Austin may have the reputation of being a laid-back community where having a good time is always encouraged, but that doesn’t mean the city can’t take things seriously when it has to. A strong business community, top-notch restaurants and a booming tourism industry all underscore the serious side of Austin. Another area in which Austin does not mess around – its DWI policies. Convictions for driving while intoxicated are treated with the utmost seriousness in Austin, and grave consequences can result, especially when the accused lacks a skilled Austin DWI attorney.
Consider a few examples:
– An Austin firefighter charged with a DWI while not on duty was suspended by the department for 10 days before even having his scheduled court hearing. The zero-tolerance approach taken by the department did not offer any leniency to the firefighter, who was in his personal vehicle and not on the clock at the time.
– The rules are relaxed for no one – A Travis County District Attorney was arrested and taken to jail to spend the night, where she blew a .239. One week later, the District Attorney was sentenced to 45 days in jail, despite the incident being her first arrest for driving while intoxicated.
– Drivers getting behind the wheel while intoxicated may be more common than people suspect. During a four-day stretch in July, police in Austin stepped up enforcement and targeting efforts against drunk drivers and ended the stretch with 99 arrests; a similar effort over Memorial Day weekend drew 94 arrests.
Austin takes drunk driving seriously
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the state has the most drunk driving crashes and deaths in the United States. The legal limit for DWI is a .08 BAC, and an arrest means you’ll need an Austin DWI attorney if you want to avoid the costly penalties and other adverse consequences associated with an arrest for this offense.
And while the penalties for this crime – and make no mistake, the state treats it like a crime, not merely a violation – get more severe with each recurring offense, even first-time offenders face significant consequences. A first-time DWI arrest in the Austin area or anywhere in the state of Texas will subject you to fines up to $2,000, a prison sentence of up to six months, suspension of your driver’s license for up to twelve months, and an annual $1,000 charge for three years just to maintain your license. Obviously, these are severe penalties; they can dramatically alter your financial outlook and severely interrupt your life. Losing your freedom and the opportunity to work while you serve out your jail sentence can lead to the loss of your job and an indefinite period of financial uncertainty.
A second conviction brings about even more severe penalties; the maximum fine is $4,000, the maximum jail sentence is one year, the annual license payment required is $1,500, and you may lose your license for up to two years.
If you have the misfortune of experiencing three convictions for DWI in the state of Texas, the prospects of putting your life back on the right track are grim. First, you will face a staggering fine of up to $10,000. In addition, you may lose your license for up to two years, and you’ll have to pay an annual fee of $2,000 each year just to maintain your license. But what is truly disturbing is prison sentence – a range of two to ten years will result from your third DWI conviction.
Due to the dramatic severity of the consequences, it’s essential to get an Austin DWI attorney so you can avoid a conviction whenever possible. If you do get stuck with a DWI charge, don’t delay; contact an attorney as quickly as you can. Engaging competent representation early in the process will help ensure you don’t make any missteps that could impair your chances to be acquitted or have charges dropped.
Working with your attorney in an open and honest manner is also crucial. Remember that your attorney is on your side, and will do the best job with all of the facts, not just the details you may believe are favorable. Whether you are a public official like the aforementioned District Attorney or a hard-working private citizen such as the off-duty firefighter mentioned above, the law will treat you the same. Thus, cooperating with your attorney and being respectful and obedient in the courtroom are of the utmost importance.