A DWI charge is a potentially life-changing sentence, especially in Texas. It may alter people's careers and personal lives, but also the lives of their families. So the question then becomes, can a DWI be dismissed in Texas? And the answer is yes, but not in every case.
Here's how defendants can successfully reach a dismissal verdict or at least reduce the charge to a more lenient offense.
DWI vs. DUI
First and foremost, people need to understand the difference between DWI and DUI.
DUI, or driving under the influence, is a charge that targets people under the age of 21. The law in Texas states that people younger than 21 mustn't have any alcohol in their system while driving. Additionally, if the police find traces of any other illegal substance in their system, it may result in a DUI charge.
On the other hand, a DWI charge targets anyone above 21. In Texas, the legal limit for alcohol in the blood is 0.08, and anyone who exceeds this mark will get charged with a DWI. What's more, people can receive this sentence if they are driving while impaired by drugs, marijuana, and prescription medicine.
Finally, it's important to note that DWI is a much stricter and more serious offense than DUI.
How to Reach a DWI Dismissal or Reduction
The most crucial thing defendants must do is not plead guilty. According to some estimates, the dismissal rate in a DWI case in Texas is around 10 to 15 percent. Furthermore, the chances of getting a reduced sentence are approximately 30 percent. These percentages are even higher if it's someone's first offense. However, if people do plead guilty, they have almost no chance of getting the DWI dismissed.
So after entering a not guilty plea, the proceedings are as follows. In the process of charging someone with a DWI, the prosecutor must prove the following three elements:
● That the defendant was operating a vehicle
● That they were in a public location while driving
● That they were impaired in any way and that, as a result, they couldn't operate the vehicle in a safe manner
While the first two points are easy to prove, the third one is not, and that is where the defendants can make their case.
The factor that the police consider to determine if someone is fit to drive is blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, this method involves testing using a breathalyzer or a blood test, which is not always accurate. And this should be the defendants' main argument. One other fact that goes in favor of the accused is Texas' stance on the issue.
Namely, Texas is a state that is very strict when regarding DWI. This means that the police might be overeager to charge drivers with drunk driving. Because of such an approach, they can make many mistakes during traffic stops which defendants can use against the DWI sentence.
The authorities might not have administered the test the right way or made other missteps. Those can include not having reasonable suspicion to pull drivers over and no probable cause for arresting them, to name a few.
Why Should People Seek DWI Dismissal or Reduction?
A DWI sentence comes with major consequences for the convicted. (Find out if jail time is mandatory for 1st DWI in Texas) Most importantly, it is an offense that goes into the individual's permanent criminal record, which poses different problems. People might have trouble finding a job or even doing something as simple as renting an apartment. It is also very concerning how long a DWI stays on a driving record in Texas which can affect getting important licenses such as a CDL.
Additionally, this offense carries fines and penalties, the size of which depends on several factors. One is, of course, the number of previous DWI charges. If the accused is a first-time offender, they may have to pay a lower bond, and jail time is not mandatory.
A more critical factor in a DWI case is BAC. If the defendant's blood alcohol concentration was somewhere from 0.08 to 0.14, the court will consider the case as a Class B misdemeanor. Convicted people will then have to pay a fine of up to $6,000 and face up to 180 days in prison.
However, if the BAC is 0.15% or higher, the court will rule it as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries more severe penalties. This type of conviction entails paying the same amount of money in fines and the possibility of spending up to a year in jail.
If you need help with a DWI dismissal, hiring experienced DWI attorneys would be the best choice.