DWI While Visiting San Antonio
Did You Receive a DWI while visiting San Antonio? Here are your options.
San Antonio is one of the most visited cities in Texas. While some visitors do not drive or rent a vehicle while here, many do. Law enforcement in San Antonio is very serious when it comes to Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).
Many visitors that are charged with DWI while in San Antonio are worried this already difficult process will be made even more difficult by the fact that they do not live in the county, or even in Texas. If you are one of those people, here is what you need to know:
In Texas, a DWI has Serious Consequences
A first offense DWI is a class B Misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $2,000.00 and up to 6 months in jail. If your blood alcohol content is found to be more than twice the legal limit, the charge is enhanced from a Class B Misdemeanor to a Class A Misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $4,000.00 and up to 1 year in jail.
If you have been charged with DWI in San Antonio, but do not live in San Antonio, you will still be required to attend your scheduled court date. Even if you hire an attorney to represent you, you must appear. Failure to appear will result in a warrant for your arrest.
How Long Will the DWI Process Take?
If you gave a specimen of your blood, it may take a few months for the State to file the case against you. Many times people are frustrated by the delay. The delay is typically due to the State waiting for the blood results to come back. Statutorily, the State has up to 2 years to file a DWI case.
I’ve had many out-of-town clients ask if they can fly in for the first court date, enter a plea and move on. If the case has been filed, then the answer is yes. If the State is waiting on evidence to file the case, the answer is no.
If the case is filed by your first court date, then you very likely will be able to take a plea on that day if you wish to do so. As a rule, I would say it is always better to fully review the evidence and negotiate for some time with the State before taking a plea. Doing this may involve multiple settings. Weighed against the burdens and impracticalities of travel, waiting may not be worth it.
Can I get San Antonio DWI Dismissed?
Depending on your criminal history, if you have a blood alcohol content that is below twice the legal limit, and you were not involved in accident while driving, it may be possible to reduce your charge to something other than DWI. The benefit of this is that in Texas a DWI is not eligible for deferred adjudication.
Other offenses, like Obstruction of a Highway, for example, are eligible for deferred adjudication. This means that you may be eligible to participate in a probation term, and eventually (upon successful completion) have your case dismissed.
No Pre-Trial Diversion for DWI in San Antonio
It is important to note that DWIs are also eligible for Pre Trial Diversion, whereby a person participates in a probation-type program before entering a plea, and upon successful completion, the case is dismissed. This scenario allows for the arrest to be expunged. The end result is a clean record.
Unfortunately, however, our current District Attorney has been unwilling to offer this program to defendants here in Bexar County. It is available in some other Texas counties, but not Bexar.
The other likely scenario is a DWI conviction, with a punishment that includes probation, but not jail time. To be clear, a person can go to jail for a DWI in Bexar County. It is, however, unlikely. If you have criminal history, or if the incident that led to your DWI charge involved some aggravating factors like a wreck, property damage, or injury to another person, you may not be eligible for a reduction as discussed above. In this case, you will likely have to enter a plea to DWI.
If you get probation, you may transfer it to your home county or state. If you live in Texas, it is likely that your home county will take on the supervision of your probation.
Fight Your San Antonio DWI Today
You can’t win if you don’t fight. If you’ve been charged with a DWI in San Antonio, I don’t care how bad you think it is – your situation is not hopeless. Choosing a criminal defense attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make.
Get the defense you deserve — schedule a free consultation today.