Richmond DUI Attorneys
It’s Hard to Beat a DWI Charge in Texas
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI), is harshly prosecuted in the State of Texas. In some situations, it can be very difficult to keep these offenses from being charged as a felony. This is why having a strong legal advocate on your side is necessary after you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. At The Law Office of Larry P. McDougal, we do not take a standard approach to DWI defense. Instead, our Richmond DWI lawyers take a close look at the facts of your situation to see what there is to work with and build a strong defense based on your unique circumstances.
With more than 37 years of criminal defense experience, attorneys Larry P. McDougal Sr. and Larry P. McDougal Jr. protect the rights and interests of those arrested on suspicion of DWI in Fort Bend County. For the advice you need about your criminal charges, driver’s license considerations, and other complications of a drunk driving arrest, speak with our Richmond DWI attorney today.
Skilled & Vigorous DWI Defense in Texas
Larry McDougal Sr. brings unique credentials to your case. He is a former police officer and deputy sheriff who understands the protocol for stopping drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated. He is also a former prosecutor and municipal court judge. For over two decades, he has practiced exclusively in criminal law, drawing on his law enforcement background to advocate effectively for clients in and out of court.
Our Richmond DWI lawyers handle all types of drunk driving cases, including:
- First-time DWI
- Repeat DWI
- Refusal of the breath test
- DUI minor (underage drinking and driving)
- DWI with aggravating factors such as a child in the car
- DWI accidents resulting in injury or death
What to Do Immediately After a DWI Arrest in Texas
Generally speaking, you should always fight DWI charges in Texas, even if the evidence seems stacked against you and you are willing to admit that you made a huge mistake. That’s because the consequences of DWI convictions in Texas are extremely severe.
You face jail time, hefty fines, license suspension and a permanent criminal record. You might also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, and your car insurance rates could skyrocket.
It’s not easy to defeat a DWI charge in Texas, and in some cases, it can be difficult to avoid felony charges. However, by working with an experienced DUI lawyer in Richmond, the opportunity for a favorable plea agreement or eventual dismissal increases dramatically.
With more than 20 years of experience, Richmond DWI lawyer Larry McDougal knows how to examine your traffic stop and arrest to determine if there are any holes in the prosecution’s case. He also knows how to provide you with sound advice so you are prepared to make the right decisions in your case.
Driving While Intoxicated Penalties in Texas
Texas’ laws on drinking and driving have strengthened in recent decades, as have those in many other states across the nation. It can be all too easy for responsible drivers to be charged with a DWI offense, making it highly important that all drivers be fully aware of the state’s penalties for these violations if convicted. You can face a host of penalties if you are caught driving after drinking. Here are some points to know:
Factors that Impact BAC
Blood alcohol concentration refers to the amount of alcohol that is in your system. Higher BAC means you are more intoxicated. Your weight and gender have a part in how your body will handle alcohol. A small woman will have a higher BAC than a burly man if they have the same number of drinks. The number of drinks you have also impacts your BAC.
In Texas, there is a legal limit of .08 percent BAC for adults who are able to legally drink alcohol. Anything at or above this level is illegal and can lead to criminal charges. This can occur with as few as two beers in an hour, possibly even less.
DWI Penalties in Texas
The penalties that you face in Texas can include fines, incarceration, the loss of your driver’s license, annual fees, and the use of an ignition interlock. The penalty range you face depends on how many DWIs you have any any extenuating circumstances.
The Texas Department of Transportation outlines the basic penalty guidelines for first, second and third offenses as follows:
- A person convicted of a first-time DWI will have a suspended license for up to one year, be fined up to $2,000 and spend up to 180 days in jail.
- A person convicted of a second DWI will have a suspended license for up to two years, be fined up to $4,000 and spend up to one year in jail. The use of an ignition interlock device may also be ordered once the license suspension period is over.
- A person convicted of a third DWI will have a suspended license for up to two years, be fined $10,000 and spend between two and 10 years in prison. As with a second conviction, an IID may be required once driving privileges are reinstated.
- There is an enhancement of penalties for a driver convicted of DWI with a child who was younger than 15 years old in the vehicle. This comes with a 180-day license suspension, up to two years in a state jail, and up to $10,000 in fines.
In all these cases, drivers will be required to pay annual fees up to $2,000 for a period of three years to retain driving privileges.
You must consider your defense options carefully in these cases. In actuality, your best option is to avoid the charge in the first place. If you do find yourself facing drunk driving charges, start your strategy planning right away.
Underage DWI in Texas
The Texas Department of Public Safety indicates that drivers under the age of 21 who are arrested for drinking and driving will have their licenses suspended for one year and be required to participate in substance education. The suspension period may be lowered with the use of an IID and performance of community service.
Felony DWI in Texas
You can be charged with felony DUI/DWI based on any of the following, and more:
- It is a repeat offense
- A serious or fatal accident occurred
- A minor child was in the car at the time of the traffic stop
The Law Office of Larry P. McDougal can advise you about the best ways to protect yourself from the serious risks of a conviction. Our trial defense experience can help you before a jury, but it often makes the best sense, particularly with repeat DWI and felony level charges, to use the leverage developed through sound trial preparation to your advantage in plea negotiations.
Whether your DWI charge is a felony or a misdemeanor, the choice between a plea offer and a trial defense is always yours to make. At the same time, you are entitled to expect your DWI lawyer in Richmond, TX to provide you with sound advice while working toward improving the quality of your choices.
Texas Open Container Laws
Driving with an open container of alcohol in a vehicle is also a violation of Texas law. The Texas penal code indicates that containers with even a broken seal can be deemed open and therefore illegal. Such containers are not allowed in the passenger areas of vehicles. The glove box, trunk or other locked storage areas are not considered passenger areas. For vehicles with no trunks, the area behind the last row of seats is also not considered a passenger area.
Benefits of Hiring an Experienced DWI Attorney
Hiring a lawyer that specializes in DWI cases can be invaluable when facing a DWI charge in Texas. An experienced attorney will have the knowledge and expertise needed to navigate the legal system and ensure the best possible outcome for the defendant.
Here are several benefits of hiring our Richmond DWI lawyer:
We can help you understand the charges and penalties you may face
We will be able to properly assess whether or not there are any applicable defenses that could result in a dismissal of the DWI case
We can defend your rights by making sure they are not violated by law enforcement
We can gather evidence that may support your innocence and undermine the prosecution’s case against you
We can negotiate on your behalf for reduced penalties, more lenient probation terms, or lesser sentences
We provide legal and emotional support from start to finish
In some cases, our Richmond DWI lawyers can challenge the traffic stop as unsupported by reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing or challenge the arrest for lack of probable cause. More often, we’ll use the evidence developed in your administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing to spot inconsistencies between different versions of the arresting officer’s story.
We can sometimes also use the arresting officer’s video to disprove the details of a field sobriety test or observational report. These approaches together can expand a limited range for plea negotiations or deferred adjudication leading to eventual dismissal.
When to Call a Richmond DWI Lawyer
It’s important to call a Richmond DWI attorney as soon as possible after a DWI arrest. In fact, you must request a administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing within 15 days of your DWI arrest in order to challenge your license suspension.
First-time offenders who refuse a breath or blood test face a license suspension 180 days or more. Second-time offenders face a license suspension of up to a year, or an automatic one year if breath or blood testing was refused. Therefore, if you want to keep your license, you must act quickly.
Talk to an experienced Richmond DUI attorney in your area for more information on the potential consequences that you face and how to reduce the negative impact a DWI conviction could have on your life.
Contact The Law Office of Larry P. McDougal
Worried about the impact of a suspended license? Concerned that a DUI minor charge may jeopardize your child’s future? To learn how you can benefit from our attorneys’ skill and experience, contact our firm online to arrange a free consultation with our Richmond DUI lawyers.
Arrested for DWI? Do not delay – get a strong legal advocate on your side by calling (281) 823-9377 today.