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San Antonio DWI Lawyers

beat a DWI charge san antonio

If you have been charged with a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in San Antonio, it’s critical for you to assert your constitutional rights immediately. The State is working on your conviction right now. You need to start fighting back right now.

A first time DWI offense is either a Class A or Class B Misdemeanor, depending on the BAC (blood alcohol concentration). The penalties for a first time DWI offense are serious, and can include:

  • Up to 365 days in jail
  • Up to a $4,000 fine
  • A Texas Driver’s License suspension of  up to 2 years
  • DPS fees in excess of $3,000
  • An alcohol monitoring device installed in vehicles and elsewhere
  • A lifelong criminal conviction which can negatively impact college admissions, military eligibility, employment opportunities, travel, and immigration status.

Unlike DUI (DUI is actually a different offense in Texas) a person can’t get Deferred Adjudication when charged with DWI. That means it’s win or go home with a conviction — or to jail.

This guide is a crash course in the basics of DWI. If you have follow-up questions or are ready to start building a high-caliber defense, contact me now for a free consultation.

 

 

Understanding DWI Laws in Texas

San Antonio DWI Lawyer

To build a powerful defense, you must first know exactly what you’re up against.

The State has to overcome the highest burden of proof in Texas in order to obtain a DWI conviction.

The State  must prove every element of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) as defined in Texas Penal Code Title 10 Chapter 49: Sec. 49.04. DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED. (a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

  • Intoxicated: The law defines “intoxicated” as having lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of any substance including alcohol or a drug or a combination of the two or having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater.
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle: It is important to note, the word “driving” does not appear in the definition and operation is somewhat broadly interpreted. If the keys are in the ignition, and the vehicle is on, that can be enough.
  • Public Place: A “Public place” is defined in Section 1.07 of the Texas Penal Code as any place where the public or a significant portion of the public has access. This includes neighborhoods and the parking lot at Whataburger.

And they must prove everything beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many different burdens of proof in our criminal justice system, and beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest, and hardest to overcome.

Part of building a powerful defense is holding the State to account for every detail, every element that they are trying to tie together to meet that burden.


How to Beat a DWI Charge

I always aim for dismissal.

  • It doesn’t matter how awful you think the evidence is.
  • It doesn’t matter how bad you think the situation may be.
  • It doesn’t matter if you don’t even remember.

My goal is to get your case dismissed outright.

Sometimes a dismissal doesn’t have anything to do with you. It has to do with the actions of law enforcement. Every DWI case starts with two things:

Reasonable Suspicion

The best place to start is at the beginning.

The officer who pulled you over needed a valid reason (reasonable suspicion) to do so.

Most law enforcement vehicles are equipped with video, and most officers are either wearing body cameras or have some wireless audio recording device on their person.

This technology is crucial in tracking the consistency (or identifying the inconsistency) between what the officer said they saw you do, and what you did.

Officers are also often wrong about the law.

I have had cases dismissed because an officer cited a traffic violation as the reason for a stop, when, in fact, that particular traffic violation does not exist. You could be 5 times the legal limit. If the stop is bad, your case will be dismissed.

Probable Cause for Arrest

Even if the stop was “good” – i.e., you were speeding, or ran a stop sign, or red light – the officer still must have probable cause to arrest you. It is important to note that probable cause is a much lower standard than the burden of proof the State must overcome to convict you.

Most officers are going to use the traffic stop encounter to begin investigating whether or not you have been drinking and are impaired. Especially if you are stopped at night.

Click here for a field guide on what to do if you are pulled over.

Even if an officer had a good reason to pull you over, he or she cannot then simply arrest you for DWI. Without evidence of impairment, the arrest can be suppressed. If the arrest is suppressed your case will be dismissed.

You can read about more ways to combat a DWI charge below.


DWI Consequences

While DWI is extremely common, it is a costly offense with serious consequences.

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.

DWI – 1st Offense

A first time DWI offense is a class B Misdemeanor, which has a punishment range of 3 -180 days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine, Texas Driver’s License suspension for up to 2 years, and an annual DPS fees in excess of $3,000.

DWI – 1st Offense with an Open Container

DWI with an open container is a Class B Misdemeanor, which has a punishment range of 6 -180 days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine, Texas Driver’s License suspension for up to 2 years, and DPS fees in excess of $3,000.

DWI – 1st Offense with a BAC .15 or Higher

A first time offense with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher is a Class A Misdemeanor, which is punishable by 3-365 days in jail, up to a $4,000 fine, Texas Driver’s License suspension for up to 2 years, and DPS fees in excess of $3,000.

DWI – 2nd Offense

A second DWI offense (DWI-Repeat Offender) is a Class A Misdemeanor, and is punishable by 30-365 days in jail, up to a $4,000 fine, Texas Driver’s License suspension for up to 2 years, and DPS fees in excess of 3,000.

DWI with a Child Passenger

DWI with a Child Passenger is a State Jail Felony, which is punishable by 180 days – 2 years in a Texas State Jail facility, up to a $10,000 fine, Texas Driver’s License suspension for up to 2 years, and DPS fees in excess of 3,000.

DWI 3rd Offense or More

A third DWI (Habitual DWI) is a 3rd Degree Felony, which carries with it a punishment range of 2 – 10 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) penitentiary, up to a $10,000 fine, Texas Driver’s License suspension for up to 2 years, and DPS fees in excess of $3,000.00

DWI Probation

DWI offenses are not eligible for Deferred Adjudication in Texas. Therefore, if you receive probation you will have a lifelong conviction for the underlying DWI offense. The likelihood of DWI probation is entirely dependent on your history and the facts of your case.

Most all DWI probations include, but are not limited to monthly reporting to probation officer, restricted travel, up to a $4,000 fine, court costs, probation monitoring fees, DWI intervention or education programs, an alcohol monitoring device, and community service hours.


Pre-Trial Conditions: Ignition Interlock, Smart Start, etc.

DWI Pre Trial Conditions Ignition Interlock Smart Start

Most everyone facing a DWI charge is released on bond.

You can be released on:

  • a Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond
  • a Bail Bond through a bail bondsman, or
  • an Attorney Bond

There are typically very few bond requirements when facing your first DWI charge. If, however, you are facing an enhanced DWI because of your BAC or otherwise, you will likely have additional, burdensome, expensive requirements. For example:

  • Installation of ignition interlock in all vehicles you drive
  • Required to carry a Smart Start Mobile Device on your person, and blow into it periodically throughout the day, every day.
  • Frequent drug testing

Daily blow requirements can be an enormous inconvenience as well as a prime opportunity for you to mess up. A mistake can result in a violation. A violation, depending on your judge, can result in your bond being increased, which means you will be re-arrested, and or have additional, more stringent pre-trial conditions added, such as drug testing or the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) device.

Failure at the pre-trial level can negatively impact your pending criminal case outcome as well.


Understanding Field Sobriety Tests

Understanding DWI Field Sobriety Tests

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed a set of Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST). These are psychophysical tests administered by law enforcement to determine if an individual is under the influence of alcohol.

The SFSTs consist of three tests:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
  • Walk-and-Turn
  • One-Leg Stand

These tests are meant to be administered and evaluated/scored in a standardized way in order to obtain validated clues of impairment. The officer uses these clues to establish probable cause for arrest. Learn the 10 Steps to Follow if Pulled over for DWI in San Antonio.

Learn More About Field Sobriety Tests

Blood / Breath Tests

After being arrested for DWI, you will be read the DIC 24 statutory warning. The officer must read this first before requesting a specimen of breath or blood.

When the officer finishes, you immediately have to answer YES or NO.

If you refuse, the officer cannot force you to take a breath test. People often ask if they legally have to submit to testing at all, and if so, which test to do. Remember, as outlined above (link to implied consent) you have a right to refuse, but that refusal may result in a license suspension.

In some Texas counties, a refusal means the State will not obtain a specimen to use against you at trial. Other counties, like Bexar County, for example, have DWI No Refusal policies.

The No Refusal policy means that if a person refuses to give breath and blood, the officer can get a Search Warrant and forcefully withdraw the blood. If you don’t comply, a warrant is signed they will literally hold you down or strap you down and withdraw blood.

One of the benefits of refusal is that it forces the Government to further articulate what they are looking for, why, and what they intend to do with it. This creates an opportunity to further challenge the conclusions of the officer.

If you aren’t showing signs of intoxication, haven’t admitted to drinking, and (smartly) refused the SFSTs, whatever basis they’ve formed to draw your blood might be a pretty weak one.


DWI Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a DWI in Texas cost?
Too much.  If convicted, in addition to thousands of dollars in fines, fees, and other expenses, the lifelong cost of a criminal conviction is immeasurable.

Spending money on representation while you are charged with DWI, could save you thousands of dollars in the short term, and who-knows-how-much in the long term. Texas law prevents people charged with DWI from applying for Deferred Adjudication. So, if you don’t “get out” of the DWI, then you are stuck with a criminal conviction.

How long does DWI stay on your record in Texas?
If you do nothing, a DWI conviction will stay on your record forever. Although, in 2017 the Texas Legislature passed a law allowing for certain individuals to seal their DWI conviction if certain qualifications are met.

Find out if your DWI conviction is eligible to be sealed.

Is a DWI in Texas a misdemeanor or felony?
DWI and DWI 2nd are misdemeanor offenses in Texas. Among other things, each can carry up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine, depending on your BAC.

A DWI third or more is a felony offense. The punishment range and consequences increase significantly.

Will a DWI affect a background check?
Yes, absolutely.

If you were charged with DWI and subsequently received an acquittal or dismissal, the record of the criminal charge still exists. It can be successfully, removed, however.

Is it worth fighting a DWI charge?
You can’t win if you don’t fight. I don’t care how bad you think it is – your situation is not hopeless. Choosing a DWI defense attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make.

If you are facing criminal charges, your freedom, reputation, and future are on the line. I believe that everyone – no matter what the allegation – deserves a relentless defense. Every case is different, but my goal from the beginning is always the same: get the charge dismissed outright.

DWI is a serious charge, and you need a serious, experienced lawyer in your corner. It can be the difference between a temporary inconvenience and a permanent criminal record.

Don’t jeopardize your future by trying to go it alone or with a court appointed attorney that’s getting paid the same no matter what happens to you.

What happens if I plead guilty to a DWI charge?
Pleading guilty should be a choice of last resort. Pleading guilty to a DWI, even a first offense, results in a life-long criminal conviction.
Can you go to jail for a DWI?
A DWI 1st with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of a .14 or lower carries up to six months in jail, up to a $2000 fine, as well as a driver’s license suspension, other fines, court costs, fees, and a lifelong criminal conviction.

A DWI with a blood alcohol concentration of a .15 or higher carries up to one year in jail, up to a $4000 fine, as well as a driver’s license suspension, other fines, court costs, fees, and a lifelong criminal conviction.


DWI Testimonials

We hired Trey Porter to assist us last year. From the initial consultation up to and including the court hearing, Trey had a straight forward approach to the situation at hand. He explained everything along the way and was available at any time to discuss/answer any questions we had either by phone/text/email. With his experience and professionalism, we obtained the best outcome possible. We would highly recommend Trey Porter with no hesitation whatsoever. Five stars is definitely not enough!

-R Valdez
Review From Google

 

Trey Porter is amazing at what he does! He’s extremely knowledgeable with the laws and will give it his all. Down to earth, and understanding; he is my favorite and best lawyer by far!

-Violet Gonzales
Review From Google

 

Trey is the man! I hired him because I had overheard a county court judge mentioning how awesome of an attorney he is, so if an endorsement from a judge won’t convince you then I’m not sure what will. I sure do hope I never find myself in a pickle ever again but if I do, I would hire Trey in a heartbeat. He’s honest, transparent, doesn’t beat around the bush, and will work tirelessly so that your clean record stays clean and unblemished. 5 stars, highly recommend!

–Joey Psykosis
Review From Google

 

I recently hired Trey Porter Law to help our teenage daughter with a drug charge. In the state of Texas she was being charged as an adult which carried a much stiffer penalty. Trey is very responsive, helpful, knowledgeable and is always available to answer any questions or concerns via phone, text or email. He was able to negotiate on her behalf so it was a pleasant experience. I would highly recommend Trey Porter Law.

–Wendy C.
Review From Google

 

Trey really helped me out. He was straight forward and professional, and really helped me in my case. I thought i was going to lose my job, but trey did everything in his power to help me keep my way of life, and still keeps up with me any details on my case. I really appreciated all he did for me.

–Juan Lopez
Review From Google

 

Best lawyer thus far, highly recommend him, helped me get out of a sticky, stressful situation and ended up getting the case dismissed; we worked hard for about 8 months. 👍 Appreciate you man !

–Justin Sanchez
Review From Google

 

Trey is a phenomenal attorney that gets the job done right! He is dedicated to help his clients.
He made himself available and answered all my concerns immediately! I had faith in him and he continued to prove his expertise by helping me. I highly recommend Trey Porter!!

–Bindia Patel
Review From Google

 

I was wrongfully charged with a crime. I hired Trey after a recommendation from a family friend. He was very thorough, and he got my case dismissed. I am grateful. 5 Stars FOR SURE!

–Mark
Review From Avvo

 

Trey Porter fought for me! I am a nurse and thought my career was over. Very thankful I got Trey Porter involved.

He responds to messages regularly and was very thorough. He saved my career. Forever grateful!

–Stevie
Review From Avvo

 

Trey Porter came recommended by my boss. When I hired him he was very friendly and explained the details of my situation with no bs.

He was able to get me out of my DWI, and I am forever grateful. Would give him 100 Stars if I could. God bless.

–Alina
Review From Avvo

 

Visiting from out of town and got arrested for Pub Intoxx. Trey promised a stress-free, turnkey experience and that’s what I received. Well worth the money and highly recommended.

–David
Review From Avvo

 

I hired Trey Porter and was totally impressed with him. I found him after reading google reviews and checking out his website. He was awesome. 5 stars Mr Trey!!!!

–Kristin
Review From Avvo

 

Best lawyer I have ever had. Super professional. Super knowledgeable. Hiring Trey was the difference in keeping // losing my career. Grateful && recommending him to everyone.

–Richard
Review From Avvo

 

Trey Porter got my DWI DISMISSED! I was scared, anxious, and at my wits end. Trey was very confident, and calming. He formulated a game plan and executed it. I have my life back, and could not be more grateful. Hire Trey Porter!!!!!!!!

–Chad
Review From Avvo

 

Trey came highly recommended to me by a colleague. He lived up to his reputation — highly responsive, organized, professional and always gave me a good feeling when I saw him enter the court.

–Quentin
Review From Avvo

View All Reviews

    National Trail Lawyers

    AVVO Client's Choice Winner

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    I hired Mr. Trey Porter after getting a D.U.I. Was very much scared because I am a nurse and thought I would lose my livelihood. Mr Porter was reassuring and kind. He was also very confident.

    Stephen, October 2017

    Mr Porter was recommended to me by a coworker. He helped her out of a DWI 3 years ago, and he did the same for me.

    Sammy, September 2017

    Mr. Porter is very professional, he works diligently, efficiently, is in constant contact, and prompt!!! The key ingredients for a great lawyer.

    Sheila Torres, July 2018

    Trey is one of the best in the business. I was in complete shock of the outcome for the case, the best scenario was achieved in a not so great situation. Would absolutely recommend to everyone.

    Stacey Reyes, November 2018

    Trey is a phenomenal attorney that gets the job done right! He is dedicated to helping his clients. He made himself available and answered all my concerns immediately!

    Bindia, March 2018