Smith County DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer
Protecting Your Rights & Best Interests
DWI charges are very common, and many people who face such charges typically assume there is nothing to be done about them. At John J. Eastland Attorney at Law, P.C., we have earned a reputation for helping clients get the best possible outcome for their difficult situation. No matter how hopeless your situation may feel or how severely the prosecution seeks to punish you, count on our team to stand up for your rights and help you preserve your freedom.
Texas Laws Regarding DWI
The threshold for legal motor vehicle operation is .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. If you are a commercial driver, this limit is lowered to .04 percent, and if you are under 21, it is illegal to have any alcohol in your system. Once you are charged with DWI, you must immediately begin planning your defense if you are to continue driving without consequences. Our firm has extensive experience fighting these charges, and we can help you tell your side of the story in a compelling way.
The consequences of a DWI are as follows:
- First-offense DWI: This is considered a Class B misdemeanor, and a conviction could result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days with fines of up to $2,000. Penalties worsen for subsequent convictions, so making sure you successfully defend against the first one is important.
- Aggravated DWI: Class A misdemeanor with a maximum jail sentence of up to a year with fines of up to $4,000.
- DWI with a minor in the vehicle: This is considered a Class E felony with a maximum prison sentence of four years.
- Intoxication assault or manslaughter: If your drunk driving causes injury or death to someone else, you could face between 10-20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Is A DWI A Felony?
In the United States, a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense is typically categorized as a misdemeanor, not a felony. However, the specific classification of a DWI or DUI offense can vary from state to state, and it can depend on various factors, including prior convictions and the severity of the offense. Here's a general overview:
A first-time DWI or DUI offense without aggravating factors is usually classified as a misdemeanor in most states. Misdemeanor offenses typically carry less severe penalties than felonies, such as fines, probation, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and, in some cases, short jail sentences.
In some circumstances, a DWI or DUI offense can be elevated to a felony. Common situations where a DWI/DUI might be considered a felony include:
- Multiple Offenses: If a person has multiple DWI/DUI convictions on their record within a certain time frame, the subsequent offense(s) may be charged as felonies.
- Aggravating Factors: Certain factors can lead to felony charges, such as causing a serious accident resulting in injury or death while intoxicated, driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a prior DWI/DUI, or having a very high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of arrest.
- Child Endangerment: If a person is arrested for DWI/DUI while transporting a child under a certain age, it can lead to felony charges in some states.
It's important to note that penalties depend on the circumstances of the case and the defendant's prior criminal history. To understand the exact classification and potential consequences of a DWI or DUI offense in your jurisdiction, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in criminal defense or traffic law.
Fighting the Charges
There are many instances where what appears to be drunk driving is either a mistake of fact or the result of some other occurrence. You need an attorney who can help you clearly explain what happened and why you should not be treated like a criminal.
Some possible defenses could include:
- Lack of probable cause to stop or arrest you
- Failure to issue your Miranda rights
- Other procedural mistakes the police made during your stop and arrest
- Improper reliance on roadside or field sobriety tests by the police officer
- Errors in how the authorities administered your blood alcohol or breathalyzer testing
- Improper calibration of the breathalyzer or other testing equipment
Our firm can help you understand the importance of these defenses and how they could protect you.
If You Are Convicted
It is crucial that you secure effective representation for your case. Prosecutors and law enforcement will go to great lengths to ensure you face the maximum penalties for the allegations against you. With our DWI lawyer on your side, you can feel hopeful and confident that your rights will be protected and that you will be able to tell your side of the story in a compelling way.
John Eastland has developed a reputation in East Texas for being a relentless, tenacious advocate for his clients in DUI cases.
- Exclusive Focus on DWI
- Practicing Criminal Law since 1985
- Free In-Person Consultations
- Weekend Appointments Available
- Born & Raised in Texas
- Genuine Concern For Clients