Have You Been Arrested For A First Time DWI?
Being arrested for a first time DWI in Denton is not only scary; it can also be very serious. Once arrested, you face criminal accusations that initiate a complicated and long court process. In the event that you are found guilty, you could face jail time, hefty fines, and even a loss of driving privileges.
What Will Happen After Your First Denton DWI?
Once an officer believes that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated, he will have probable cause to put you under arrest and take you in for booking. This process will involve taking your photo, fingerprints, and collecting personal information.
After you are booked, you will be placed in jail until your initial arraignment (usually within 24 hours). This arraignment will be your first court appearance but it is not the time to defend your innocence. This initial court hearing is for the purpose of setting a bond, notifying you of the charges, and verifying your identity. Once this is done, you will be able to post bond by paying the full bond amount in cash, or using the assistance of a local bail bonds company.
You may ultimately decide to enter into a plea agreement or, you will have the option to set the case for trial in front of a jury. At the trial, the state would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating motor vehicle while intoxicated. It is best to work with an experienced Denton Criminal Defense Attorney, like Daniel K. Peugh, who can challenge these accusations by identifying weaknesses in the State’s case. Having an Attorney also increases the chance of having the charges reduced or dismissed completely.
If you are found not guilty, you will not face criminal penalties. A conviction, however, will result in several consequences.
First DWI In Texas – Is It A Felony?
Typically, a first time DWI is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas unless you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or more, then it is automatically A Class A misdemeanor. While a misdemeanor is considered less severe than a felony charge, that does not decrease the seriousness of a first-time DWI. You have still been accused of committing a crime, and you can still face serious criminal penalties.
It’s important to note that in some situations, a first DWI offense can be charged as a felony.
The charge can be upgraded to a Felony in the following situations:
- There was a child under 15 years of age in the car at the time of the offense (state jail felony)
- Your negligence caused an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury to another (third-degree felony)
- Your negligence caused an accident that resulted in the death of another (second-degree felony)
First Time DWI Penalties in Denton Texas
As mentioned above, even a first DWI offense can result in severe penalties. The incarceration term and fine amount depend on whether you were charged with a Class B or Class A misdemeanor.
Class B misdemeanor can result in:
- Up to 180 days in jail and/or
- Up to $2,000 in fines
Class A misdemeanor can result in:
- Up to 1 year in jail and/or
- Up to $4,000 in fines
Depending on your situation, you may be subject to mandatory minimum jail terms. However, in some cases the court may impose community supervision (probation) in lieu of jail time.
In addition to jail time and fines, a first-time DWI conviction can subject you to the loss of driving privileges for up to 1 year.
What to Do If You Get a First-Time DWI in Texas?
Have you or a loved one been accused of DWI? – Whether this is your first or subsequent arrest – get in contact with an experienced Denton criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You have the right to have a lawyer on your side throughout your case, and they can provide the guidance you need to fight your charge. Attorney Daniel K. Peugh is a former prosecutor and has been involved in hundreds of DWI cases. He knows both sides of the courtroom and is ready to assist with your defense today. Call our office for a free consultation at 940-566-0271.