Plan Before You Sauce This Holiday
DWI arrests dramatically increase between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. More than 1.5 million Americans were arrested for DWI last year with a large portion of those arrests occurring during the holiday season. Texas saw 90,066 DWI arrests last year. In fact, only California had a higher total.
In Texas, the laws defining a DWI conviction state that a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level must be at or above 0.08 percent. You may not even feel intoxicated, but you could still be arrested for driving while intoxicated. The officer may take a blood test, conduct a field sobriety test or use a Breathalyzer, and any of these tests could lead to an arrest for DWI.
The best possible way to deal with a DWI is to avoid it in the first place. That said, a good attorney (we know a couple) can help greatly decrease the long-term headache versus going through the process alone.
Once you are taken into custody, you will have to be booked-in to the jail. Since the holidays are a busy time for law enforcement, the book-in process could take a while. After book-in you are usually taken to a holding cell until an arraignment hearing is held.
A magistrate determines the bail amount by taking any criminal history into account. Keep in mind that it can take hours to see a magistrate if the arrest was made in the evening or during a holiday.
As soon as the bail amount is set, you are able to bond out. An attorney has the ability to do whatever is legally possible to speed up the process.
After jail release
Assuming you didn’t do so from jail, contact an attorney ASAP. If you have a valid license, there’s a good chance it will be suspended or revoked in an administrative license revocation hearing (ALR), but having an attorney greatly increases the chances of keeping your license. An attorney also can assist you through the rest of the DWI process and help you decide if you should go to trial or accept a plea bargain.
Thanks to a recent update in the law known as the Second Chance bill, an attorney could also help to ensure that your DWI conviction is sealed. There are some eligibility requirements, and an attorney can help you navigate the process and ensure your DWI doesn’t haunt you for the rest of your life.
Common DWI Sentences
· Suspended or revoked license
· Required participation in correctional program
· Add point to license
· Jail time
· Community service
· Statutory fees
· Car breathalyzer
Will my insurance rates increase?
Yes, most insurance providers will consider a DWI conviction as an element of a “high risk” driver.
Is a DWI a felony?
No, not usually. Most DWI convictions are misdemeanors but a DWI can become a felony if someone was killed or severely injured, if a child was in the car with you or if it is a third or fourth offense.
How much could this cost me?
Every case depends on circumstance. Related costs from a misdemeanor DWI with no prior criminal convictions may range between $5,000 and $10,000 or more.
Description of fees?
· Towing fees
· Bail fees
· Impound fees
· Court costs
· DWI fines
· Probation costs
· Attorney’s fees
· License reinstatement fees
· Increased insurance fees
Bottom Line: Even if your record is sealed, a DWI arrest will not be eligible for an expunction, will cause a financial and administrative headache for you and could have even more consequences. Taking an Uber costs less and keeps you and everyone else safe. Think twice before you hit the sauce this holiday!