Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is an offense that can happen to anyone who likes to enjoy a glass of wine or beer with friends or family. You could be a doctor or a janitor – it doesn't matter. It's a crime that can lead to an arrest even when you did nothing wrong. The police could arrest you with the slightest suspicion that your faculties are impaired or a malfunctioning preliminary breathalyzer test (PBT) could return an inaccurate reading.
If you are arrested in Plano, Texas, or in the surrounding area, contact Carl David Ceder, Attorney at Law. He is here to help his clients defend against DWI charges and to get back to their lives. He has the experience, the knowledge, and the skills necessary to get the results that matter.
What Should I Expect From a DWI in Plano, TX?
Whether it's your first DWI or your third DWI, all DWI cases are different and so expectations can vary widely. Of course, if it's your first DWI offense, you may be feeling a bit more worried than if it's your second offense. It could be your first time experiencing an arrest, having to spend the night in jail, and dealing with aggressive and manipulative police officers. Alternatively, you may know the drill, the breathalyzer test, the field sobriety tests, the questions, the fingerprinting, all of it.
Aside from the different circumstances and experiences, there are some general expectations that are common among all DWI events, and those are discussed briefly below.
In Pursuit of Probable Cause. The police will use different tactics to prove you are illegally intoxicated. You may have passed the PBT but you may have failed the walk-and-turn test. There are other reasons aside from intoxication that can cause a person to fail this specific field sobriety test but that doesn't matter at the time of arrest – the officer will use it to get an arrest. Be sure to speak up if you have any health condition or are on a specific diet that could cause you to fail a PBT or field sobriety test. If you fail any test, it's enough probable cause to arrest you.
In Search of Evidence. The police will try to persuade you that they are here to help, and once you refuse their help, they may get aggressive and blame you for it. The police will try to get you to talk. They'll ask where you were coming from or where you are going. They'll look into your car to see signs of an empty bottle or other incriminating evidence. If you try to insert your right to remain silent, they'll turn on you, start pushing, start ordering you around, and they'll do it to provoke you. Ignore it. If you respond aggressively, that can be used as a sign of intoxication. If you talk, remember: anything you say can be used against you.
- In Search of a Conviction (or Justice). The prosecutor will pursue a conviction at all costs. They often prefer to do so through plea deals or other alternative programs, like deferred adjudication. Your attorney, Carl Ceder, will pursue a strategy that renders justice. DWI charges can be bad and even devastating, but for most people charged with a DWI, you deserve to have your innocence declared or to have a second chance. A DWI conviction can have serious consequences and not only with respect to sentencing but with respect to collateral consequences that follow you throughout life. That's not justice. Attorney Carl Ceder knows it and develops a strategy in pursuit of it, even if that means going to trial.
In the end, you can expect the police – if they assume in the very least you are driving while intoxicated – to find any reason to arrest you. Once they do, you can expect the prosecutor to go after your case aggressively. But also, with the right attorney, you can expect a strong defense that puts you in the best position for a dismissal of the DWI charge or an acquittal at trial.
What DWI Offenses Could I Be Charged With?
Texas Penal Code § 49.04 defines driving while intoxicated as an offense committed when
the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
Texas Penal Code § 49.01 identifies two ways to determine whether a person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place,
(A) 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
(B) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
The above describes a DWI charge with no aggravating or enhancing circumstances. You could face other charges, depending on the circumstances and facts of the DWI event. The different types of DWIs or DWI-related offenses include but are not limited to:
- First DWI
- Second DWI
- Third or Subsequent DWI
- DWI with BAC over .15
- DWI with controlled substances
- DWI with marijuana
- DWI with prescription drugs
- DWI with a child passenger
- DWI with a commercial driver's license (CDL)
- DUI (driving under the influence as a minor)
- Out-of-State DWI
- Felony DWI
- Intoxication Assault
- Intoxication Manslaughter.
What Are the Penalties for a DWI Conviction in Plano, TX?
A first-time DWI with no aggravating circumstances is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. Chances are, you won't spend time in jail but will be fined and may have to attend a substance abuse program if convicted. As a Class B misdemeanor, there is the possibility, however, of up to 180 days in jail. If charged with a felony DWI, then depending on the circumstances, you could be facing up to 25 years in prison.
Most DWIs in Plano, Texas, however, are first-time DWI offenses and subsequent DWI offenses without any aggravating circumstances. The maximum fines, incarceration, a driver's license suspension associated with these are listed in the below table.
up to 180 days in jail
up to $2,000
up to one year in county jail
up to $4,000
between 2 and 10 years in prison
up to $10,000
between 2 and 20 years in prison
up to $10,000
Apart from fines, incarceration, and license suspension, you could also be sentenced to:
- ignition interlock program
- community service
- substance abuse programs
For any DWI conviction, it's important to know that your driving privileges can be taken even before a conviction. Upon your arrest for a DWI, you will be advised of your automatic driver's license suspension. You can request an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing within 15 days to challenge the suspension. The ALR program is separate from the criminal process, so your driver's license can be suspended through the ALR program and then again as part of your sentencing if convicted.
Also, it's important to keep in mind that aside from any sentence you receive after a conviction, there are the collateral consequences that flow from it. Having a criminal record can lead to difficulty keeping a job, finding housing, attaining loans, and many other problems. That's why it is so important to fight the DWI charge.
Are There Defenses to a DWI Charge in Plano, TX?
The important thing to remember if arrested for a DWI in Plano, Texas, is this: you can fight the charge. There are so many ways a DWI case can be challenged. Here are just a few of those defenses.
Faulty Testing. Field sobriety tests and chemical testing (breath or blood tests) must be conducted according to certain guidelines. If not, then the results may be inadmissible. Field sobriety tests, too, can be successfully challenged because these tests are unscientific and inherently biased. Breathalyzer machines must be regularly maintained and calibrated, and the failure to do so renders the machines faulty and unreliable. The chain of custody is important and any gap in the custody can mean the sample was tainted and the results of the blood test, therefore, are not admissible. These are just a few examples of how the tests to prove your DWI can be challenged by the right attorney who understands both the law and the technical nature behind these tests.
Constitutional Violations. The police must have reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime or traffic offense before they pulled you over. The police must also have probable cause before arresting you. Failure to have it means the charges could be dismissed. The police, in most circumstances, cannot search and seize you or your property without a proper warrant. If they do, the evidence flowing from this unlawful search and seizure can be suppressed. If you are coerced to talk or your Miranda rights were not properly given, these too can be used to challenge the DWI charge.
- Lack of Evidence. You are innocent until the State proves you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That means all elements of the DWI offense must be proven, not just that your BAC was .08 or above. You must have been "operating" the vehicle in a "public place." For example, you could have been asleep in the back of your car in a parking lot. Though people can be arrested, charged, and convicted of a DWI while parked in a vehicle in a private parking lot, if the keys were not in the ignition and you were not in the driver's seat, it becomes harder for the State to prove you were operating the vehicle. Carl Ceder will hold the State accountable to this principle that you are innocent unless the State proves beyond a reasonable doubt you are guilty.
Contact a Smart, Aggressive DWI Defense Attorney in Plano, TX Today
If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated or a related offense in Plano, Texas, contact Carl Ceder today. He will work hard to give you the best defense possible in your case. Though each case is unique, he strives to get your charges reduced or dismissed or to win you an acquittal at trial.