DWI / DUI Charges in Williamson County
Although Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most common misdemeanor charges in Round Rock, Georgetown and throughout Williamson County, it is also one of the most complicated. This complexity is due to issues involving traffic stops, breath/blood tests, ignition interlocks, possible driver’s license suspensions, and DPS surcharges. For example, if convicted you must pay $3-6 thousand in surcharges to DPS over a three year period to keep your Texas driver’s license.
To be guilty of DWI, a person must “operate a motor vehicle” in a “public place” while “intoxicated.” Operation of the vehicle (actual behind-the-wheel driving) is clear if the person is stopped by the police for a traffic offense, but may be less clear in other situations, for example if someone is found sleeping in their car. Highways, roads, and streets are “public places,” but other areas may not be. Even whether or not the vehicle is a “motor vehicle” can be a legal issue, for example if the person was driving a golf cart, go-cart, or scooter (all actual prior cases).
Typically, the central issue in a DWI case is whether the person was “intoxicated.” “Intoxicated” is defined by §49.01(2) of the TX Penal Code as “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; OR having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.”
In cases without a breath or blood test result, “intoxication” is essentially any combination of alcohol and/or drugs (over-the-counter, prescription, or illegal) that causes the person to lose the “normal use” of their “mental or physical faculties.” Normally, there will be a police video associated with the arrest of someone for DWI, showing the person’s driving, initial detention, and performance on the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs).
It is important to hire an attorney quickly in a DWI case because you only have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing on the suspension of your Texas driver’s license. If this hearing is not requested in a timely manner your driver’s license (or privilege to drive in Texas on a driver’s license issued by another State), will automatically be suspended 40 days after the date of your arrest. Requesting this hearing delays the suspension of your driver’s license until the date of the hearing, allowing more time to obtain discovery (police report, video tape, etc.) and an Occupational Driver’s License, which allows you to drive to and from work, school, and for ‘essential household duties.’
A 1st offense DWI (without a child passenger) is a Class-B misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or an optional fine not to exceed $2000. A 2nd offense DWI (without a child passenger) is a Class-A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or an optional fine not to exceed $4000. A 3rd (or more) offense DWI, or a 1st offense DWI with a child passenger in the vehicle, is charged as a felony.
To schedule a free 15-20 minute consultation with us to discuss your case, simply call (512) 635-4368 or click on the ‘Contact Us’ link to complete a form that will be emailed to us. At this meeting we will discuss the basic facts of your case, any possible legal defenses, and a basic strategy for handling your case. We can also discuss payment options/plans if you are unable to pay our fee in full. Once you make the decision to hire, you will need to remain at the office for about 30 additional minutes to complete the necessary paperwork and review several documents that we will provide you. When you leave our office you will have a complete packet of useful information, you will know exactly what the process will be, and you should feel confident in knowing that you have an experienced attorney to navigate you through the process and get the best possible outcome for your case.