Does Being Arrested for a DWI Mean Jail Time?
Law enforcement within Houston city limits or in the state of Texas will not let you operate a vehicle following your arrest for driving while under the influence of intoxicants. So, if you get arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), you will go jail. Provided it’s your first offense, Texas law requires you spend a minimum of three days there. However, the amount of time you spend could be as long as 180 days, with up to a two thousand dollar fine, if you don’t have the right representation. That is why it is important to retain a Houston-based DWI attorney that can provide you with proven counsel while helping you fight your case.
Following your arrest, barring weekends and holidays, you have the right to see a judge without unreasonable delay, regardless of how busy the court might be. You will be brought before the judge and read aloud the charges for which you are being detained. At this time you will be asked for a plea. The judge will then set bail and share with you other important details pertaining to your case.
It is good idea to seek legal counsel with experience in DWI arrests before you meet with the judge for the first time. Many people enter a guilty plea too quickly just to get this difficult experience over with before consulting with an attorney. This is not always your best option, especially if you have had more than one DWI. A guilty plea can significantly increase your risk of excess jail time above just the mandatory requirement.
If this is your second DWI, prepare to spend a minimum of thirty days in jail and possibly up to one year. In addition, there is a mandatory 180 day driver’s license suspension and up to four thousand dollars in fines. And the consequences only stiffen from there. The penalties for being charged with your third DWI are even harsher. This is considered a third-degree felony in the state of Texas. There is a minimum mandatory two years in a federal penitentiary, if convicted, and up to ten thousand dollars in fines. All of this assumes you did not injure or take someone’s life.
Your lawyer can aggressively defend you against contaminated blood samples, inconclusive field sobriety tests, and unreliable breathalyzers, but not if you plead guilty. While you will never completely avoid the mandatory jail time, a skilled DWI attorney will know how to effectively argue these potential law enforcement mishaps, reducing and possibly eliminating excess jail time.
There are three different scenarios for which you can be arrested for a DWI in Texas. If you are under 21 years old, you will be arrested if your blood alcohol content is 0.02. For those 21 years and older, the limit is 0.08. However, if you are a commercial driver, the limit is lower, at 0.04. If you want to avoid mandatory jail time based off a DWI conviction, don’t drink and drive. But if you find yourself in a situation where you are facing DWI charges, seek professional counsel. This might be one of the most important decisions of your life. So, don’t make it alone. Your freedom is on the line.