Driving while intoxicated (DWI) occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated and under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These charges can result in very serious penalties, even for your very first offense. Not only is there the risk of significant criminal penalties, but there is also a social stigma associated with a DWI charge that can follow you for the rest of your life. Because of this, it is incredibly important to defend your case and fight for your constitutional rights.
With consequences so severe, it is important you don't face these charges alone. The Law Office of E. Jason Leach is dedicated to defending the rights of the accused. If you're facing DWI charges in the Odessa, Texas area, the Law Office of E. Jason Leach is ready to help.
Odessa, Texas DWI Defense Lawyer
E. Jason Leach focuses exclusively on criminal defense law and has been doing so for over a decade. Since 2005, he has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of those accused of driving while intoxicated. He is a Texas board-certified expert in criminal defense and believes that all clients are entitled to the most vigorous defense possible.
People accused of a crime have constitutional rights that deserve to be protected. A criminal conviction can place an incredibly heavy burden on your life, but you do not have to simply accept the charges against you. You can fight back and work to avoid the difficulties of a criminal conviction. With the right help at your side, you can move forward confident that your rights are protected.
First Time DWI in Texas
If this is the first time you have been accused of a DWI, it may even be the first time you have faced a criminal charge. The experience can be incredibly frightening, especially if you do not know how the system works, the complex rules of the legal system, and the penalties you face if you are convicted. Even a first time DWI carries the potential for significant penalties—penalties you may not have to face with the right legal defense.
In most types of cases, a first time DWI will be charged as a Class B misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a less serious charge than a felony with less serious penalties. However, a misdemeanor charge is still a criminal case, with potential jail time, fines, and impacts on your driver's license. It is also a crime that will appear on your criminal record and could significantly affect your ability to gain and maintain employment in the future.
Penalties for First DWI in Odessa
If this is your very first DWI charge and it is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, you face the following possible penalties:
- A fine of up to $2,000
- Minimum of 72 hours (three days) or up to 180 days in a county jail
- Driver's license suspension of 90 days up to one year
If this is your first DWI charge, and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.15% or over, you face heightened penalties. The charge is now a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for this more serious first time DWI include:
- A maximum possible fine of up to $4,000
- Minimum of 72 hours (three days) or up to one year in county jail
- Driver's license suspension of 90 days up to one year
If, during your first DWI charge, you are also charged with an open container violation, this is a Class B misdemeanor. It carries the same potential penalties as that for a first DWI charge, except that the minimum amount of time in jail is increased to six days.
Additional Penalties for First Time DWI
In addition to the penalties listed above, other sanctions may be imposed upon you for your first DWI in Texas. The court may require you to attend an alcohol education course or participate in alcohol or drug treatment classes. The cost of these classes will be imposed upon you, so you will not only have to spend a great deal of time in these classes but also find a way to pay for them.
You may also have an ignition interlock device installed on your motor vehicle. This device requires you to blow into it before your car will start. If it detects the presence of alcohol, the vehicle will not start and may even generate a report to your probation officer and the court.
Defending Your Case
Just because you are charged with a crime, it does not mean that you are guilty of it. There are defenses that you and your attorney can raise to defend you against these charges. A strong legal defense can result in a favorable plea deal to lesser penalties, reduction of your DWI to a less serious offense, or even dismissal of the charges against you.
Common defenses to a first time DWI include, but are not limited to:
- Challenging Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate, and if they are not properly performed they can be challenged in court.
- Challenging Breathalyzer Tests: Breathalyzer tests must be properly calibrated to work correctly. When they are not, the results can be challenged.
- File a Suppression Motion: A suppression motion keeps out evidence that was collected by law enforcement in a way that violates the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. When this evidence is thrown out of court, the prosecutor may not be able to even prove the case against you.
With the help of a highly experienced DWI defense attorney, you can use these and many other defense strategies to significantly reduce the impact of a criminal charge against you. Never assume that just because you are charged that you will have to be convicted. Prosecutors are often overzealous in looking for a conviction they cannot prove.
Consult an Experienced Odessa DWI Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you care about has been charged with a first time DWI in Odessa, TX or in the surrounding areas, you need a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to fight for your constitutional rights.
An experienced DWI defense attorney can help you build a defense that gives you the best shot at a favorable outcome. If you've been charged with a DWI in Odessa, Texas, the Law Office of E. Jason Leach, PLLC is ready to help you fight your DWI charges. To set up a free consultation contact the Law Office of E. Jason Leach today at (432) 552-7000.