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Houston DWI Lawyer

Houston DWI Attorney

Skilled Defense for DWI Charges in Harris County, TX

A DWI (driving while intoxicated) or BWI (boating while intoxicated) arrest is a stressful experience with consequences that could reach far into the future. Whether you were wrongfully arrested or need help dealing with the aftermath of a bad decision, you need to take decisive action in order to protect your freedom, future, and driving privileges.

The first thing to do is avoid common DWI mistakes. Next, you should retain an experienced Houston DWI attorney who can potentially save you from prison time and a criminal record.

At The Law Offices of Jed Silverman, we have a solid track record in defending drunk driving cases and assisting clients in Houston, Harris County, and across Texas. Attorney Jed Silverman is not only an experienced Houston DWI lawyer, he is certified to conduct breath tests and field sobriety tests - giving him the knowledge that can be very useful in challenging this type of evidence in court.

If you are facing drunk driving charges, now is the time to involve a Houston DWI lawyer at our firm. Contact us online or by calling (713) 597-2221!

What is a DWI in Texas?

In Texas, DWI stands for "Driving While Intoxicated." It is a criminal offense that occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Texas is 0.08%. However, a person can be charged with a DWI if the arresting officer believes their normal physical or mental faculties are impaired due to alcohol or drugs, regardless of their BAC.

Penalties for DWI in Texas can include fines, license suspension, mandatory participation in alcohol education programs, community service, and even jail time. Certain factors, such as repeat offenders, having a child passenger in the vehicle, or causing an accident resulting in serious injury or death, can lead to enhanced DWI charges with more severe penalties.

BAC Limits in Texas

In Texas, the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is 0.08% for adults (21 and over) and 0.04% for commercial drivers. If a chemical test shows your BAC is at or above this limit, it's considered a "per se" DWI, meaning proof of BAC is enough for a charge. For individuals under 21, any detectable amount of alcohol in the system can lead to a DWI charge.

What is Implied Consent in Texas?

In Texas, implied consent refers to the law stating that operating a motor vehicle with a driver's license implies your consent to a chemical test (breathalyzer or blood test) if you're arrested for DWI. When you have a Texas driver's license, it's seen as giving automatic consent to a chemical test if you're pulled over on suspicion of DWI and lawfully arrested. Additionally, refusing a breath or blood test can result in a driver's license suspension.

Implied consent, however, only applies after an arrest. If an officer asks for a roadside breathalyzer before arresting you, you can decline without repercussions. Even if you refused the test, there might be defenses to a DWI charge, like if you were unable to give consent due to unconsciousness.

Texas Open Container Laws

Texas has strict open container laws that apply to vehicles on public highways. An open container is any bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains alcohol and is unsealed, even partially removed. In Texas, it is illegal to knowingly possess an open container in the passenger area of a vehicle, which includes the driver's seat, passenger seats, and the backseat. This applies even if the vehicle is stopped or parked. There are exceptions for passengers in rideshares, buses, and limousines, and for open containers stored in the living quarters of a motorhome or RV. Violating Texas' open container law is a Class C misdemeanor, which typically carries a fine of up to $500. However, there can be additional consequences, especially if you're caught with an open container and are also driving while intoxicated (DWI). While Texas doesn't have a statewide law against public drinking, individual cities might have their own restrictions.

Texas DWI Penalties

Texas Penal Code § 49.04 defines the offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) and classifies it as a Class A or Class B misdemeanor depending on the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). DWI may be a felony if the offender has prior convictions or a child in the car at the time of his or her arrest. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the following maximum penalties may be imposed for a DWI conviction:

First-Offense DWI Penalties in Texas

Most first-time DWI offenders have never been in trouble with the law before. But with a single moment of bad judgment or due to the actions of an overzealous policeman, an otherwise law-abiding citizen can be treated like a hardened criminal and face enormous fines, jail time, and a lifelong criminal record. 

A first-time DWI conviction (BAC Under 0.15) in TX may include the following penalties:

  • Considered a Class B Misdemeanor
  • Probation: Possible 1-2 years (deferred adjudication probation)
  • Jail Time: Minimum mandatory 72 hours, up to 6 months
  • Fine: Up to $2,000
  • Community Service: 100 hours
  • License Suspension: 90 days to one year
  • DWI Education Program: Required
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): Possible
  • $3,000 driver's license reinstatement fee
  • A lifelong mark on your criminal record

A first DWI conviction with a BAC %0.15 or higher may include the following:

  • Considered a Class A Misdemeanor
  • Fine: Up to $4,000
  • Jail Time: Up to one year
  • License Suspension: Up to two years
  • Community Service: Possible
  • DWI Education Program: Required
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): Possible

Second-Offense DWI Penalties in Texas

A second DWI with .08% BAC is a Class A Misdemeanor with the following penalties:

  • Fine: Up to $4,000
  • Jail Time: 72 hours to 1 year
  • Probation: Possible after mandatory minimum jail time. Requirements include:
    • Regular meetings with a probation officer
    • Completion of a DWI intervention/education program (mandatory)
    • Alcohol and drug testing
    • Installation and maintenance of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle
    • Community service (possible at the judge's discretion)
    • Payment of fines and court costs
    • Maintaining employment
  • License Suspension: Up to two years
  • Up to $2,000 for 3 years to maintain driving privileges

Third-Offense DWI Penalties in Texas

A third DWI or Felony DWI with .08% BAC is considered a third-degree felony and includes the following penalties:

  • $10,000 fine
  • 10 years in state prison
  • 600 hours community service
  • Two-year driver’s license suspension
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device in vehicle

Intoxication Assault Penalties in TX

Intoxication Assault, Causing Injury in a DWI Accident (Third Degree Felony):

  • $10,000 fine
  • 10 years in state prison
  • 600 hours community service

Intoxication Manslaughter Penalties in TX

Intoxication Manslaughter, Causing Death in a DWI Accident (Second Degree Felony):

  • $10,000 fine
  • 20 years in state prison
  • 800 hours community service

In addition to the above sentences, you may also face supervisory fees, license suspension hearings, and reinstatement penalties relating to traffic violations and property damage.

In the face of jail or prison time, fines, license suspension, and other serious penalties, it is crucial that you involve a competent legal professional in a timely manner. At the Law Offices of Jed Silverman, we are ready to fight your charges in order to help you avoid penalties. Our Houston DWI attorneys are dedicated to providing skilled defense and guidance to help you navigate the legal process. We will work tirelessly to build a strong defense and strive to minimize the impact of a DWI charge on your future.

DWI Arrests & ALR Hearing in Texas

In Texas, if you are arrested for DWI, the state will try to suspend your driver's license. You have two separate proceedings to deal with:

  • Criminal Charges: This is your court case for the DWI offense itself. There are potential penalties like fines, jail time, and community service depending on the severity of the offense.
  • ALR Hearing (Administrative License Revocation): This is a separate civil hearing that focuses on your driver's license suspension. You can contest the suspension entirely, even if you are found guilty of DWI in criminal court.

One of the harshest consequences of a DWI conviction is the loss of your driver's license. For most people, being able to drive is necessary to enjoy life. For some, it is integral to making a living. If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Houston or throughout the state, it is important to act quickly. You have a limited window (15 days after arrest for refusing a test, 20 days after receiving a suspension notice) to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing with the Department of Public Safety.

The purpose of the ALR hearing is to allow you to challenge the license suspension after your DWI arrest. The hearing revolves around whether the officer had a legal reason to pull you over and arrest you, and whether you refused a chemical test or had a BAC over the limit (0.08%). Winning this hearing means you keep your driver's license.

At this hearing, the police must demonstrate:

  • There was reasonable suspicion to pull you over
  • There was probable cause to place you under arrest for DWI
  • You either refused to take the breath test or scored a .08 or above
  • You failed any field sobriety tests administered at the scene

Our Houston DWI attorneys and support staff are adept at guiding clients through license suspension hearings. If your first court hearing does not turn out favorably, you have the right to an appeal. We have successfully handled many of these cases, some going all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. Our Houston DWI lawyers will do everything we possibly can to help you keep your driver's license.

 An ALR hearing is a complex legal matter. You should discuss your case with our Houston DWI attorneys to increase your chances of a successful outcome at the hearing.

Enlist the help of an experienced Houston DWI lawyer to preserve your driving rights by contacting us online or calling (713) 597-2221.

Common DWI Mistakes to Avoid in TX

There are some common mistakes we want to help you avoid. They include:

  • Voluntarily submitting to a breath test or blood test: The police want you to believe that things will go easier if you volunteer to give them the evidence they are looking for. Remember, in most cases, breath or blood test results are the only evidence they have to mount their case against you.
  • Panicking: Even if you took the test and the results showed an illegal blood alcohol concentration of .08% or above, it doesn't mean the evidence will be admissible in court. There are many reasons the breath test or blood test may be invalid. Remember, a plea arrangement with the prosecutor is the same as a conviction on your record. Don't give up. We never do.
  • Not having your attorney present at your Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing: Losing your driver's license is one of the potential repercussions of a DWI arrest. It is also the opening shot in the battle to defend yourself against the charges. When we take on a Harris County DWI case, we work to prepare a strong case for your right to continue driving. Oftentimes, winning the ALR part of the case means winning the criminal part of the case as well.
  • Hiring an inexperienced lawyer: Too many lawyers claim they can competently handle DWI cases. The truth is, DWI cases are complicated and require an in-depth understanding of the court system and process. A solid defense means knowing what strategies will work with the prosecutor and judge involved in your case. Jed Silverman has devoted his entire career to DWI and criminal defense in courts throughout Texas and is truly qualified in these matters.
  • Not getting your lawyer the right information: Hiring a defense lawyer means you will be developing a strong, trusting relationship. When your lawyer needs personal information and records, respond quickly and accurately. If you're not willing to work with your attorney, you are putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage.
  • Not telling your lawyer about medical issues: At times, the side effects of legal medications can be confused with intoxication. If you are on any kind of medication or suffer from any kind of medical condition, tell your attorney. We may be able to cast reasonable doubt on whether you were driving while intoxicated.

Legal Defense for DWI Cases in Texas

There are a number of ways to fight DWI charges in the State of Texas. At The Law Offices of Jed Silverman, our Houston DWI lawyers provide knowledgeable defense representation for people who have been arrested on drunk driving charges in Houston, Harris County, and beyond.

  • Challenging the Stop: Police need a valid reason to pull you over. If the stop was illegal, any evidence obtained afterward may be thrown out.
  • Challenging Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs): These roadside tests can be subjective. Field sobriety tests are often unreliable indicators of intoxication because they fail to take into account factors like age and medical condition that can significantly affect a driver's ability to perform the tests. An attorney can argue they were administered incorrectly or that you failed them due to medical conditions, not intoxication.
  • Chemical Testing Issues: Breathalyzers and blood tests can be inaccurate due to various factors. An attorney can raise questions about calibration, procedures, or how the test was administered.
  • Constitutional Rights Violations: Police must respect your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. An attorney can fight the stop or the collection of breath/blood samples if your rights were violated.
  • Other Defenses: Mistake of fact (you thought you were sober), duress (you were forced to drive while intoxicated), or insufficient evidence are other possibilities.

Texas' Ignition Interlock Law

An individual convicted of certain drunk driving offenses may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The device prevents the car from starting until the driver blows into a tube attached to the device. If the driver has consumed alcohol, the car will not start.

The judge may require an ignition interlock device as part of the sentence if the individual's license was suspended for DWI, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter. If the individual has been convicted two or more times of any combination of these three offenses, and at least one of the convictions was within the last ten years, the ignition interlock requirement is mandatory. Installation of the device is also mandatory if the individual was convicted and received an enhanced sentence for a drunk driving offense.

Those who are ordered to have an interlock device on their vehicles are required to pay for the devices themselves. If the court finds they are unable to afford it, the court may allow payment in installments. The individual is required to keep the device on their vehicle for at least half of the time period they are under post-conviction supervision by the court.

Facing DWI Charges in Houston? Don't Go It Alone.

A DWI arrest can be a frightening and confusing experience. You're likely worried about the potential consequences – jail time, hefty fines, license suspension, and a permanent mark on your criminal record.  These concerns can feel overwhelming, but you don't have to navigate this difficult situation alone.

The Law Offices of Jed Silverman has experienced Houston DWI attorneys ready to fight for your rights. We understand the serious consequences of a DWI conviction. Our firm is dedicated to providing aggressive and proven defense for all DWI cases, from first offenses to felonies. We are NHTSA-trained in breath test administration and can meticulously examine the details of your arrest to identify any potential weaknesses in the prosecution's case.

Enlist the help of an experienced Houston DWI lawyer to preserve your driving rights by contacting us online or calling (713) 597-2221.

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Representation for Your Drunk Driving Case in TX

Our Houston DWI lawyers are adept at standing up for our clients' rights, winning dismissals of DWI charges, reduced charges and acquittals. We may be able to help you deflect criminal and civil penalties arising from:

Jed Silverman is a certified breath test operator and field sobriety test conductor, and a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He knows that the police must adhere to strict guidelines to properly execute an arrest. He knows when the police do and do not have the right to compel you with a warrant to give a blood sample. He has a long track record of success in challenging police procedure and winning a total dismissal of charges for people like you: private citizens or those who drive for a living using a commercial driver's license (CDL).

Arrested on charges of drunk driving in Texas? We are prepared to stand up for your rights. Discuss your case in a free consultation with a Houston DWI lawyer by calling us at (713) 597-2221.

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Our Past Clients Share Their Experience
  • “He handled my case with the utmost integrity.”
    “Mr. Silverman made me feel comfortable the moment I met him. He took my case seriously and believed in me. I highly recommend him and his team.”
    - Mike Gonzales
  • “Continuously put my best interest first.”
    “I worked with them from 2018 to 2022 on multiple cases and they were able to reach favorable outcomes for each of my cases.”
    - Michael Mancha
  • “This is the team to choose.”
    “Both charges against me were dismissed and they kept me informed throughout the entire process. I will be forever grateful to Mr. Silverman and his entire staff.”
    - Fernando Bernal
  • “Jed and his team did an outstanding job.”
    “The first day I met with Jed I felt I was in good hands. He talked with confidence made me feel at ease and conducted business like a true gentleman.”
    - Andre Williams
  • “This is the BEST team for you.”
    “Not only will they fight for you, they will also care about your case. They truly exceeded our expectations and we are so grateful.”
    - Tamara Bluntson
  • “Great experience during a difficult time.”
    “Fortunately, I was turned to Jed Law offices and since day one they have been involved and determined to help me.”
    - Victor Martinez
  • “On point, really know their job!”
    “The team was professional and courteous and quick to respond through every step of the process, which resulted in emotional comfort during a difficult time.”
    - Former Client
  • “There are no words for my admiration and appreciation to Mr. Silverman and his staff!”
    “He truly cares about his clients and I saw that in every way possible I had contact with him about my son's case.”
    - Lydia Reyes
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