Experiencing an arrest for an alleged incident involving drunk driving in Texas is a stressful and confusing event. It is reasonable to wonder why the arrest happened and what a person can do to protect themselves. At the same time, it is also reasonable to ask what happens on your first DWI in Texas.
The simple fact is that an arrest and eventual conviction for a first-time DWI is a life-changing event. Texas law says that these convictions will create a criminal record and come with a mandatory jail sentence. They also force people to pay heavy fines and come with a required license suspension. The legal team at the Law Office of Kerrisa Chelkowski is here to provide more information about how a first DWI conviction will change your life and is ready to provide a powerful defense that helps avoid this outcome.
DWIs are Criminal Matters Under Texas Law
All people who drive vehicles on public roads in Texas have an obligation to follow the local traffic laws. Among the most important of these are the prohibitions on drinking and driving. According to Texas Penal Code §49.04, it is against the law for any person to have a blood/alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more. At the same time, police officers can make arrests and bring criminal charges if their observations lead them to have probable cause that a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Understanding these two bases for DWI arrests and prosecutions can help drivers make better choices and protect themselves during traffic stops and arrests.
What Happens if a DWI Arrest Becomes a Conviction?
Texas Penal Code § 49.04(b) says that most first DWI convictions are class B misdemeanors. Under Texas law, class B misdemeanors come with the following penalties:
- A jail sentence of up to one year
- A fine of up to $2,000
However, DWI cases occupy a special area of state criminal law. The DWI statute says that a first-time DWI conviction comes with a mandatory 72-hour jail sentence. In addition, a collection of court fees and other fines can often result in these cases more than doubling the usual $2,000 maximum for class B misdemeanor convictions. Finally, if a court finds a person to be guilty of DWI, it must suspend that person’s driver’s license for at least 90 days with a maximum suspension extending to as long as one year.
Sadly, a person may feel the impact of a DWI arrest long before a case goes to trial. The Department of Motor Vehicles must suspend a person’s driver’s license for 90 days following a mere arrest upon suspicion of DWI. This means that even if a trial ends with a not-guilty verdict, or the case never goes to court, a person can feel the impact of a DWI arrest.
The Team at the Law Office of Kerrisa Chelkowski is Ready to Help People Facing First-Time DWI Cases in Texas
People who are feeling scared and intimidated following an arrest for a first-time DUI in Texas are right to be concerned. Texas law is strict concerning alleged drunk driving. Even a person with no prior criminal record will pay thousands of dollars in fines and fees, spend at least three days in jail, and lose their license for at least 90 days after a conviction.
It is vitally important that individuals take steps to protect themselves. The Law Office of Kerissa Chelkowski is here to explain the state’s DWI laws, evaluate the facts of a specific case, and provide representation during every court hearing. Reach out to them now to learn more.