Police in Baytown Texas are trained to be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers and regularly make DWI arrests. Most people arrested for DWI in Baytown are charged in Harris County and the majority of arrests are for misdemeanor DWI. But regardless of where the case is filed and what the charge is, it is important to do everything possible to keep a DWI off of your record if you are arrested for DWI. An experienced Baytown DWI attorney can help maximize your chances of protecting your record, your driver’s license and your freedom.
How is DWI charged in Texas?
Driving while intoxicated means that a person drove a vehicle in a public place while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Under Texas law, “intoxication” is defined as the loss of normal use of mental or physical faculties, or a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
Depending on the facts, driving while intoxicated can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. A first-time DWI arrest is typically a Class “B” misdemeanor unless there is a high breath or blood score or certain other aggravating factors that could result in a felony charge.
A DWI can be a felony where there are two prior DWI convictions, an accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury or a child passenger. If the defendant is alleged to have had a blood result higher than .15, a first-time DWI can be charged as a Class “A” misdemeanor.
How can I get a person out of jail after a Baytown DWI arrest?
When a person is arrested in Baytown TX, they will usually be taken downtown Houston and processed at the Joint Processing Center located at 700 N San Jacinto. Typically, they will see a magistrate judge within 24 hours who will set a bond amount. Depending on the type of DWI charge and the person’s criminal history, they may be granted a free bond (known as a PR bond).
If a free bond is not granted, then the person must post bond in order to be released from jail. Bond can be posted by paying the entire amount in cash to the county at 700 N San Jacinto or using a bail bondsman, who will charge a fee in exchange for posting the entire bond amount. The advantage of paying the entire sum is that the money is returned at the end of the case, whereas the bail bondsman’s fee is non-refundable.
Will I lose my license after a Baytown DWI arrest?
A DWI arrest can result in a driver’s license suspension but it is possible to successfully protect your driving privileges. There are two ways a person can lose their driver’s license after a DWI arrest: through a proceeding called an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) case and through the criminal case itself.
The ALR hearing is an administrative hearing that applies to almost all DWIs in Texas. If you are arrested for DWI, you will typically be asked to give a sample of your breath or blood. If you refuse, you face a driver’s license suspension of 180 days. If you agree, but have a blood result higher than .08, you will face a 90-day suspension. In either event, your DWI attorney must make a request to fight the suspension of your driver’s license within 15 days. Although it is a good idea to take your time and choose the best DWI attorney after an arrest, it is very important to keep this deadline in mind.
The other way your license could be suspended after a DWI arrest is through the criminal case itself. In Texas, after a DWI conviction, the court must suspend the defendant’s driver’s license. Of course, this can be avoided by preventing a DWI conviction, which is always the goal of a DWI. But for a first-time DWI, it is possible to avoid a suspension after a conviction by taking a DWI education course.
At Ceja Law Firm, we successfully protect our client’s driver’s licenses the vast majority of the time. But even if your license is suspended, it is important to keep in mind that you will likely be eligible for an occupational driver’s license.
Is it possible to keep a DWI charge off your record?
Absolutely. In order to maximize your chances of keeping a DWI off of your record a DWI attorney should be as thorough as possible and begin by challenging the facts of the case. DWIs are highly technical cases that involve specialized police procedure and the science of breath and blood testing. After a DWI attorney obtains all of the evidence, he should challenge each step of the case, including the traffic stop or detention, the investigation (including whether the police balance tests were administered correctly), the reliability of any breath or blood test, and the conclusion that a person was intoxicated. In some cases, exposing a problem with the State’s case can lead to a dismissal or an acquittal (verdict of “not guilty”) at trial.
Even if it appears that the facts of a DWI case are not favorable to the defendant, it is often possible to negotiate a dismissal or a reduction based on a defendant’s lack of criminal history. But any effective DWI attorney should always begin by aggressively challenging the facts of a case.
If a DWI case is dismissed, or if a person is found “not guilty” at trial, then it is possible to obtain an expunction of a DWI charge. An expunction is a separate legal procedure that results in the physical destruction of all records relating to the arrest. In Texas, an expunction of a DWI is considered to be the best possible result as it removes the case from most criminal history searches and allows a defendant to deny the existence of the arrest in most instances. But it is important to remember that you can only obtain an expunction after a dismissal or an acquittal (you cannot expunge a DWI if you are placed on any kind of probation).
Attorney Jose Ceja is a former prosecutor who has spent hundreds of hours studying the police procedure and science involved in DWIs. He regularly obtains dismissals and acquittals in all types of criminal cases, including DWIs. If you have been arrested for DWI in Baytown or anywhere in the Greater Houston area, call Ceja Law Firm today.