When the DWI punishment exceeds the crime, call Thiessen Law Firm and get yourself one of the most respected DWI Defense Attorneys in Houston
Everyone knows Texas is tough on crime, but even native Texans can be shocked by the harsh DWI sentences our judges and juries occasionally hand down. For example, in 2018, the state of Texas sentenced a man to life in jail for a DWI incident with no injuries involved (the man was, in fact, asleep in his car in a parking lot).
Are you one of the many Houstonians who don’t know what penalties you may face when you get behind the wheel after one too many drinks? Get the real story on DWI penalties in the state of Texas and learn the smartest steps to take if you’re charged with DWI in Houston.
DWI driver’s license suspension in Texas
Let’s say you’ve just been charged with DWI in the State of Texas. Your mind might jump ahead to questions like, “How long does a DWI stay on your record?” and “Will this affect my employment opportunities?” But the thing is, if you haven’t hired an aggressive DWI defense attorney in Houston, the likelihood that you’ll be facing driving-related consequences just for being arrested, including license suspension, skyrockets.
After a DWI arrest:
Even a DWI first offense in Houston can result in a suspended driver’s license if you aren’t careful. Your Texas state driver’s license can be automatically suspended if you refuse to take either a blood or breath test as part of a roadside DWI test. (When given the option, Thiessen Law Firm typically advises Texans to take the breath test instead of refusing tests altogether.)
If you did refuse to take either a blood or breath test, you have 15 days after your initial arrest date to schedule an ALR hearing and try to save your driver’s license or else it becomes suspended. For this reason, you will need a quality DWI defense attorney such as Mark Thiessen to move quickly on your case—cheap DWI lawyers in Houston, Texas may not.
Not only can a great lawyer help you from a suspended driver’s license, they can also gain valuable insights into your case that can help you beat your case or, even better, keep it out of court altogether!
After a DWI conviction:
If you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, your prior criminal history (if there is any) will help determine how long your driver’s license is suspended (if it suspended). Note the Suspensions resulting from conviction are added on top of any suspension received at your ALR hearing.
- For a DWI first offense conviction, your license is typically suspended for a period ranging from 90 days to a year.
- The license suspension penalties for a second or even third DWI conviction would likely be more extensive, especially if your second conviction occurs within five years of your first. Up to 2 year license suspension.
- Your driver’s license can be suspended for as long as 2-5 years for repeat offense DWI convictions.
DWI and jail time in Texas
When a new client calls Thiessen Law Firm, one of the first questions they often ask is, “Can I go to jail for a DWI?” Short answer: a Texas DWI conviction can definitely earn you jail time. That said, your final sentencing will come down to a variety of factors, including the specifics of your DWI.
These factors will lead you to further questions: “Was anyone killed or injured?” “Do you have a prior criminal history?” “Was there an open container in the car?” And if there was a child in the car, “What is the penalty for DWI with a child passenger?” Should these factors apply to your case, the benefits of having a DWI defense attorney in Houston grow tenfold.
Generally speaking, first time offense DWIs not involving death or serious injury are unlikely to result in jail time. A third or fourth DWI in Texas, on the other hand, carries a significant risk for serious jail time.
DWI jail time by crime and offense level
|Conviction||Offense Level||Possible Jail Time|
|1st DWI||Class B misdemeanor||3 – 180 days|
|1st DWI w/ BAC over 0.15||Class A misdemeanor||3 days – 1 year|
|2nd DWI||Class A misdemeanor||30 days – 1 year|
|3rd DWI||3rd degree felony||2 – 10 years|
|3rd or more DWI w/ one prior felony conviction resulting in jail time||Punishable as a 2nd degree felony||2 – 20 years|
|3rd or more DWI w/ two prior felony convictions resulting in jail time||Enhanced felony punishment||25 years – life in prison|
|Intoxication manslaughter (DWI resulting in death)||2nd degree felony||2 -20 years|
|DWI w/ a child passenger (Minor less than 15 years old)||State jail felony||6 months – 2 years|
Even if you manage to avoid jail time on a second or third DWI offense, the consequences for being convicted of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated can follow you for the rest of your life. So it’s always a protip to bookmark your “DWI lawyers near me” search results for that moment an arrest happens.
How does a DWI defense attorney in Houston help you stay out of jail?
DWI defense attorneys in Houston such as Mark Thiessen at Thiessen Law Firm know DWI laws and defenses inside and out. With the right DWI defense attorney (and, in some DWI cases, a Houston criminal defense lawyer) by your side, you will be better able to take advantage of the many options and avenues for fighting your case.
For example, your Houston DWI defense attorney can help you:
- Keep your case out of the court altogether
- Reduced charges
- Spot less-than-ideal police practices that can disqualify their evidence
- Recognize when evidence is poor enough that the DA wouldn’t dare embarrass themselves by taking it to trial.
Your freedom should never be on the line
When it comes to avoiding jail time, you want the best DWI lawyer in Houston at your side. A smart, aggressive DWI defense attorney like Mark Thiessen of the Thiessen Law Firm believes that if there should be punishment, it should fit the crime.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Houston DWI attorney with a better record. Mark has achieved “not guilty” verdicts on charges that include cases from second offense DWI to intoxication manslaughter and more. Discover what a Top 100 Super Lawyer in Houston, can do for your case! Call (713) 864-9000 or fill out the form to schedule your free consultation today!
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