A person's first arrest for allegedly driving while intoxicated (DWI) often marks his or her first time dealing with the criminal justice system. Individuals who are facing drunk driving charges for the first time have many perfectly understandable concerns about possible jail sentences, the costs of resolving criminal cases, and the long-term consequences of the arrests.
While DWI (also known as driving under the influence or DUI) arrests are relatively common in Texas, convictions are not automatic. Prosecutors are still required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of alleged offenders, and certain errors by the law enforcement agencies that handled the arrests can often impact the evidence that can be submitted in these cases.
Lawyer for First DWI Arrests in Brownsville, TX
If you were recently arrested for your first drunk driving offense anywhere in South Texas, it will be in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. The Gracia Law Firm aggressively defends clients arrested for DWI in communities throughout Cameron County, Hidalgo County, and Willacy County.
Brownsville criminal defense attorney Jonathan Gracia was born and raised in Brownsville, and he also serves as a Justice of the Peace in Cameron County. Call (956) 504-2211 right now to have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of First DWI Crimes in Cameron County
- When will a person be charged with DWI?
- What are the consequences of being convicted of drunk driving in Texas?
- Where can I learn more about first DWI in Brownsville?
Texas Penal Code § 49.04 establishes that a person commits a DWI offense if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. The term intoxicated is defined by Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2) as meaning:
- not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or
- having an alcohol concentration (also known as blood or breath alcohol concentration or BAC) of 0.08 or more.
When a person is arrested for DWI because his or her BAC was 0.08 or higher, it is referred to as a “per se DWI” (per se is the Latin phrase for "by itself" or "in itself") offense. In other words, evidence of a BAC of 0.08 or greater is evidence in and of itself of a DWI violation, regardless of whether the alleged offender had normal use of mental or physical faculties. If a person is arrested based more on the first definition of intoxicated as it relates to normal use of mental or physical faculties (possibly while having a BAC of less than 0.08), the proof of intoxication is far more subjective and convictions can be more difficult to obtain.
In most cases, a first DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor offense that carries a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours. If the alleged offender also had an open container of alcohol in his or her immediate possession while operating a motor vehicle, the minimum term of confinement is six days.
A first DWI can become a Class A misdemeanor if the suspect had a BAC of 0.15 or more. Maximum sentences for first DWI convictions are as follows:
- Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000; or
- Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
DWI convictions can also carry many other additional punishments, including driver’s licenses being suspended for a minimum of 90 days. Additional requirements may include community service, annual Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Driver Responsibility Surcharges, mandatory completion of DWI school, and installation of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) on all vehicles owned or operated by the alleged offenders.
Sober Rides — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) launched the Sober Rides website to combat drunk driving by providing Texans with options for getting home. Use this website to phone a friend, call a cab or rideshare service, or find alternate modes of transportation. You can also learn more about why you should make a plan as well as the laws and losses of DWI in Texas.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) — MADD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with roughly 600 chapters nationwide. On this website, you can learn more about the organization’s Texas chapter. Find information about upcoming events, view statistics related to drunk driving, and read recent news.
The Gracia Law Firm | Brownsville First DWI Defense Attorney
Were you arrested for drunk driving in the Rio Grande Valley? Make sure that you contact The Gracia Law Firm as soon as possible.
Jonathan Gracia is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Brownsville who represents individuals in Willacy County, Cameron County, and Hidalgo County. He can review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (956) 504-2211 or fill out an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.