San Marcos DWI Lawyer

Don't face your Texas DWI charge alone! At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, we offer over six decades of combined legal experience and an impressive track record that includes over 25,000 criminal and family law cases. Our seasoned Austin attorneys are no strangers to the courtroom, having handled more than 370 jury trials with significant success. 

From former prosecutors to judges, our team members have held esteemed roles throughout Texas, appointed by high-ranking officials like Presidents, Governors, and Mayors. We understand the intricacies of the legal system and know how to deliver results. You deserve the best legal defense; make the call to 512-991-0576 now or reach us online to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

San Marcos DWI Attorney Information Center

  1. What You Need To Know About DWI Laws In San Marcos
  2. Understanding Enhanced DWI Penalties In San Marcos
  3. Defenses To A San Marcos DWI Charge
  4. Frequently Asked Questions About DWI In San Marcos
  5. San Marcos DWI Lawyer

What You Need To Know About DWI Laws In San Marcos

Drinking And Driving: A No-Go

In the Lone Star State, under Texas DWI law: if you're intoxicated and decide to operate a motor vehicle in any public space, you're committing a crime. But what exactly does this mean for you? Let's break it down.

What's The Punishment?

Generally speaking, driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas is considered a Class B misdemeanor. If you're found guilty, you're looking at a minimum of 72 hours (3 days) in jail. The offense is punishable by up to a $2,000 fine, up to 180 days in jail, or both.

Busted With An Open Container?

But wait, there's more. Let's say you're pulled over and law enforcement finds an open container of alcohol in your vehicle. Suddenly, your situation just got a lot worse. If you're found guilty in this scenario, your minimum jail time increases to six days. Yes, you read that right - having an open container of alcohol increases your minimum sentence.

What About High Alcohol Concentration?

The trouble doesn't end there. If a test of your blood, breath, or urine reveals an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the test was conducted, your offense is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are more serious than Class B misdemeanors, as they are punishable by up to a $4,000 fine, one year in jail, or both.

Understanding Enhanced DWI Penalties In San Marcos

Title 10, Chapter 49, Section 49.09 of the Texas Penal Code pertains to enhanced penalties associated with DWI.

Repeat Offenses: More Than Just A Slap On The Wrist

If you've been convicted once before of a DWI (or similar offenses involving aircrafts, watercrafts, or even amusement rides), your subsequent offense will be considered a Class A misdemeanor. This carries a minimum jail term of 30 days.

However, things get more severe if you're convicted twice. The third offense (or if you've previously been convicted of a specific, serious offense under Section 49.08) results in a third-degree felony charge. As you can imagine, this comes with a much heavier sentence.

When DWIs Involve Injuries: From Bad To Worse

If your DWI offense causes serious bodily injury to firefighters or emergency medical service personnel while they're on duty, you're looking at a second-degree felony. If the injured party is a peace officer or judge on duty, it becomes a first-degree felony.

Let's get more specific: if you cause a traumatic brain injury resulting in a persistent vegetative state to someone else, this will also result in a second-degree felony charge. This emphasizes how seriously Texas takes the consequences of driving while intoxicated.

The Devil's In The Details: Understanding The "Offense"

Texas law defines DWI offenses based on the type of vehicle operated—motor vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, and even amusement rides. These definitions also account for similar offenses committed in other states and under old laws. The point here is that a DWI isn't just about cars and trucks.

A "Final" Conviction: No Takebacks

Any DWI conviction that occurs on or after September 1, 1994, is considered final, regardless of whether your sentence is imposed or probated. That means there's no going back, and it can't be wiped from your record.

Limitations On Enhancement

A conviction can be used for enhancement (increasing the severity) of your sentence either under this section or another specific subchapter of the law, but not both. However, deferred adjudication—where you're essentially on probation—can still count as a conviction for enhancement purposes.

Additional Penalties: Breathalyzers And More

If you're convicted of a second or subsequent DWI within five years, you'll be required to install a device in your vehicle that tests your breath for alcohol before you can drive. Non-compliance with this rule can lead to further punishments.

Defenses To A San Marcos DWI Charge

There are several potential defenses that could be raised in response to a DWI charge in Texas. It's important to note that defenses can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Here are some common defenses that could be explored:

Lack Of Intoxication

The statute requires that a person be intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place to be charged with a DWI. If there is evidence to show that you were not intoxicated at the time of driving, such as a lack of impairment or a low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, it can be argued that you should not be convicted of a DWI.

Invalid Stop Or Arrest

Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to initiate a traffic stop and subsequently arrest you for a DWI. If it can be proven that the stop or arrest was conducted without proper justification, it could lead to the exclusion of evidence obtained thereafter, which may weaken the prosecution's case.

Challenging Bac Results

If your BAC test results were obtained through faulty equipment, improper administration, or mishandling of samples, it may be possible to challenge the accuracy and reliability of the test. This can cast doubt on the evidence presented by the prosecution.

Rising BAC Defense

Alcohol absorption rates can vary, and it's possible for your BAC to rise after you have stopped driving. This defense argues that while your BAC may have been above the legal limit at the time of the test, it was below the limit while you were actually driving.

Medical Conditions Or External Factors

Certain medical conditions or external factors can result in symptoms that mimic intoxication. If you can demonstrate that your behavior or physical appearance was a result of a medical condition, fatigue, stress, or other external factors rather than intoxication, it can potentially cast doubt on the prosecution's case.

Lack Of Previous Conviction

If you're being charged with an enhanced offense based on a previous conviction, one potential defense is to challenge the validity of the prior conviction. You may argue that there was an error in the previous conviction, such as a procedural mistake, incorrect identification, or inadequate legal representation. Successfully disproving the existence of a prior conviction can potentially prevent the current offense from being enhanced.

Disputing Similarity Of Offenses

In cases where the enhancement is based on a previous offense in another state, you can challenge the similarity of the out-of-state offense to the Texas offense mentioned in the statute. If you can demonstrate that the elements of the out-of-state offense are not substantially similar to the Texas offense, it may weaken the prosecution's argument for enhancement.

Challenging Serious Bodily Injury

If you're facing an enhanced charge due to causing serious bodily injury to specific professionals, you may present evidence to contest the severity or extent of the alleged injury. It is important to consult with medical experts and gather relevant evidence to challenge the prosecution's claim of serious bodily injury.

Disputing Causation

In cases involving the death or serious bodily injury of another person, you can argue that your actions were not the direct cause of the injury or death. This defense strategy seeks to establish that there were other contributing factors or intervening events that were primarily responsible for the harm caused.

You’ll want to consult with an experienced DWI attorney following any DWI arrests, as they can evaluate the specific details of your criminal case and determine the most appropriate defense strategy based on the circumstances. They will have a better understanding of the available defenses and how they may apply to your situation.

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Frequently Asked Questions About DWI In San Marcos

What Does It Mean To Be "Intoxicated" Under Texas Law?

The legal definition of being "intoxicated" in Texas usually refers to not having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs, or other substances. It can also refer to having a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

What's The Basic Penalty For A DWI In Texas?

If you're found guilty of a DWI in Texas without any additional complicating factors, it is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. This comes with a minimum of 72 hours in jail. The offense is punishable by up to a $2,000 fine, up to 180 days in jail, or both.

Does The Law Change If I Have An Open Container Of Alcohol In My Car While Driving?

Yes, if you're found driving while intoxicated and have an open container of alcohol in your immediate possession, the offense becomes a more serious Class B misdemeanor. That carries a six-day minimum jail term.

What If My Blood Alcohol Concentration Is Extremely High?

If a test shows your urine, breath, or blood alcohol concentration level is at least 0.15, your DWI offense escalates to a Class A misdemeanor. The offense is punishable by up to a $4,000 fine, one year in jail, or both.

How Is Blood, Breath, Or Urine Alcohol Concentration Level Measured?

Law enforcement officers use specific tests to measure alcohol concentration in your body. This could be a breathalyzer test (breath), a blood draw (blood), or a urine sample (urine). The result of these tests is often a key piece of evidence in a DWI case.

What Are The Potential Consequences Of A Class A Misdemeanor In Texas?

While this specific statute doesn't detail the penalties for a Class A misdemeanor, generally in Texas, a Class A misdemeanor can result in a fine up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.

What Are The Penalties For A Second DWI Offense In Texas?

A second DWI offense in Texas is treated as a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum jail term of 30 days. However, if you've been convicted once under Section 49.08 or twice of any other DWI offense, your new offense is considered a third-degree felony.

If My Previous DWI Convictions Happened Out Of State, Will They Still Count In Texas?

Yes, the Texas Penal Code considers convictions from out-of-state offenses that contain elements substantially similar to those of Texas offenses.

What Happens If My Intoxicated Operation Of A Vehicle Results In Someone Getting Seriously Injured?

If your actions cause serious bodily injury, particularly to professionals such as firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, peace officers, or judges, your offense can be considered a second or even a first-degree felony. If the injury leads to a persistent vegetative state, it is treated as a second-degree felony.

Are There Stricter Penalties For Repeat Offenders Within A Short Period?

Yes, if you're convicted of a second or subsequent DWI offense within five years of the last offense, the court may order you to install a breath analysis device in your vehicle that prevents operation if alcohol is detected. You would be responsible for the cost and installation, and the device must remain installed for a year.

San Marcos DWI / DUI Lawyer

Get the legal firepower your case requires following a DWI arrest. Cofer & Connelly, PLLC is ready to fight for you. Our seasoned criminal defense attorneys in Austin have a combined experience of over 100 years and a track record that speaks volumes, handling more than 25,000 criminal and family law cases and winning complex cases in more than 370 jury trials. We've served as long-time prosecutors, judges, and have even been appointed to offices by the highest ranks of government, including Presidents, Governors, and Mayors. We know the system, and more importantly, we know how to make it work for you. Don't risk your future. Contact our law firm today at 512-991-0576 or reach out online to speak with a criminal defense attorney at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC.

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