First Driving While Intoxicated Offense
If you’ve been charged with a Driving While Intoxicated offense and it is your first offense, you will be charged a fine up to $2,000 and you will face the possibility of going to jail for a period of time — usually between three and 180 days. In addition, you’ll lose your license for a period of time — from 90 day to a year. A first-time Driving While Intoxicated offender falls into the Class B Misdemeanor category.
Should you be fearful? Yes, you should. You will have a record in the state of Texas and it will follow you and has the potential to affect the loans you apply for and the jobs you are considering. You need counsel to help you immediately, to help ensure that your rights are protected and that there were no errors in the course of your arrest. Errors are made all of the time in arrests, and your legal counsel should be there to find them and to make sure you are treated fairly in the course of your trial.
There are some instances that can complicate a driving while drunk conviction in Texas, and that relates to Texas’ open container laws. If you have an open container in your car, then you may be fined up to $500 per container. This offense is a Class C Misdemeanor in the state of Texas and it can be upgraded to Class B if a DWI conviction becomes part of your case.
What you should expect if you have an open container in your moving car and an officer stops you: You will be issued a citation for an open container offense. You also will give you a court notice. You’ll need to sign the court notice the officer gives you and show up at court on the specific date and time. This latter procedure allows the officer to release you from his or her custody. Your legal counsel can help you navigate the next steps. Often you do not have to appear in court before a judge. Your lawyer can appear for you after you appear at your first hearing, but it is in your best interest to show up as a statement of personal responsibility. If you decide to show up for all of your hearings, then you must indicate to the court that you will be present.
Now, there are exceptions to the open container law in Texas. For example, if your vehicle is for the express purposes of transporting passengers for income — such as a limousine or taxi service — then you will not be charged with an open container violation. In addition, if the open container is found in the living quarters of a motor home, RV or self-contained camping vehicle, then you likely will not be charged for an open container offense. Knowing the nuance of the law in Texas is important so you are not wrongfully charged. This is where an experienced Dallas DWI lawyer can help navigate you through the complexities of the law and the charges and fines that you may be facing.