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Plano DWI Defense Law Blog

Bill mandating ignition interlock for DWI first offense passed

According to data released by the United States Department of Transportation, in 2013, Texas had the highest number of fatalities due to motor vehicle accidents that involved a driver who was driving while intoxicated. The numbers were so alarming that federal and state agencies as well as non-profit organizations increased their efforts to implement legislation in order to decrease DWI-related fatalities.

In a recent blog post, we discussed the efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to encourage all states to make ignition interlock devices mandatory for all DWI offenders. It seems that the Texas House of Representatives has taken MADD's efforts seriously and recently passed a bill that would make the device mandatory for all DWI first-offense cases. Currently, only repeat DWI offenders and those first-time offenders who have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or greater are ordered to install such devices in their vehicles.

You may be able to avert the consequences of a DWI offense

Driving while intoxicated in Texas is a serious offense and because it is so serious an infraction, penalties for DWI are harsh. However, the consequences of a DWI conviction do not end with penalties, such as fines, imprisonment or license suspension or revocation. According to Texas law, a person convicted of DWI must complete the necessary DWI education and intervention programs, which were discussed in last week's blog, and do community service.

While penalties mentioned in the previous blog are quite harsh, it is likely that a convicted drunk driver will probably come to the realization that the remaining consequences of a DWI conviction are even harsher. A DWI conviction record can have a significant impact on a person's employability and grievously injure a person's reputation as well as cause the convicted to experience social biases and disregard.

What Texas law requires for DWI offenders -- Part II

As the Part I of this blog explained, because of the devastation caused by intoxicated drivers, the state of Texas does whatever it can to deter people from driving after drinking. Among the state programs that deal with this problem are the DWI education and intervention programs run by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The DWI education program is mandatory for first-time DWI offenders before they can have their drivers' licenses reinstated. For additional DWI offenses, an individual must complete the DWI intervention program according to the provisions established in the state's Code of Criminal Procedure. If someone fails to complete the DWI education, then the person's driver's license will not be reinstated.

What Texas law requires for DWI offenders -- Part I

Every driver in Texas is responsible for knowing that driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances is not only dangerous but also illegal. They should also know that drunk driving can have serious consequences, including incarceration, fines and license suspension or revocation. Additionally, a first conviction for driving while intoxicated means an individual must attend an education and intervention program under the purview of the Texas Department of State Health Services as established by the state's Code of Criminal Procedure.

According to this statute, an individual who is convicted of DWI in Texas for the first time and who is serving probation must complete the state-approved education program within 180 days of the start of probation unless an individual gets an extension. Anyone who fails to complete the course within the stipulated time will lose the person's driver's license until the DWI education program is completed.

Texas man faces serious charges after two fatal DWI accidents

Driving while intoxicated is one of the major causes of motor vehicle accidents. While many Plano, Texas, residents are aware of this, DWI accidents continue to occur and Texas has the highest number of DWI-related injuries and fatalities in the country. However, not all accidents are directly caused by drunk driving as there can be other factors that lead to a driver losing control of a motor vehicle and crash.

According to reports, police in Houston recently arrested a 34-year-old man for allegedly driving while intoxicated and causing two accidents that claimed the life of a 6-year-old boy and a homeless man. Before these fatal DWI accidents, police say that the man was involved in a rear-end collision only a few hours earlier. Apparently, at that time, police only cited the man for failure to control speed.

On what basis does the U.S. DOT approve a breath testing device?

Plano, Texas, residents should know that when a law enforcement officer pulls over a driver under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the first step the officer usually takes is administering a breath test. Some earlier posts on our blog discussed the various breath testing instruments that Texas troopers may use during a DWI stop. Preliminary Breath Testing instruments, or PBTs, are the most common breath testing devices, but there are also other types of breathalyzers that the law enforcement agencies may use.

Plano residents should know that law enforcement agencies in Texas do not choose any random breath test device during a DWI stop. Rather, they only use those instruments that are approved both by the United States Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Public Safety before being put into use. The first approval comes from the U.S. DOT based on certain fixed criteria.

It is possible to seal juvenile criminal records in Texas

Even one incident of drunk driving can turn into one of the biggest, life-altering mistakes a young Texas driver can makes. In many cases, a minor may have taken the car out for a spin after a few drinks and in the process was arrested as a juvenile for driving while intoxicated. Texas laws, however, provide various scenarios and provisions under which a juvenile criminal record may be sealed so the one-time misguided deed does not further jeopardize the child's adult life.

Any Texas resident with a juvenile criminal record may petition the Texas criminal records services to seal a juvenile record. An application for sealing a criminal record must be filed in the county where the original criminal investigation and trial was conducted. If a juvenile criminal record is sealed, these charges will not be visible in the public database so no person or agency will be able to gather information about the person's criminal history as a minor.

Sound advice may be a key to felony DUI defenses in Texas

Texas laws addressing driving while intoxicated are very stringent and frequently enforced. In certain cases, DWIs may attract criminal charges in addition to arrest by police officers after a breathalyzer test or other standardized field sobriety test provides some sort of proof of inebriation. The Shapiro Law Firm has experience with many cases where the accused was charged with felony DUI charges due to previous multiple convictions on drunk driving charges.

Many accused of or charged with driving drunk for a first or even second time may be charged with a minor misdemeanor. In Texas, a third arrest for driving while intoxicated might attract felony DUI charges which carry serious penalties. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may become a key to protecting a driver from false or overzealous criminal charges and keeping the accused out of jail.

What is the role of a prosecutor in drunk driving cases?

Drunk driving charges levied against an accused driver may include felony charges under Texas law. In many cases, the prosecution becomes rather zealous in trying to convict drivers with alcohol in their system, which will lead to severe penalties. Sometimes, the court has often found that the drunk driving charges levied by the prosecution may not hold up in court because they may be based on inaccurate test results or other faulty evidence.

The lawyers for the prosecution often present a case for enhanced drunk driving charges against those drivers whose blood alcohol concentration may have registered approximately 0.15 percent in the breathalyzer test. The legal permissible limit of blood alcohol concentration for non-commercial drivers in Texas is set at 0.08 percent.

Man faces drunk driving charges after fatal accident in Texas

In Texas, a driver accused of drunk driving and causing an accident may face not only civil lawsuits but also felony charges, depending on the case and the driver's previous driving history. Wrongful allegations levied against an accused driver may lead to serious problems down the road. Thus, many drivers accused of any drunk driving accident, particularly serious charges like vehicular manslaughter, will probably want to consult professional attorneys who can prepare and present a sound defense in their case.

Recently, a fatal car accident in Harris County Texas, caused the death of a motorcycle rider after a car struck the motorcycle from behind. The police put the driver of the car under arrest after the driver refused a breath test and blood test analysis. The driver has been charged with intoxicated vehicular manslaughter. A search warrant was obtained by the authorities for a blood test to be conducted. The results of the blood test were still being analyzed to gauge if the driver was in fact intoxicated during the accident.

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