A conviction for DWI remains a part of your permanent record, which is why you need an experienced Travis County criminal defense attorney on your side.
While having a few drinks over dinner or when out with friends may seem harmless enough, it can result in criminal charges. Texas takes a strong stance against drunk drivers and law enforcement is aggressive is apprehending offenders. If you are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Austin, you are going to need a strong Travis County criminal defense attorney on your side. In addition to fines, the loss of your driving privileges, and a potential jail sentence, a criminal conviction for DWI will remain a part of your permanent record.
Under Section 49.04 of the Texas Code , if you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08% or greater, you can be charged with DWI. If your BAC level was under .15%, it is classified as a class B misdemeanor. In addition to fines up to $2,000 and a suspension of your driving privileges for up to 180 days, a conviction will result in a minimum 72 hour jail sentence. If your BAC level is over .15%, fines increase to $4,000 and you could be sentenced to up to a year in jail.
In addition to these penalties, a DWI conviction remains a part of your permanent record. It will be visible on a public search and in any background checks or security clearances for which you apply. Unfortunately, this could impact your ability to get a job in certain fields or even to obtain housing or a loan.
Before last year, once you were convicted of a DWI offense, the only way to get it removed from your record was by obtaining a pardon from the Governor, a complicated task for which few were eligible. Your best option was just to avoid a conviction in the first place.
Since the new HB 3016 was signed into law and went into effect in September of 2017, first-time DWI offenders now have a way to get their records sealed - called an order of non-disclosure. A first-time DWI offender can apply for an order of non-disclosure if he or she has no other convictions on record and had a BAC of less than .15 when arrested.
In criminal cases, particularly those involving DWI, there are several options our criminal defense attorneys can use to help you avoid the penalties associated with a criminal conviction. These include:
● Negotiating with the arresting officer and prosecutor in your case to have your charges reduced or dismissed;
● Gathering the evidence needed and making effective legal arguments to avoid a conviction;
● Negotiating for an adjudicated sentence, in which your charges may be dropped or reduced pending completion of community service and drug/alcohol counseling.
Under these circumstances, you may be able to request an expungement through the Department of Public Safety . This will not erase the incident from your record, but it will prevent it from being seen by the general public, potential employers, and certain government agencies.
At Granger and Mueller PC, we take DWI charges seriously. To get the professional legal representation you need to avoid serious penalties, reach out to our Travis County DWI defense attorneys and request a consultation to discuss your case today.