In Texas, as throughout the United States, DWI is a serious offense. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, the penalties you face can be life-altering which is why this DWI guide can help you and you need a highly skilled DWI defense attorney like Jose Ceja of Ceja Law Firm, PLLC in Houston.
Mr. Ceja has been successfully defending those who have been arrested for DWI for well over a decade. He has a well-deserved reputation for being as compassionate with his clients as he is aggressive in the courtroom. Contact him by phone or through his website for a free initial consultation.
As you may be aware, when you get into trouble with the law, it is vital that you take action quickly. This is certainly true when you have been arrested for a DWI offense. Not only do you face the possibility of heavy fines and incarceration, but you may also have only 15 days to prevent the loss of your driver’s license.
How Ceja Law Firm’s Guide Can Help You Defend Against a DWI Charge
At Ceja Law Firm, we have an impressive track record of dismissals, acquittals, and favorable plea bargains, demonstrating our strong commitment to our clients. Jose Ceja has in-depth knowledge of Texas law and long-term experience with the justice system to provide you with superior legal counsel and outstanding legal representation.
Before founding Ceja Law Firm in 2019, he worked for a prestigious Texas criminal defense practice as an associate for nearly 10 years. In his career as a defense attorney, Mr. Ceja has regularly obtained dismissals and grand jury “no bills,” as well as not guilty verdicts in a broad range of cases.
Proficient in all aspects of DWI defense litigation, he has also received certification in the administration of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests administered by police and in alcohol blood testing and analysis. All of these credentials give him strong leverage and depth of knowledge when it comes to questioning the accuracy of field sobriety tests and alcohol blood testing and analysis during negotiations and in the courtroom.
Ceja Law Firm & This DWI Guide Can Help You Through an ALR Hearing
An Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing involves an attempt by the Department of Public Safety to suspend your driving privileges. It is initiated if at the time of your arrest you either refused to provide a breath or blood sample (known as a refusal) or provided a sample indicating that you had a blood or breath alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 (known as a failure).
The Department of Public Safety will attempt to suspend your driving privileges for 90 days for failure or 180 days for a refusal. In either case, your license suspension can be for a substantially longer period if you have a previous DWI conviction. Fortunately, if you have Jose Ceja working on your case, you have the advantage of using a DWI attorney who has handled hundreds of ALR cases and prevented suspensions in the vast majority of cases.
Because ALR hearings have complex components, there is no substitute for having a DWI lawyer who is fully familiar with the process. Mr. Ceja is extremely savvy when it comes to protecting your rights during an ALR hearing and making certain the hearing takes place within the required time frame to maximize your chances of protecting your driving privileges.
Is a DWI Offense a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Houston, Texas?
As with other offenses, penalties for DWI convictions vary widely depending on various factors. First-time DWI offenses are generally classified as Class B misdemeanors unless the defendant’s alcohol blood level is .15 or higher. In the latter case, the charge becomes a Class A misdemeanor. A DWI is also charged as a Class A for a second DWI offense.
Although the majority of DWIs filed in the Houston area are misdemeanors, in many cases, DWI offenses can become felonies and are punished by harsher penalties. This occurs when the person arrested for DWI was:
- Driving with a child in the car, even for a first offense (a Texas state jail felony)
- Arrested for a third DWI offense
- Involved in an accident involving an injury (intoxication assault, a 3rd-degree felony)
- Involved in an accident resulting in a fatality (intoxication manslaughter, a 2nd-degree felony)
- Charged with other types of reckless driving or misconduct at the time of the arrest
You should be aware that carrying an open container of an alcoholic beverage in your car, even if you are not intoxicated, is also against the law.
In all situations, much depends on the severity of the incident and whether the defendant has a criminal record. Whatever your particular circumstances are, you can count on Jose Ceja to evaluate your chances at trial realistically, be transparent with you about what your best course of action is, and steadfastly stand by you. You can be sure he will always make your best interests his top priority.
What Are the Penalties for DWI Offenses in Texas?
As you would expect, the penalties for DWI offenses in Texas (as everywhere else) get harsher and harsher as offenses become more serious. Possible penalties for DWI offenses include:
- Steeper and steeper fines
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Incarceration in jail or prison
- Required attendance at a court-ordered alcohol and substance abuse course
- Payment of a reinstatement fee to get your license back
- Community service
- Probation, which typically involves mandated check-ins with a probation officer, sobriety tests, and restricted travel
Potential Penalties for DWI Convictions in Texas
- Up to a $2,000 fine
- Up to 180 days in jail with three days of mandated incarceration
- Loss of driver’s license for up to a year
- Up to a $4,000 fine
- One month to a year in jail
- Loss of driver’s license up to two years
- Fine of up to $10,000
- 2 to 10 years in prison
- Loss of driver’s license up to 2 years
These fines do not include an assessed state fine of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 at the time of sentencing.
DWI Convictions Also Have a Ripple Effect
In addition to the legal penalties themselves, you should be aware that DWI convictions will result in further complications for your lifestyle and liberty, known as collateral consequences. You need the help of a powerful DWI defense attorney since you may be facing:
- Increased car insurance rates
- Permanent criminal record
- Loss of voting rights
- Loss of the right to possess a firearm
- Ineligibility for numerous employment opportunities
- Inability to retain custody of your children
As those who have criminal records for DWIs can attest, having a permanent criminal record can and often does affect not only the above, but also applications for a mortgage, other loans or lines of credit, job opportunities, and even personal relationships.
Defenses Against DWI Charges
Jose Ceja knows well that he must challenge each stage of your DWI case to have the most impact. He has the knowledge and experience to challenge:
- The validity of the traffic stop (“probable cause”)
- The officer’s initial observations and conclusions
- The way the sobriety tests were administered
- The reason for your arrest
- Whether you were given all appropriate warnings before agreeing to have breath or blood samples taken
- The validity of any search warrant used
- The reliability of the breath or blood test
- The conclusion that you were intoxicated
A Guide to Viable Defenses Against Charges of DWI
Once you become the client of Ceja Law Firm, you will have a first-rate DWI defense attorney working for you. Jose Ceja knows all the defenses that can be successfully used to protect your rights and will decide which will work best in your particular case.
Possible defenses against DWI charges include:
- Presenting evidence of your good driving techniques
Demonstrated by an absence of tickets over a long period, courses taken to sharpen safe-driving skills, etc.
- Alternative explanations for symptoms that mimic intoxication
Red eyes, slurred speech, disturbed balance, lack of coordination, an odor of alcohol on the breath, flushing, and inability to think clearly are considered signs of intoxication. There are, however, a number of other reasons for these symptoms, including:
- Cold, eyestrain, allergies, or irritation
- Certain disease conditions, e.g. neuromuscular (cerebral palsy) or metabolic (diabetes or hypoglycemia) disorders
- Recently used mouthwash or mouth spray or certain medications
- Low carbohydrate diets (e.g. the Atkins diet)
- Anxiety as a result of being stopped by the police (perhaps worsened by a pre-existing psychiatric condition)
- Malfunctions, inaccuracies, or faulty administrations of sobriety tests
- Possible contamination of the blood sample
- Lack of probable cause for making the traffic stop in the first place
- Lack of probable cause for a blood test
In Texas, unlike in some other states, police cannot force you to take a blood test without a warrant and you cannot be charged with a separate criminal offense for failure to consent to a breath or blood test.
- Possible inconsistencies regarding your blood or breath alcohol level (BAC)
Jose Ceja knows that your BAC is in constant flux according to the rate your body processes and absorbs alcohol so he is well-prepared to question the law enforcement results in terms of when and how the breath or blood test was administered and how long it was after you were originally stopped. Because everyone’s metabolism is individual, it is not difficult to make inquiries about your personal chemistry.
Jose Ceja is experienced and talented in his legal field and adept at raising questions about any or all of the above. He will pinpoint discrepancies in protocol regarding calibration and other maintenance of technical devices, flaws in the chain of custody, and other areas in which human error may have kept you from fair treatment. One of the ways he will do this is by bringing in experts in related fields who will, if necessary, testify on your behalf.
Jose Ceja Has the Knowledge and Skills to Protect Your Rights and Guide You Through DWI Charges
Not only is Jose Ceja recognized as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers Association, but he has earned a perfect 10.0 rating by Avvo. With exceptional credentials like these, you can be confident in his ability to guide you through a DWI and the criminal justice system. He is both qualified and dedicated. You will find him easy to work with and trustworthy in every regard.
You can count on Ceja Law Firm to:
- Give you the time you require to understand the legal process
- Translate legalese into comprehensible language
- File all necessary paperwork efficiently, meeting all necessary deadlines
- Be available and respond promptly whenever you have questions and concerns
- Examine pertinent police records
- Interview witnesses, including other drivers and passengers if there was an accident
- Work diligently both in and out of the courtroom
This content contains a great deal of important information about how Ceja Law Firm, PLLC will help you cope with the stress and logistics of the DWI charges you are facing. Even so, you are probably approaching the next steps with a great deal of trepidation. Don’t worry. Jose Ceja has dealt with the complexities of this situation many times before. In addition to being familiar with the procedures involved, he is also well-known to the prosecuting attorneys and judges in Houston.
Although no one can guarantee legal results, when you team up with Jose Ceja, you are giving yourself the strongest chance of coming away from this frightening period with the best possible outcome.
Don’t Rely Only On This Guide, Contact Our Experienced Houston DWI Defense Attorney Today!
At Ceja Law Firm, we know all too well how troubling being arrested for drunk driving can be. There are so many worrisome questions about the consequences of your case:
- Will you lose your right to drive, temporarily or permanently?
- Will you lose your right to own a firearm?
- Will you lose your job?
- Will you lose custody of your child?
- Will you be incarcerated?
These questions cannot be answered in the abstract used for a DWI guide. However, as soon as you get in touch with Jose Ceja, he will assess your chances of successfully having your case dismissed or being able to plea bargain to a lesser charge. Contact him for a free consultation to experience the relief of having a true professional handle your case.