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Driving While Intoxicated DWI

San Antonio DWI Lawyers

Highly Experienced DWI Representation in Bexar County, TX

The criminal offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is charged under Texas Penal Code Section 49.04. DWI occurs when a person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. The term “public place” means any place accessible to the public, including but not limited to streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.

Attorney Don Flanary and the team at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC fight DWI charges in many ways. We can fight for you, from dissecting the breath, field sobriety, or blood tests to arguing your case before a jury. Our San Antonio DWI attorneys are not afraid to take your case to court. 

We prepare every case for trial. Don has tried numerous DWI charges, resulting in outcomes from not guilty to dismissal before trial. The courts treat DWI cases very seriously; you need an experienced and fearless warrior to fight back. 

If you were arrested for DWI, you have little time to save your Texas state driver’s license. Flanary Law Firm, PLLC is available for a free consultation 24/7. We strongly urge you to contact us at (210) 899-7566 as soon as you have recovered from the arrest.

What Is Considered Intoxication in Texas?

Under Texas law, the term “intoxicated” means not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties because of the consumption of the following:

  • Alcohol
  • A controlled substance
  • A drug; a dangerous drug
  • A combination of two or more substances or other substances in the body

Intoxicated can also mean having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more. “Alcohol concentration” means the number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, 100 milliliters of blood, or 67 milliliters of urine.

Under the Texas DWI statute, the term “controlled substance” means a substance, including a drug, an adulterant, and a dilutant, listed in Schedules I through V or Penalty Groups 1, 1-A, or 2 through 4. The term includes the aggregate weight of any mixture, solution, or other substance containing a controlled substance.

The term “drug” means a substance, other than a device or a component, part, or accessory of a device, which is recognized as a drug in the:

The term “drug” can also include a supplement to either pharmacopeia or the formulary intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease in man or animals. These substances are designed to affect the structure or function of the body of man or animals but are not food or are intended for use as a substance component described in this definition. 

The term “dangerous drug” means a device or a drug that is unsafe for self-medication and is not included in Schedules I through V or Penalty Groups 1 through 4 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.

What Is the Definition Motor Vehicles in Texas?

Under the Texas DWI statute, “motor vehicle” means a device in, on, or by which a person or property may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.

What Are the Different Types of DWI Cases in Texas?

Texas law has at least 18 different ways of charging an intoxication offense, including:

  • Driving under the Influence (DUI) Minor (1st offense) Class C misdemeanor
  • DUI Minor (two or more previous final DUI-M dispositions & Def. 17 or Older) Class B misdemeanor
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) (1st offense) Class B misdemeanor
  • Boating While Intoxication (BWI) (1st offense) Class B misdemeanor
  • Flying While Intoxicated (FWI) (1st offense) Class B misdemeanor
  • DWI with BAC > 0.15 Class A misdemeanor
  • DWI (1 previous Ch. 49 conviction) Class A misdemeanor
  • BWI (1 previous Ch. 49 conviction) Class A misdemeanor
  • FWI (1 previous Ch. 49 conviction) Class A misdemeanor
  • DWI with Child Passenger Class SJF (state jail felony)
  • DWI (2 or more previous Ch. 49 convictions) – third-degree felony (F3)
  • BWI (2 or more previous Ch. 49 convictions) – third-degree felony (F3)F3
  • FWI (2 or more previous Ch. 49 convictions) – third-degree felony (F3)
  • DWI with one or more intoxication manslaughter convictions – third-degree felony (F3)
  • Intoxication Assault – third-degree felony (F3)
  • Intoxication Assault on a peace officer, firefighter, EMS – second-degree felony (F2)
  • Intoxication Manslaughter – second-degree felony (F2)
  • Intoxication Manslaughter causing the death of peace officer, firefighter, EMS – felony (F1)

Is There a Difference Between DWI and DUI in Texas?

DWI vs. DUI in Texas

In Texas, the terms DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and DUI (Driving Under the Influence) are often used interchangeably but have distinct differences. DWI is typically charged when a driver is found operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or impaired due to drugs. 

DUI, on the other hand, usually pertains to minors under the age of 21 who are found to have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. While both offenses involve impaired driving, the penalties and legal processes can differ significantly.

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What Are the Penalties for DWI in Texas?

The penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) depend, in part, on the number of prior convictions. 

A first offense of DWI is punishable by the following penalties:

  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Three days to 180 days in jail
  • Loss of driver's license for up to a year
  • Annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain a driver's license

A first DWI can be classified in any of the following ways:

  • A first DWI in Texas is classified as a Class B misdemeanor with a minimum of 72 hours in jail.
  • A first DWI with an open container is classified as a Class B misdemeanor with a minimum of six days of jail time.
  • A first DWI with a BAC of .15 or higher is classified as a Class A misdemeanor.

A second offense, DWI, is classified as a Class A misdemeanor subject to the following penalties:

  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • One month to a year in jail
  • Loss of driver's license for up to two years
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain a driver’s license

A third DWI offense is classified as a third-degree felony (often called “Felony DWI”) punishable by: 

  • A $10,000 fine
  • Two to 10 years in prison
  • Loss of driver's license for up to two years
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain a driver's license

After two or more DWI convictions in five years, the minimum penalties include a required special ignition switch that prevents the vehicle from being operated after consuming alcohol. The criminal penalties for felony DWI are significantly more severe. 

What DWI Charges Are Considered a Felony in Texas?

Those offenses include: 

  • Intoxication Assault – third-degree felony
  • Intoxication assault with serious bodily injury resulting in a persistent vegetative state – second-degree felony
  • Intoxication assault – third-degree felony
  • Intoxication assault – second-degree felony if serious bodily injury is caused to a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel while in actual discharge of official duties
  • Intoxication manslaughter – a second-degree felony
  • Intoxication manslaughter -- second-degree felony
  • Intoxicating manslaughter -- felony if serious bodily injury is caused to a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical personnel while in the actual discharge of official duties)

Can Drugs Contribute to a DWI Charge?

In some cases, the prosecutor will argue that a synergistic effect occurred because the defendant ingested a drug or controlled substance in such a quantity and to such an extent that it made the defendant more susceptible to being under the influence of an intoxicating liquor alone.

What Is the Penalty for DWI With A Child in the Car in Texas?

Texas law provides for enhanced penalties if you are accused of DWI with a child passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle with you. 

The penalties for DWI with a child passenger include:

  • A fine of up to $10,000;
  • Up to two years in a state jail; and
  • Loss of your driver's license for 180 days.

What Is Considered Intoxication Assault?

The criminal offense of intoxication assault requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated and caused another serious bodily injury. This is a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.

What Is Considered Intoxication Manslaughter?

If the DWI results in death, the crime is charged as intoxication manslaughter. A conviction for intoxication manslaughter comes with a maximum fine of $10,000.00 and/or imprisonment for two to 20 years. 

Intoxicated manslaughter or manslaughter with the use of a deadly weapon are both charged as a second-degree Felony.

Can a DWI Be Reduced?

DWI charges in Texas can potentially be reduced, but this outcome depends on several factors and the case's specifics. One typical reduction is from a DWI to an Obstruction of a Highway charge, a lesser offense with more lenient penalties. 

Achieving a reduction often involves negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution, presenting mitigating circumstances, or highlighting procedural errors made during the arrest or investigation. Our experienced DWI defense attorneys can thoroughly evaluate your case and work towards the most favorable outcome.

How DWI Charges Affect Your License

If convicted of DWI, you may face an automatic license suspension ranging from 90 days to two years, dependent on prior offenses and the specifics of the current charge. You have 15 days to challenge the suspension by requesting a hearing through the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). 

Furthermore, refusal to submit to a blood or breath test can lead to an automatic suspension under Texas's "implied consent" laws. A temporary license, known as an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL), is possible for essential work, school, and household duties. Navigating these complexities requires professional legal guidance to protect your rights and preserve your driving ability.

Common Mistakes When Charged with a DWI in Texas

Facing a DWI charge can be a daunting experience, and many individuals make mistakes that can negatively impact their case. Being aware of these common pitfalls can help you navigate the legal process more effectively and may improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

  • Not Hiring an Experienced Attorney: One of the biggest mistakes people make is not hiring an experienced San Antonio DWI attorney. A skilled lawyer understands the intricacies of DWI law in Texas and can provide crucial guidance and representation. Without proper legal counsel, you risk making uninformed decisions that might worsen your situation.
  • Failing to Request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing: After being charged with a DWI, it’s essential to request an ALR hearing within 15 days to contest the suspension of your driver’s license. Many individuals overlook this deadline, leading to automatic suspension, which can severely impact daily life and employment.
  • Admitting Guilt or Providing Incriminating Information: In the heat of the moment, some individuals may admit guilt or provide law enforcement with incriminating information. It is crucial to exercise your right to remain silent and avoid making any statements without your San Antonio DWI attorney present.
  • Assuming Guilt Without Examining Evidence: Many people assume that failing a breathalyzer or field sobriety test translates directly to guilt. However, several factors can affect these tests' accuracy, such as medical conditions, improper calibration of equipment, or officer error. An experienced attorney can scrutinize the evidence and potentially identify weaknesses in the prosecution's case.
  • Missing Court Dates or Deadlines: Missing a court date or important deadline can significantly hurt your case and result in additional penalties or even an arrest warrant. Keeping track of all legal obligations and showing up on time is vital for a successful defense.
  • Delaying Legal Action: Time is of the essence when dealing with a DWI in San Antonio. Delaying legal action or waiting too long to consult an attorney can limit your defense options. Promptly seeking legal representation ensures that crucial evidence is preserved, and a strategic defense plan is put in place.
  • Ignoring Potential Defenses: Some individuals may not realize that several defenses could apply to their case. An experienced San Antonio DWI attorney can explore various avenues, such as questioning the validity of the traffic stop, challenging the accuracy of chemical tests, or examining procedural errors during the arrest.
  • Assuming First-Time Offenders Aren’t at Risk: First-time offenders might think they will receive leniency simply because it is their first offense. Texas DWI laws are strict, and even first-time offenders can face severe penalties, including hefty fines, license suspension, and jail time. Taking the charge seriously and seeking professional legal help is crucial.

If you are facing a DWI in San Antonio, avoiding these common mistakes can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Retaining a knowledgeable and experienced attorney from Flanary Law Firm, PLLC can guide you through the legal complexities and work toward the best possible resolution.

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Why Choose Flanary Law Firm, PLLC?

  • Constant Communication
    At our firm, we always want our clients to feel empowered when defending against criminal charges. We aim to constantly communicate with our clients, answering questions and taking feedback as we progress through the case. We are always here to answer your questions or adjust your legal strategy as needed.
  • A History of Results
    With multiple decades of experience between our attorneys, we have a history of proven results and happy clients. We always aim to get a criminal case dismissed or have the charges lowered to reduce any penalties our clients are facing. We are confident we can get you the results you deserve.
  • Experience You Can Count On
    At our firm, we pride ourselves on the diverse range of criminal cases we have worked on. From federal felony charges to state misdemeanors, we know exactly how to build a defense strategy that's right for you. Our team can handle even the most complex cases and are willing to be flexible with our strategies.
  • Advice on Your Timeline
    We understand that all criminal cases work at different paces. Whether you are just looking around for a lawyer because you're under investigation or you need immediate representation, our team can help. We will work with you no matter where you are in the process to protect your rights.
  • Free Initial Consultations
    We understand that hiring a criminal defense attorney is a big decision that many people need time to make. That's why we offer all our potential clients a free consultation to see if we're the right legal team for them. We will review your case and begin building a legal strategy to defend your rights.
  • Personalized Legal Defense Strategies
    All criminal cases are different, so our dense strategies are too. We would never re-use a legal strategy from one client to the next because your case is too unique. We will always build a defense strategy that's personalized and effective for you to get the outcome you deserve.

Work with a Proven DWI Law Firm

When charged with DWI, you must contact an experienced law firm that has successfully represented many DWI clients. With offices in San Antonio, Corpus Christ, and Laredo, Flanary Law Firm, PLLC represents Texans in Bexar County and the surrounding areas. 

Additional Resources

DWI Task Force in Bexar County – The DWI Task Force is a special District Attorney's Office criminal division. The task force consists of prosecutors, investigators, and an advocate dedicated to investigating and prosecuting alcohol and drug-related crashes.

TXDOT DWI Information —The Texas Department of Transportation website provides information about the penalties and punishments for various types of DWI charges in Texas, including a first offense, second offense, third offense, or driving with a child passenger.

Call Flanary Law Firm, PLLC Today

Attorney Don Flanary and team represent clients in DWI and DUI (under 21), Flying While Intoxicated (FWI), and Boating While Intoxicated (BWI). 

Learn more about the implied consent statute in Texas and how it might impact your case, as well as the following: 

Request a free consultation with a San Antonio DWI attorney by contacting us online or at (210) 899-7566 today. 

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