Though most drunk driving offenses in Texas are misdemeanors, they are not something that you should take lightly. A conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas will result in several serious statutory penalties as well as the consequences and hassle that come from having a criminal record.
Just because you’ve been arrested for DWI doesn’t mean you have to face conviction. As a U.S. citizen, you have rights, including the ever-important right to an attorney. An experienced drunk driving defense lawyer in Williamson County can fight against your DWI charges in Georgetown, Round Rock, or the surrounding areas and work toward a more favorable outcome.
Georgetown Misdemeanor DWI Defense Lawyer
A conviction for any DWI offense in Texas can have a serious impact on your future, even if the drunk driving charges are classed as a misdemeanor. If you have been charged with misdemeanor DWI in Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, Taylor, Hutto, or elsewhere in Williamson County, contact Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. as soon as possible after your arrest to begin defending against these charges immediately.
Michael J. Price is a skilled and knowledgeable Georgetown criminal DWI defense lawyer with decades of experience defending clients like you. They know what it takes to win a DWI case in Williamson County, and will construct a comprehensive, customized defense to fight for that objective. To find out more about what Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. can do for your Georgetown area misdemeanor DWI charges, call (512) 354-1880 today and schedule your free initial case consultation.
Types of Misdemeanor DWI Offenses in Williamson County
Whether your DWI charge is a misdemeanor or a felony in Texas depends largely on the circumstances of the case. Generally, a simple drunk driving offense with no aggravating circumstances like the presence of a child or bodily injury is considered a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor DWI is the most common type of drunk driving offense in Texas. Distinguishing a misdemeanor DWI case from a felony DWI case in Williamson County is important because the penalties for a felony DWI conviction are more punitive.
While the penalties for misdemeanor DWI offenses are still serious, there may be certain defenses and mitigating circumstances your Georgetown drunk driving defense lawyer may be able to use for a misdemeanor DWI that are not available for similar felony offenses. What constitutes misdemeanor DWI in Texas is defined by Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code and includes the following offenses:
- First DWI: Tex. Penal Code Section § 49.04 – A person can be charged with their first driving while intoxicated offense if he or she is found to be operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Intoxicated can mean your physical faculties are impaired by alcohol, drugs, another substance, or a combination, or that your blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) is over .08. First DWI is a Class B Misdemeanor with a minimum 72 hours of confinement.
- Boating While Intoxicated: Tex. Penal Code Section § 49.06 – Boating while intoxicated, or BWI, is the same as DWI, except for instead of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the person is found to be operating a watercraft while intoxicated in a public place. A watercraft is defined as a vessel, one or more water skis, an aquaplane, or another device used to transport or carry a person on water, other than those propelled solely by the current. BWI is a Class B Misdemeanor with a minimum 72 hours of confinement.
- Flying While Intoxicated: Tex. Penal Code Section § 49.05 – Flying while intoxicated, or FWI, is also the same as DWI or BWI with one exception. Instead of operating a motor vehicle or a watercraft, the person charged with FWI was found to be operating an aircraft, such as an airplane or helicopter, while intoxicated. Flying while intoxicated is also a Class B Misdemeanor with a minimum 72 hours of confinement.
- Second DWI: Tex. Penal Code Section § 49.09(a) – A second DWI offense can be charged if the person has previously been charged and convicted of any DWI offense, including, but not limited to, DWI, BWI, and FWI. A charge for second DWI is generally a Class A Misdemeanor.
- Juvenile DWI: Tex. Alcoholic Beverage Code Ann. § 106.041 – Also known as underage DWI, juvenile DWI is when any adult or juvenile under 21 is found to be operating a motor vehicle or watercraft in a public place with any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system. This is known as a zero tolerance policy. Juvenile DWI is a Class C Misdemeanor.
- Open Container DWI: Tex. Penal Code Section § 49.04(c) – If it is proven that the defendant had an open alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of the vehicle at the time he or she was allegedly committing DWI, the offense will be upgraded to open container DWI. This offense is also a Class B Misdemeanor, but the minimum confinement is increased to six days.
- DWI with BAC Over .15: Tex. Penal Code Section § 49.04(d) – If the person charged with DWI submits or is required to submit to DWI chemical testing and his or her BAC is found to be at .15 or higher, the DWI charge becomes a Class A Misdemeanor. Remember, it is best to never submit to chemical testing of your blood or breath for DWI.
- DWI with Property Damage: Tex. Penal Code Sections §§ 49.04 and 28.04 – Unlike other states, Texas doesn’t have a specific offense for DUI with property damage. Instead, if your alleged DWI offense caused property damage, you will be charged with one count of DWI and one count of reckless damage or destruction. These are Class B Misdemeanors and Class C Misdemeanors, respectively.
Penalties for Misdemeanor DWI in Texas
What penalties you will face for a conviction of misdemeanor DWI in Georgetown or the surrounding areas will depend on the circumstances of your case and the class your misdemeanor drunk driving offense falls in. However, there are some penalties which may apply to any DWI conviction, including a driver’s license suspension, probation, community service, mandated DWI school, mandated alcohol or drug awareness and/or treatment program, the installation of an ignition interlock device, and the payment of all court costs. The maximum statutory penalties for misdemeanor DWI offenses are as follows:
Class C Misdemeanor DWI
- $500 fine
Class B Misdemeanor DWI
- 180 days in jail
- $2,000 fine
Class A Misdemeanor DWI
- 1 year in jail
- $4,000 fine
Some misdemeanor DWI charges come with mandatory minimum prison sentences as defined by statute. For instance, simple DWI, boating while intoxicated and flying while intoxicated require 72 hours of minimum confinement. An experienced Williamson County criminal defense attorney will be able to help you sort out the penalties related to your misdemeanor drunk driving offense in the Georgetown area as well as defend against them.
Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. | Misdemeanor DWI Defense Attorney in Williamson County
If you have been charged with misdemeanor DWI anywhere in Williamson County, including Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, Taylor, and Hutto, contact Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. to begin your defense immediately. Michael J. Price has over a decade of experience serving clients like you and know what it takes to obtain a favorable outcome in a Williamson County misdemeanor DWI case.
Your first consultation is free, so call Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. today at (512) 354-1880 and schedule yours.