If you’re arrested for driving while intoxicated in Austin, Texas, you could be facing some serious penalties. The legal and financial consequences of your arrest could affect you for the rest of your life.
Because of this, it’s important that you hire a reliable, experienced, and qualified Austin DUI attorney. So continue reading and we’ll walk you through the kinds of punishments you could be facing and how a good attorney could help you avoid these harsh penalties.
Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated
Across 49 states, anyone who drives with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is considered to be driving drunk. In Utah, that amount was recently lowered to .05. However, you could be arrested for driving while intoxicated even if your BAC is lower than the legal threshold.
If you’re stopped on the road by an officer and refuse to take a breath or blood test, then your license will be automatically suspended for 180 days.
If this is your first DWI offense, then you could be facing:
- Loss of driver’s license up to a year
- Three days to 180 days in jail
- A fine of up to $2,000
A second offense may result in:
- Loss of driver’s license up to two years
- One month to a year in jail
- A fine of up to $4,000
After more than two DWI convictions in a span of fewer than five years, you’ll have to install a special ignition switch in your car. This will stop you from being able to drive your car if you’ve been drinking.
How Can an Austin DUI Attorney Help?
As we can see, the penalties that come with being arrested for a DWI can be considered quite harsh. Hiring a DUI attorney can help you fight these charges and lessen the severity of the punishments.
Going to Trial
While you certainly are allowed to represent yourself in a DWI trial, it’s hardly ever a good idea. Learning how to properly represent someone in court is not easy and generally comes with a lot of experience.
A lack of trial skills and legal knowledge could put you at a serious disadvantage in the courtroom. And judges tend to not have much sympathy or patience for people who represent themselves without knowing the rules of the court.
Because of this, if you want to go to trial, it’s in your best interest to have a professional attorney by your side.
Negotiating a Plea Bargain
When your BAC is only slightly over the legal limit, you may be able to enter a plea bargain. In this kind of situation, the prosecutor could be willing to charge you with a lesser offense than DWI.
Also, a plea bargain tends to be more attainable when the prosecutor feels that they don’t have a strong enough case against you or that the events that took place don’t warrant a trial.
In some instances, the prosecution might lessen the DWI offense to just reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor offense in Texas.
Your lawyer might also be able to help by getting your sentence reduced. In exchange for pleading guilty, you might be able to receive a shorter sentence than what you would’ve received without entering a plea bargain.
Just because you were arrested for driving while intoxicated doesn’t mean you’re automatically guilty. Believe it or not, your case might not actually be as clear cut as the prosecution wants you to believe. There are other factors that could have impacted the results of chemical tests or field sobriety tests.
Chemical tests can sometimes provide false-positive results. This could be due to an inaccurate reading because of an officer’s lack of familiarity with the technology or a defective Breathalyzer device. The device also might not have been calibrated properly.
When it comes to field sobriety tests, there are a number of factors that could’ve been working against you. For example, a balancing test can yield a negative result because of a person’s footwear, the level of the ground, or inner ear complications.
Failure to properly repeat letters or words can be due to problems with the English language or literacy issues rather than from consuming alcohol.
An experienced DUI attorney would be able to look over all of these factors in order to find the right defense for your case.
Help with the Process
Navigating the court process isn’t something that comes naturally to the everyday person. An attorney can help make sure that you’re prepared for court and they will go over what is to be expected of you. They can also assist you with completing some requirements before your court appearance.
For example, your attorney might be able to help you obtain sr-22 car insurance and file the necessary documents with the department of motor vehicles. Your lawyer might also have you complete an alcohol treatment or education program that’s required by the state so that you can regain your driving privileges.
While your attorney might not always be able to get you off scot-free, they will certainly help ensure that the court process goes smoothly and that your driving privileges will be restored as quickly as possible.
The Importance of Using an Austin DUI Attorney
The best way to avoid a DUI charge is to never drink and drive and obey all of the rules of the road. However, if you ever find yourself face-to-face with a breathalyzer or some other sobriety test, it’s crucial that you contact an experienced Austin DUI attorney.
If you’re looking for a reliable attorney, then contact us today and see how we can help you!