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DWI/Drunk Driving

An arrest for a DWI can be an overwhelming and intimidating process. You may not know what should be your next step in the lengthy process. It is important to know drunk driving accusations require serious attention from the moment you are pulled over. You have the right to build a defense against the charges, and it is best to start from the moment you are arrested.

The offenses can have serious penalties, including suspension of your driver’s license, fines, jail time and a criminal record. These can have serious consequences on your life, including difficulty finding employment or potentially losing a job where you are employed at the time of the offense. However, an arrest does not have to mean a conviction. A San Antonio DWI attorney can help.

San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI, also referred to as DUI) or the closely related underage offense of driving under the influence (DUI), the San Antonio DWI defense attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr will explore all opportunities for avoiding conviction or reducing the consequences.

The attorneys have years of experience fighting drinking and driving charges, and they can use their knowledge to help you build the best defense possible. The nationally renowned team will work with you to make sure your rights are represented throughout the process.

Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr represents clients throughout the San Antonio areas and other cities throughout Texas. Contact the attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr by calling 210-226-1463 for a free initial phone consultation. The key to avoiding prosecution is a strong defense. Get started with the attorneys today.


Overview of Texas DWI Law


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Definition of Driving While Intoxicated

A person can be found guilty of driving while intoxicated if he or she operates a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. In Texas, a person is considered intoxicated if he or she no longer has normal control over his or her mental or physical faculties, due to the consumption of drugs, alcohol or the combination of those substances, according to Texas Penal Code Annotated § 49.01.

A person also could be considered intoxicated based on the results of a chemical test. If a chemical test shows a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher, he or she could be considered intoxicated. If a driver’s BAC is measured above the legal limit, he or she automatically will be arrested, regardless of their ability to demonstrate normal control over their mental or physical faculties.   

Law enforcement officers can use a variety of chemical tests to determine if a person is under the influence. Generally a breath test is used to determine BAC, but blood tests and field sobriety tests also can be used to determine whether you have an excessive BAC. As a driver you can refuse to submit to those tests, but there could be consequences.

In Texas, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test when you are arrested for a DWI, your driver's license will be suspended automatically. Additionally, you could be brought before a judge and, if appropriate, a warrant would be signed to require a blood draw. This is called a No Refusal DWI.

Once your driver's license is suspended, you do have options. You are entitled to an administrative license revocation hearing where you may contest the suspension along. This is separate from the criminal charges, but you still have the right to legal counsel.


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Attacking Faulty Evidence Against You

A police officer who suspects a person of driving while intoxicated will ask him or her to submit to a test to determine intoxication. While there is a constitutional right to refuse, Bexar County's "No Refusal" policy allows police to obtain a search warrant for the suspect's blood.

Many DWI cases proceed without legally acceptable evidence because the prosecutors hope the defendants will plead guilty without scrutinizing their case. Our attorneys are experienced at examining the evidence to determine whether the state can prove you violated DWI laws. We are highly knowledgeable about the different breathalyzer tests that are used, what procedures must be followed in order to get reliable results and what factors might cause the tests to malfunction.

We also are trained in and are very familiar with the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We are skilled at identifying where the tests administered by the police deviated from the standard methods, which could decrease their reliability.


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DWI Penalties and Punishments

The penalties for a drunk driving conviction depend mostly upon the circumstances surrounding the case, including whether or not the defendant has any prior DWI convictions. Other factors include if there were any injuries involved in the DWI or any property damage. Some DWI penalties in Texas include:

For a first offense of DWI the following punishment apply:

  • Between three to 180 days in jail
  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • A driver's license suspension for up to one year
  • Annual surcharges ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years

For a second offense of DWI the following punishments apply:

  • Between 30 to 364 days in jail
  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • A driver's license suspension for up to two years
  • Annual surcharges of ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 a year for three years
  • After two or more DWI convictions within a five-year period, the installation of a special ignition switch is required

For a third offense of DWI the following punishments apply:

  • Between two to 10 years in prison
  • A $10,000 fine
  • A driver's license suspension of up to two years
  • Annual surcharges up to $2,000 per year for three years
  • After two or more DWI convictions within a five-year period, the installation of a special ignition switch is required

Other related penalties can include probation, community supervision, community service, ignition interlock devices, drug and alcohol education courses, DWI school, additional court fees and more fines. 


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Related Charges

If an accident occurs causing injury or death and it is alleged that a driver was intoxicated, that driver may face other significant charges under Texas law:

  • Intoxication Assault is defined under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 as operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and causing an injury that involves substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss. Intoxication assault is a felony of the third degree punishable by two to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000 fine or both.
  • Intoxication Manslaughter involves causing death while driving a vehicle while intoxicated, according to Texas Penal Code § 49.08. The offense can be charged as either a second-degree felony or a first-degree felony.

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Additional Resources for DWI Cases in Bexar County

Bexar County DA on DWI - Bexar County Criminal District Attorney, Susan D. Reed, discusses Texas DWI implied content law. The website also provides information about the District Attorney's Office new "No Refusal" policy and the number of arrests made under the new program in 2013.

Texas Department of Transportation on DWI - The TxDOT website provides information to the public on Texas DWI law, including possible administrative actions to immediately suspend the driver’s license of the person accused.

Bexar County DWI Court - This link provides information about the Bexar County DWI Court. The court is designed to increase public safety and offender accountability through therapeutic judicial management, collaborative treatment, education and supervision.

Alcoholics Anonymous of San Antonio - Alcoholics Anonymous is a program for men and women who are dedicated to stop their addictions to alcohol. The program is a system that allows them to work together for sobriety.


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Finding the Best DUI Attorney in San Antonio

If you were arrested for DWI in San Antonio or in any part of Bexar County, contact an experienced DWI attorney at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr. We can help you at every stage of the case. We provide a full service approach to help you fight for the best result. Call 210-226-1463 to discuss the fact of your case.

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