Houston DWI Attorneys

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DWI, or driving while intoxicated, is a very serious charge in Texas, which often carries weighty penalties, including a suspended license, jail time, fines, or a combination of all. How severe the penalty for a DWI is determined depends on the circumstances surrounding your arrest or any accident that may have occurred while you were driving. If you need Houston DWI attorneys, the team at Eddington & Worley brings to the table decades of experience. We will approach your situation with compassion and the necessary determination to see your case through. Call our office today at (281)809-9185 to get one of our experts in your corner.

What Options Are Available with a DWI Charge in Houston? 

Within the state of Texas overall, you have three primary options with a DWI charge: 

  • Dismissal: You can attempt to get the case dismissed. 
  • Deal: You can work on a deal to get a plea bargain. 
  • Trial: The case is handled during a courtroom trial. 

Most Houston DWI courts require you to retain legal representation for criminal cases of this magnitude since you may have to go to jail as a result. To ensure that you get the most favorable outcome from this experience, it is highly recommended that you hire an experienced DWI lawyer in Houston to represent you. This qualified professional will answer all your questions, address your concerns and help you to develop a detailed action plan from start to finish. 

If you must appear in court before you have this type of legal representation, the best thing for you to do is ask the judge for a continuance. When making this request, specifically state that you need more time to retain an attorney to handle this case on your behalf. 

This image shows a Houston DWI attorney talking with a client about their case.
Ideally, a DWI lawyer will be able to get your case dismissed. If not, they will defend you through the trial process.

Should I Prepare Myself to Lose a Houston DWI Case? 

It is true that the stakes are high with DWI cases throughout the state of Texas – including the city of Houston. However, hiring the best team of legal experts to work on your behalf will greatly increase your chances of winning your Houston DWI case. 

Our team of experienced attorneys and staff members has worked hard to defend and win a growing number of Houston DWI cases. As you know, the worst-case scenario is that you receive a DWI conviction, hefty fine, a loss of driving privileges along with a jail sentence. Our law firm has been able to get those charges reduced (or even dismissed) for quite a few clients over the years. 

How Much Do I Have to Pay for the Initial Consultation? 

There are considerable legal expenses associated with a Houston DWI case – especially when you calculate the expertise, time and resources used from start to finish. Fortunately, you will not have to pay anything to discuss your case with one of our attorneys. The initial consultation is free of charge. 

During this consultation, you will share the details of your case with an experienced attorney. The DWI lawyer will ask questions and answer any that you may have to paint a clear picture of what will happen next. Once you have retained our firm, we will provide you with a step-by-step walkthrough of what you should do and what we will do going forward to defend your case inside and outside the courtroom.

What Work is Done Behind the Scenes? 

There is a substantial amount of work that happens behind the scenes between the initial consultation and our first courtroom appearance to defend your case. For instance, our team will obtain and closely examine police reports to check for any procedural lapses.

We will also obtain full disclosure, certifications and any other documentation related to any blood/urine testing devices and/or field sobriety tests. Why? The primary objective is to find any anomalies or procedural lapses that may draw the charges against you into question. We have never left a stone unturned before with our past clients, and we will maintain that track record with you. 

My License Was Confiscated at the Scene. Is It Suspended? 

In most cases, the police officer will confiscate your license if you refused to take a blood test. However, it is not suspended. You will get a notice of suspension that gives you 15 days to file an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing to recover your license. If you do not file, your license will be suspended 40 days after the receipt of that notice. 

Even if you consent to the blood test, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will still send the notice of suspension if your BAC was 0.08 or higher. If that is the case, you will only have 10 days to file a hearing. 

This image shows a man on his knees being arrested by police.
Even if you were arrested and charged with DWI, your license is not suspended, but immediate action is required to prevent this from happening.

What Steps Should I Take if My License is Suspended? 

Depending on the severity of your Houston DWI case, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. You will have a specified amount of time to file for an ALR hearing to recover your license. Since you must defend your driving privileges, it is recommended to retain an experienced attorney to handle the case on your behalf. 

Am I Allowed to Have an Attorney at My ALR Hearing? 

Yes – it is highly recommended for you to have an attorney as you will have to defend your driving privileges during this hearing. Your attorney will contact the DPS to schedule the ALR hearing. 

What Happens in Court with a DWI Case? 

A vast number of questions about what happens next and the overall timeline involved may overwhelm your mind immediately after a Houston DWI arrest – especially if it is your first offense. Hopefully, the overview outlined below will answer some of those questions and clear any confusion: 

Initial Arrest

Once you are released, it is highly recommended for you to secure legal representation right away.

District Attorney

A district attorney (DA) will investigate your case further. In addition to filing your case, the DA will complete the required documentation and forward it to the county clerk. The county clerk will then assign your case to the court’s docket.

Initial Hearing (30 Days After Arrest)

A courtroom appearance is required 30 days after your arrest. If you have retained legal representation, you will not have to worry about this as your attorney will appear on your behalf. However, you will be required to appear if you do not have an attorney. 

Conference with County Attorney

Your attorney will host a conference call with the county attorney within 8-10 weeks with the intent of finding a favorable resolution. If your constitutional rights have been violated, your attorney will file a motion to suppress any evidence against you within 6-12 weeks after this conference. 

Courtroom Trial

You can either stand trial before the judge or a jury of your peers. If you choose a jury, then the number of jurors selected will depend on the nature of the charge. For example, a felony charge typically has 12 jurors while a misdemeanor charge has 6 jurors. 

Final Sentence

Unless a plea is entered as part of a plea bargain, the judge will issue a final sentence – which may include community service, fines, and/or jail time. 

What Penalties Will I Face with a DWI Conviction? 

The penalties associated with a Houston DWI conviction will depend on such factors as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), history of DWI convictions and (if applicable) the presence of minor under the age of 15 in your vehicle at the time of your arrest. 

If you are a first-time offender, then the most common Houston DWI penalties are as follow: 

  • Driving License Fee: You may have to pay $1,000-$2,000 annually for 3 years to maintain your driving privileges. 
  • License Suspension: A typical suspension ranges from 3-12 months. 
  • Fine: You may have to pay a hefty fine of up to $2,000. If you had a minor (15 or younger) in the car with you, there is a significant increase to this amount. 
  • Jail Sentence: You may have to serve between 3 days to 6 months. 

First-Time Offender – BAC of 0.15 or Higher: 

  • Driving License Fee: $1,000-$2,000 annually for 3 years
  • License Suspension: 3-12 months
  • Fine: $4,000 (higher if minor was in vehicle) 
  • Jail Sentence: Up to one year (365 days)
This image shows a man in handcuffs being taken to a police car.
Multiple DWI convictions can result in long license suspensions and even considerable jail time.

Second Offense: 

  • Driving License Fee: $1,000-$2,000 annually for 3 years
  • License Suspension: 3-24 months
  • Fine: $4,000 (higher if minor was in vehicle) 
  • Jail Sentence: Up to one year (365 days)

Third Offense: 

  • Driving License Fee: $1,000-$2,000 annually for 3 years
  • License Suspension: 3-12 months
  • Fine: $10,000  
  • Jail Sentence: Minimum of 2 years

If you have had a prior DWI conviction and/or BAC of at least 0.15, you may need to install an ignition interlock device in your car. This device will require you to breathe into it to test your BAC to start the car. Your vehicle will not start if your BAC exceeds the programmed limit. 

To minimize your losses and get the most favorable result from your Houston DWI case, it is highly recommended to hire an experienced DWI attorney. 

How Long Does It Take to Complete a DWI Case? 

There is not a set timeline for every DWI case since each case is different. There is a variety of factors that must be considered. To get a reliable estimation, you should schedule a free consultation with an experienced Houston DWI attorney as soon as possible. 

What is the Cost of a Houston DWI Case? 

You are required to pay most of the expenses associated with a Houston DWI case only after you have been convicted either by losing the trial or through a plea bargain. If you are proven guilty, however, then you must pay the court fines, court fees and (if applicable) a monthly probation fee that ranges from $40-$60. In addition, you may have to pay the costs associated with any court-ordered classes and/or chemical testing. 

Regardless of the outcome, you will still be required to pay attorney fees, bond fees associated your release from jail, travel expenses, and premium increases for automobile insurance. You should also calculate the wages that you will lose when missing work due to court appearances and meetings with your attorney. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety will also require you to pay a surcharge after your conviction that usually ranges between $1,000 and $2,000 per year for 3 years. You may also be required to file an SR-22 with your automobile insurance carrier – which could add up to $3,000 to your existing costs. 

Therefore, with everything included, a Houston DWI conviction could cost you between $7,620 and $10,620 even without retaining an experienced DWI attorney. You have a better chance of reducing those costs drastically, however, if you secure legal representation. 

DWI or DUI?

It’s important to understand the difference between a DWI and a DUI, which is mainly a question of the driver’s age. An individual who is aged 21 or older and legally considered intoxicated—a .08 blood or breath alcohol concentration or compromised by drug consumption—will be charged with a DWI. However, if you are under 21 years old and have any level of alcohol concentration, you will face DUI charges.

Texas has a zero-tolerance law, which means that if you are under the legal drinking age but have any amount of alcohol in your system, it is illegal to drive. This also makes it more likely that you will be charged with a DUI. However, even those under 21 years old can be charged with a DWI if your blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher.

This image shows a young man passing out while drinking and driving.
If you are under 21, you can be charged with DWI if any alcohol is found in your system.

There are also different penalties attached to DWIs and DUIs, with first-time offenders of either will receive lighter punishments. For instance, if you receive your first DWI, you may face one of the following penalties: a fine of up to $2,000, the suspension of your driver’s license for up to a year’s time, a jail sentence for anywhere between 3 and 180 days, and/or an annual fee of about $1,000 in order to keep your driver’s license.

You may receive one of these penalties or a combination of them. A minor receiving their first DUI will typically receive a much lighter sentence. This could include a fine of up to $500, a two-month driver’s license suspension, mandated community service hours, and classes on alcohol-awareness and safety.

These penalties are made more severe if you receive future DWIs or DUIs.

If you are charged with a DWI or DUI, you should contact our Houston DWI attorneys as soon as possible. We have decades of experience offering legal advice and representing individuals in our Houston, Texas community.

Aggravating Circumstances

When deciding the severity of DWI penalties, the prosecutor will consider all the circumstances surrounding the arrest. The penalties will likely increase if:

  • There was a minor, meaning someone aged 14 or younger, in the vehicle when the arrest took place.
  • There was an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
  • And/or the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher.

If an accident occurred and either you or another person was injured, you will likely be charged with DWI with an injury or if someone was killed, DWI with a fatal injury. If you are charged with either of these, you could face a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Any additional aggravating circumstances could lead to a first-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Our Houston criminal defense lawyers have years of experience with DWI cases and we work with you to fight against these charges. You don’t just want the quickest solution, you want the best outcome. Call our Houston law office today so that we can begin fighting for you and your future.

This image shows a woman seriously injured on the roadway after being hit by a drunk driver.
If you injured someone in a DWI accident you could be facing much more serious charges.

Deferred Adjudication

If you just received your first DWI, it may be possible for our DWI attorneys to negotiate your sentence down to a deferred adjudication agreement instead of jail time or a steep fine.

Adjudication agreements depend on which county or municipality you were arrested in. That’s why it’s so important to have legal representation from a local law office. The Eddington & Worley team in Houston has a thorough knowledge of and experience in our local laws and can offer you the legal counsel you need.

DWIs used to be ineligible for deferred adjudication agreements. However, a new law now allows those who have been convicted of a DWI to receive an order of nondisclosure. This means the DWI won’t show up on your record as long as you carry out the conditions of your probation—this usually means completing counseling or taking an alcohol-awareness course, completing community service, or staying sober for an agreed-upon length of time.

The legal team at Eddington & Worley have in-depth knowledge of how deferred adjudication works and we will build our defense case so that you receive the best outcome from your charge.

License Suspension Process

Some people who are charged with a DWI have their driver’s license suspended. When you are issued a Notice of Suspension, you have 40 days before your Texas driver’s license is suspended. To avoid this, you have only 15 days to submit a challenge to the license suspension. If you leave the suspension unchallenged, your license will automatically be suspended after the 40 days.

When you challenge the license suspension, you will be given an Administrative Law Review and until this hearing, the notice of suspension acts as a temporary driver’s license.

If you contact our law offices, we can help you file your appeal against the suspension of your driver’s license. We will also be able to represent you during the administrative hearing and help you throughout the entire process.

During your Administrative Law Review hearing, the state still has the burden of proof. This means that the state must prove both of the following:

  • The officer at the scene had probable cause to stop you.
  • Your blood alcohol concentration was tested and was .08 or higher or you tested positive for drugs; or you refused to provide the officer with any sample of breath, blood, or urine.

If the judge deems that both of those factors are proved, you will have your license suspended. However, if only one or neither is proved, you will have your license restored to you.

Blood Testing and Breathalyzer

In Texas, police can be very determined to test your blood if at any time you refuse to provide a sample of blood or urine or use a breathalyzer. Police officers are legally authorized to force you to submit a blood sample. In fact, a police officer may be able to draw your blood without your consent and without a warrant. Here are a few examples of when this can occur:

  • Someone has been injured or killed as a result of you driving while intoxicated, resulting in a charge of Intoxicated Manslaughter or Intoxicated Assault.
  • You already have two or more alcohol-related driving offenses on your record.
  • There was a minor in the vehicle.
  • If anyone else in the vehicle had to be taken to the hospital to receive medical attention.
This image shows a man arguing with a police officer about taking a breathalyzer test. Houston DWI attorneys know how to fight breathalyzer results.
If police suspect you of DWI, one of the first things you will be asked to do is take a breathalyzer test.

In Texas, you do have the right to refuse a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test when arrested for a DWI Class B or Class A Misdemeanor. These are the only situations in which a sample may be refused.

Fighting Your Case

Our criminal defense lawyers at the Eddington & Worley office in Houston, Texas will act as your advocate. Our decades of experience in the field means you can rest assured that you are in good hands. We know the ins and outs of laws surrounding DWIs and DUIs and will fight to get you the best possible outcome.

We understand that this can be a very stressful, emotional time and it can be overwhelming to try to understand how the legal process works. That’s why our team will work with you so that we can take you through the legal procedures and help you understand the process better. We will build your defense with you and work to get you the best result.

Call today for a free consultation with our legal team. This consultation holds you to no obligations but will ensure that you leave the conversation with more knowledge and confidence.

Our Houston DWI attorneys will defend you using some of the most tried and true strategies:

  • We will dispute the officer’s reasonable suspicion when he pulled your car over.
  • We will challenge the probable cause of your arrest for DWI or DUI.
  • We will dispute the methodology or the equipment that was used when your breath, blood, or urine was tested for alcohol or drugs.
  • And we will dispute the results from the chemical BAC testing.

When we work with you, we will be able to learn if the police violated your rights at any time during the arrest or any subsequent dealings with the authorities. If there was an accident or a car wreck at the time of the arrest, we will also challenge the prosecutor’s ability to prove that you are at fault for the accident.

Even if we cannot fully dispute every part of the DWI charge, our team will likely be able to negotiate down your charges or even have them dismissed because of an overall lack of evidence against you.

Contact Our Houston DWI Attorneys Today

A DWI can severely impact the quality of your life and your financial stability.

You will have steep court-mandated fees as well as having to pay $2,000 every year in order to retain your driver’s license. However, if there are aggravating circumstances, you could pay much higher fines, as much as $10,000 if it is a third-, second-, or first-degree felony offense. You could also face a lengthy prison sentence, which throws your life into disarray.

Even if you do not face jail time, other restrictions can be placed on your life, such as supervised probation, monitored community service, or even an ignition interlock placed on your vehicle. These punishments will still have a profound effect on your life.

With proper legal advocacy, these penalties can be reduced or even dismissed. We will work with you to protect your rights throughout the legal process as well as to build a strong defense to lessen your sentence or even have your case dismissed from court.

Contact the Eddington & Worley team today to receive a free consultation. We care about protecting your rights and your future. We will fight aggressively to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome from this unfortunate situation. It is normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed when you are charged with a DWI, but with the right legal representation, you can feel confident and secure that you are receiving the best quality legal support and defense. Call us today and start the process of fighting your DWI charge with the best Houston DWI attorneys on the case.

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