intrusive or random as a reasonable or necessary. Despite the protections of the Fourth Amendment, DUI checkpoints remain an acceptable application of law. The process of stopping each car and questioning the drivers is considered a seizure since the driver is pulled over against their will and prevented to leave until the officer gives them permission to do so. DUI checkpoints were found to be a valid and legal form of police work in a 1990 Supreme Court decision because law enforcement officers stop and question every single driver at a DUI checkpoint without any reason to suspect them of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Although at first glance, it would seem like the police do not have probable cause to stop people at a DUI checkpoint because it is a seizure of the drivers.

Can you get a DWI in Plano without a driver’s license?

Yes, it is possible to receive a DWI even if you do not possess a legal driver’s license. Not only is driving without a valid driver’s license illegal, but it is an aggravating factor. If you charged with a DWI and you do not have a license, you need a criminal defense attorney who can help protect you against fines, court costs, fees, and prison time. Once convicted, you will not be allowed to apply for or receive a driver’s license for up to 5 years or more.

What are consequences of a DWI conviction in Collin County?

There are severe consequences for DWI convictions, including fines, time in jail or prison, and a criminal record that could cost your current job, future employment opportunities, and the ability to buy a home in certain areas. Legal ramifications for DWI can last for years. Most drivers are only aware of the immediate consequences of a DWI charge, such as a suspended license, fines, fees, court costs, probation, programs related to drunk driving, community service, and more expensive insurance premiums, court-mandated community service, and even jail or prison time.

The following penalties are commonly associated with DUI convictions:

  • Driver’s License Revocation- The first offense for a DWI conviction can result in your driver’s license being revoked for up to 2 years.
  • Background Checks- Many employers conduct criminal background checks on new employees before deciding to hire them. A misdemeanor or felony DWI conviction will be clearly indicated on your background check.
  • Employment- Your current position or job can also be negatively affected by an arrest and conviction for DUI. The process is time-consuming due to numerous court dates, community service hours, and a possible jail sentence can cost you your job, as well as future employment opportunities.
  • Auto Insurance Rates- Once you are convicted of a DUI conviction, your car insurance premiums tend to increase because the insurance company now considers you a “high-risk” driver; therefore, a greater liability for an accident or another arrest.
  • Professional Relationships- After a DUI arrest, whether you are guilty or not, the arrest alone could impact your relationships with friends and family, as well as how you are viewed by your colleagues, peers, and employer.
Can you get a DWI for drugs?

Yes. If you are caught driving under the influence of drugs in Texas, including illegal drugs and prescription drugs, you can be arrested and charged with a DWI. According to the Texas Penal Code Section 49.01, operating a motor vehicle while impaired is strictly prohibited by state law. These charges are based on how intoxicated you are at the time of your arrest. The police will examine your physical and mental faculties through a series of tests, as well as administer a breath test to measure the level of drugs or alcohol in your body. Using multiple drugs and alcohol at the same time increases the likelihood of an adverse reaction, like an overdose, caused by a combination of two or more substances.

In Texas, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs, no questions asked. If there are any drugs in your system while you are operating an automobile, you can be convicted of a DUI. Since there is no established standard for blood testing in the state, most drivers are arrested for even small amounts of drugs in their bloodstream. If you are facing DUI charges for drugs, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately.

How does a field sobriety test work in Texas?

A field sobriety test gives police officers the opportunity to observe someone’s mental and physical abilities to find out whether they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This test includes examining a suspect’s eye jerking, balance, coordination, and attention span, as well as additional factors that can be used to determine whether they are intoxicated.

During these tests, a police officer will document the suspect’s results, which can be used against the driver in Court. The results of field sobriety tests are considered evidence in DWI cases, and this evidence is generally upheld during an appeal. These tests are used to ensure that law enforcement has probable cause to arrest a driver who appears to be intoxicated.

Across the country, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) endorses the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) which includes:

Walk and Turn: This test measures an impaired person’s focus and ability to concentrate. The officer will instruct the suspect to walk in a straight line for nine steps (heel-to-toe), turn around on either their left or right foot, and then take another nine steps in the opposite direction in the same manner.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: When a person is intoxicated, the involuntary eye jerking or nystagmus that naturally occurs becomes more exaggerated. Police officers examine this eye jerking by having the suspect follow an object that is moved side to side. During this test, the police are looking for three distinct characteristics that indicate that the driver is impaired by alcohol: eye jerking within 45 degrees of the pupil, visible movements when the suspect shifts their gaze, and whether they can follow the object smoothly.

One-Leg Stand: The police will also instruct the suspect to balance on one foot while holding the opposite foot approximately six inches off the ground for 30 seconds. Indicators that the driver is intoxicated includes losing their balance, swaying, attempting to straighten their arms to balance, jumping, hoping, or placing their foot down before the 30 seconds is over.

Do you have to take a field sobriety test when asked?

You can refuse a field sobriety test. However, you will most likely be subject to another sort of test, like a breath or blood test.

What is the difference between DWI and DUI in Collin County?

Although DWI and DUI are similar, the main difference between each charge involves the driver’s age and penalties. In Texas, drivers who are 21 years old or older and operating an automobile while legally intoxicated can be arrested and convicted of DWI. Whereas, if a driver is under 21 years old and caught driving while under the influence of alcohol, then they can be arrested and convicted of DUI. Regardless of how much alcohol is in their system, a minor is considered impaired if they have consumed any amount of alcohol before they drive a motor vehicle.

Under state law, suspects charged with DWI and DUI in Texas also face different penalties. A driver who is convicted of their first offense for DWI could be sentenced to 3 to 180 days in jail, lose their driver’s license for up to 1 year, receive a $2,000 fine, and pay an annual fee of $2,000 for three years to reinstate their driver’s license. Further, if a minor is convicted of DUI, their punishment can result in a $500 fine, a suspended license for up to 60 days, court-mandated community service (20-40 hours), and completion of an alcohol awareness program.

Trust Our Texas DWI Defense Lawyers to Represent Your Case

DWI LawyerIf you’ve been arrested for driving while intoxicated, you have a lot at stake. The loss of your driving privileges alone can, in turn, result in the loss of your job and an inability to provide for your family. The consequences can be costly, taking a toll in many areas of your life.

With over 20 years of experience, the elite legal team at The Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass will fight aggressively to help you maintain your driving privileges, your freedom, and your good reputation. Our practice founder has also served as a U.S. Navy Judge Advocate (JAG), in addition to achieving an AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. We have defended cases all the way to the United States Supreme Court, so we know precisely what it takes to launch a successful and highly strategic defense.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for DWI in Dallas, Plano, or the surrounding region, contact the defense lawyers with the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass to discuss your case in a fully confidential, no-cost case consultation. Call (972) 422-9999.