In Texas, Drunk Driving is defined as driving with .08 or more Blood Alcohol Content Level. Or, it can be defined as driving while having lost the normal mental or physical abilities because of the introduction of alcohol into the body.
Drunk Driving Penalties in Bexar County, Texas
- First Time Offenders: 3-180 days jail, $2,000 fine, 90-365 day license suspension
- Second Time Offenders: 30-365 days in jail, $4,000 fine, up to 2 years in jail
Is it Possible to Avoid Jail Time?
It is possible to avoid facing jail time if you have been charged with a DWI in San Antonio, Texas. Your criminal defense lawyer will talk to you about strategies for avoiding the outcome of jail, and will discuss avenues for resolving the case.
Steps You Can Take to Get Your Wrongful DWI Charge Dismissed
- Note, that you should talk to a criminal defense lawyer in San Antonio about these steps as they vary depending on your particular case
- Hire a lawyer that works in your area–if you have a DWI case pending that occurred in Bexar County, this will assure the most knowledgeable representation;
- Before hiring the lawyer, meet with him/her in person and see if the Attorney gives you a good impression. If this attorney leaves a good impression with you, chances are he or she can do the same for a jury;
- While you should be diligent in finding a good lawyer, you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible as the lawyer can help you to preserve important evidence in the case;
- When you are pulled over, you should politely decline to do the field sobriety tests. The officer will immediately start waving a wand in your eyes, to look for nystagmus. You can and should decline to cooperate with all field sobriety tests;
- Know the laws on breath and blood tests in San Antonio. You can no longer refuse breath tests. If you do, your license is suspended and your blood is drawn for testing. Blood tests are more accurate than breath tests;
- When you are pulled over, preserve evidence yourself. If there are witnesses in the car that know you are not driving while intoxicated, get their statements and contact information recorded; and receipts for the evening that show you are not intoxicated can help as well;
- Be careful with your use of social media. It may help that your facetime posts and tweets tend to show you were not intoxicated at the time you were pulled over.;
- If your lawyer advises it, be willing to pay additional fees to hire an expert or investigator for the case;
- Lastly, consider hiring Cook & Cook. We are experienced San Antonio DWI lawyers that are not afraid to win. (210) 271-2800.
Below is a Story of a Typical DWI Case in San Antonio, Which Offers Some General Legal Advice
Drunk Driving Section 1 (The Outing)
David was a great guy. He lived in San Antonio, Texas his entire life. His wife and kids live right off of Callaghan and i-10 right in the middle of San Antonio, Texas. David works at Red McCombs Ford. He is good at his job. One day, one of the guys (Jeff) invited David to his big Bachelor party which was starting at 7:00 p.m. at the rim Stonewerks. When David arrived, he and the guys got a couple a beers. But then someone bought the guys a bottle of wine to congratulate the groom on the bachelor party. David had already had his couple of beers but he didn’t want to snub the wine. Then, Jeff, the groom said okay, time for the next bar. (He chose Sugar’s)
Drunk Driving Section 2 (More Drinks)
At the new bar, David threw back a couple of shots and thought about how his drive home was less than three minutes from the club. The guys hung out for a few hours and by now, it was midnight. David was going to go home, but just to be safe he drank some water for an hour and just hung out. After all, David was no chronic drunk driver. He had never been arrested in his life. By 1:00 A.M., He figured he had duly sobered up, and so he said his goodbyes and headed home to his wife and kids.
Drunk Driving Section 3 (The Drive Home)
David noticed he still felt a bit “buzzed” as he drove home, so he drove very cautiously and tried to over compensate for any intoxication he may have been experiencing. In David’s mind, he was driving better than he does when sober.
But, in fact, David’s driving wasn’t as good as he thought. An Officer saw David driving, and began to follow him (unbeknownst to David). The Officer turned on his vehicle video camera and let it roll as David swerved over the yellow line a few times.
Chapter 4 of Drunk Driving– Getting Pulled Over
David noticed the police lights when he looked in his rearview mirror. David knew he was not intoxicated in his own mind. He barely felt buzzed. He had a pretty clear mind. The Officer approached his vehicle and asked him for his license. David had a very disorganized wallet and thus could not find his licenses quickly. Little did David know, the delay in finding his license is actually a factor that is used against him when the officer is assessing whether he is intoxicated. David’s clothing was a mess. But, in general, David had a bit of a disheveled look, so this was the norm for David. Yet, still this is a factor that the Officer took into account when deciding whether David was intoxicated. The Officer asked David to step out of his vehicle, and he did. But, he did so slowly. Moving slowly and using the car for support is another factor the Officer assessed against David. By the time David was out of the car, the Officer smelled the alcohol on his breath, and already knew he was going to arrest him. Now, the question was front his point forward, how much evidence could he get on camera to prove that David was intoxicated.
Drunk Driving Chapter 5 — the Standardized Field Sobriety Test
The first thing the Officer had David do was stand right in front of the police car, in the police headlights. David, didn’t know this, but that is the best position for the Officer to video tape David. He asked David to stand with his feet together, and not to move as he conducted the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. The Officer was just looking to see if David’s eyes were shaking, which is a sign of intoxication. Many things can cause Nystagmus, such as a head injury or certain medicine. The Officer noted that David’s eyes were shaking and so David failed this first field sobriety test, but the Officer did not tell him this. He simply asked him to do the next test. This time, the Officer asked David to walk on an imaginary line 10 steps one way and 10 steps back. There were many instructions to go along with this walk and turn test, but David could not keep track of them all. He just did his best, and assumed the test would show he was not drunk. David failed this test too, but the Officer didn’t tell him this. Instead he had him do the next test, the one legged stand test. This time David was told to stand on one foot, along with many other instructions to go with this general stand on one foot rule. So, he stood on one foot and never put the other foot down. In order to balance, he moved his arms and loose leg around, working hard to stay on one foot. David was no coordination king, but he put up a good effort. He failed all the tests. At this point, David was already doomed with a Driving While Intoxicated charge, but again, the Officer didn’t tell him that. It was time for the breathalyzer test.
Drunk Driving Chapter 6– The Breathalyzer Test
Now that the Officer was done with the field Sobriety test, he offered David to take the breathalyzer test. By now, David was catching on that the Officer was not going to let him go. He also vaguely remembered hearing his police officer Cousin say that the breath test was a bogus out of date machine that does not give proper reads on blood alcohol content most of the time. So, David was battling in his mind whether he should take the test or not. He decided to refuse the test. This means that he would have to take the blood test back at the police station. The Officer informed David that if he refused the test, his license would be suspended . David thought about how close his house was, and explained to the officer that his house was really close, and he could just have his wife pick him up. This pleading did not help David. The Officer informed David that he was under arrest.
Drunk Driving Chapter 7 — The Arrest
The Officer is annoyed that he could not get the breath test from David, so he quickly tells him his Miranda Rights, and informs him he is under arrest for Driving While Intoxicated. He puts him in the police vehicle, and calls the tow truck company to impound his car. David sits in the police car, and watches the Officer search his Ford Focus. Watching the Officer go through his car really bothers David. Watching the guy tow his car, with no regard for the paint job or anything else ignites anger in David. He starts yelling from the car. Little did he know, his every move was being video record from the back of the police vehicle. Now the Officer can prove not only did he fail his field sobriety tests, but he looks belligerent too.
Drunk Driving Chapter 8 — Going to Court
David had to call his wife to bond him out with their family emergency money. David hired the Cook & Cook Law Firm to defend his DWI / drunk driving charge. His Attorney set the case for trial.
David’s Attorney explained the Drunk Driving Laws to him in detail. David Learned that for his 1st DWI offense, David had to do 3 days in jail at a minimum and could face 6 months in jail and a $2000 fine. If David loses his trial, he will have to do up to 2 years on probation, get ignition interlock installed on his car, do 50 hours of community service, all kinds of DWI classes, and pay supervisory fees. David is awaiting his jury trial.
DWI Law in San Antonio (Texas Penal Code 49.04)
The following law applies to drunk driving for Texans:
Sec. 49.04. DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED. (a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.(b) Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (d) and Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.(c) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that at the time of the offense the person operating the motor vehicle had an open container of alcohol in the person’s immediate possession, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of six days.(d) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
Need a DWI Attorney in San Antonio? Cook & Cook would be glad to assist you. Call our Office at (210) 271-2800.