Basics of DWI in Austin

Seek Assistance from the Law Offices of Jason Trumpler

If you have been charged with a DWI, you may be facing both criminal and civil charges. You are also subject to the legal processes specific to your county, which can be complex. You will need to attend multiple hearings, including an Administrative License Review (ALR) hearing as well as any criminal proceedings.

Austin DWI attorney Jason Trumpler and his associates have helped many Texans defend their rights following drunk driving charges. Our team understands how overwhelming this process can be, which is why he handles each case with diligence and personalized attention.

Contact us online or call (512) 359-3300 right away to learn more about your legal options.

What Happens after a DWI Arrest?

Each county in Texas has a different way of organizing criminal proceedings. Typically, your case is set for arraignment, which includes the formal reading of the charges leveled against you. You are then required to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

The next step is a pre-trial hearing, at which point Attorney Jason Trumpler can negotiate with the state and often facilitate an offer from the prosecution to settle the case. If we reach a resolution, your case may be moved to a plea docket or a change of plea may be entered on the same day of the pre-trial. If we are unable to reach an agreement, then the case will be set for trial.

The court may impose a sentence after the plea bargain is accepted and entered in pre-trial or after a conviction at trial. Sentences vary from civil to criminal charges and may include fees, fines, community service, alcohol classes, or even jail time. Our team at The Law Offices of Jason Trumpler understands the intricacies of defending vehicular crime and DWI cases throughout Central Texas and can guide you through all stages of the process.

Typical Reductions

DWI sentences can range from a misdemeanor to a second degree felony charge in more extreme circumstances. These sentences can carry substantial consequences including jail time and significant fines. However, by hiring an Austin DWI attorney who understands the typical reductions offered in these cases, you may be able to lower your sentence and avoid considerable changes to your quality of life.

In a DWI case, the most common reduction secured is an Obstruction of Highway Passageway. While obstruction is still a Class B misdemeanor and carries the subsequent penalties, it is a lesser offense than a DWI conviction. An obstruction can reduce your fines and eliminate surcharges. In some cases, a DWI can be reduced almost to the point of dismissal and classified as a traffic violation or other Class C misdemeanor.

What to Do if You Are Stopped by Police

If you are pulled over and asked if you have been drinking, be polite and courteous. Do not admit any type of guilt or apologize for anything.

If the tongue slips, telling the officer that you have had one or two drinks is not incriminating and may explain the odor of alcohol coming from inside the car. If you only had 2 drinks, tell the officer the time of your first drink, the time of your second drink, and where you were drinking. This confident, truthful answer would certainly let the officer know that you did not have enough alcohol to possibly be intoxicated. The total number of drinks is not as important as the number of drinks within a certain amount of time.

Are Field Sobriety Tests Required?

No! The law does not require that you perform any type of test. You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. Interestingly enough, the officer is not required to tell you this. However, if you refuse to attempt these tests, the officer most likely is going to arrest you. Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has admitted not everyone can successfully perform these tests even when sober!

Your ability to perform field sobriety tests can be affected by many factors other than alcohol, including:

  • Fear or nervousness
  • Fatigue
  • Illness or injuries
  • Traffic
  • Weather conditions

What Is the State’s Burden of Proof?

The State of Texas must prove your guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is the highest burden of proof in the justice system. It is not defined, so you may wonder how we explain it to a jury.

Burden of proof is divided into multiple levels:

  • Probable cause: The lowest burden of proof. This level of proof is less than a 50/50 chance that you violated the law but is all the officer needs to write you a ticket or arrest you.
  • Preponderance of the evidence: This amount of proof occurs in civil courtrooms where people are suing each other for money. A Preponderance of the Evidence is proof amounting to you being 51% correct.
  • Clear and convincing evidence: This amount of proof will cause a juror to have a "firm belief" in the matter to be proved.
  • Beyond a reasonable doubt: A jury must have more than "tons" of evidence that you were intoxicated before they could find you guilty. This is a very simple yet extremely convincing manner of making a jury understand just how much evidence is required before they can convict a person. Simply put, if a juror has a single doubt based on reason as to a person being intoxicated, he or she must follow the law and find the defendant not guilty.

How Long Does a DWI Arrest Stay on a Record?

If you are convicted of the DWI, it will be on your record forever. If you are found not guilty, you can have the arrest and DWI charge "expunged" from your record, thus erasing it. No judge, prosecutor, police officer, friend, or employer will ever be able to find any evidence of the expunged case.

If you have been charged with DWI, contact the Austin DWI attorney at the Law Offices of Jason Trumpler. Call (512) 359-3300 today.

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