Many people who are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas will immediately wonder whether there is any hope of possibly getting their criminal charges reduced so they can plead guilty to a lesser offense that carries far fewer consequences. Anybody who is hoping to get their DWI charges reduced will want to be working with a Denton DWI reduction attorney.
DWI crimes can carry a bevy of long-term consequences for alleged offenders, so it is always in a person’s best interests to see what options they have for mitigating their possible sentences for convictions. The possibility of achieving a reduction in DWI charges often depends on the specifics of an arrest, so it is always wise to make sure you consult a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate any errors in your arrest that could negatively impact the case for a prosecutor.
DWI Reduction Defense Lawyer in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX
If you were arrested for DWI, contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy has handled scores of DWI cases all over Texas and knows how to identify all the flaws in the cases of prosecutors to help clients achieve the most favorable possible outcomes for their criminal cases. You can call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to get a free consultation so we can appropriately vet your case and explore all of your possible defenses.
DWI Charges in Texas
Texas Penal Code § 49.04 establishes that a person commits a DWI offense when they are intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. This crime is usually a Class B misdemeanor, but when an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine shows an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed, it is a Class A misdemeanor.
Under Texas Penal Code § 49.045, a person who is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place and their vehicle is occupied by a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age can be charged with a state jail felony. Texas Penal Code § 49.07 is the state intoxication assault law that states a person commits an offense if they, by accident or mistake, cause serious bodily injury to another person while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, with “serious bodily injury” being defined as an injury creating a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, and Texas Penal Code § 49.08 is the intoxication manslaughter law that states a person commits an offense if they are intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.
Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony and intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony. Texas Penal Code § 49.09 also establishes many enhanced DWI offenses and penalties.
Under this statute, a DWI offense is a Class A misdemeanor when a person has one prior conviction for an offense relating to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating an aircraft while intoxicated, operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated. A DWI or DWI with child passenger offense is a third-degree felony if the alleged offender has previously been convicted one time of intoxication manslaughter or an offense under the laws of another state if the offense contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.08, or two times of any other offense relating to operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating an aircraft while intoxicated, operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.
An offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 is a second-degree felony if the alleged offender caused serious bodily injury to a firefighter or emergency medical services personnel while in they were in the actual discharge of official duty, or a first-degree felony if the alleged offender caused serious bodily injury to a peace officer or judge while the officer or judge was in the actual discharge of an official duty. An offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.07 is also a second-degree felony of the second degree if the alleged offender caused serious bodily injury to another in the nature of a traumatic brain injury that results in a persistent vegetative state.
An offense under Texas Penal Code § 49.08 is a first-degree felony if the alleged offender caused the death of a firefighter or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of an official duty, or a peace officer or judge while the officer or judge was in the actual discharge of an official duty.
Denton County DWI Penalties
In general, the possible penalties for DWI convictions will be as follows:
- Class B misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000
- Class A misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000
- State Jail Felony — Up to two years in state jail and/or fine of up to $10,000
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000
Beyond the possible imprisonment and fines, DWI convictions carry many other consequences. Many alleged offenders will face prolonged periods in which their driver’s licenses are suspended, and people may have difficulty landing jobs or even keeping jobs because of convictions.
Possible Reduced DWI Cases in Texas
For people to have hope of reducing DWI charges, there typically needs to be some issue with the DWI arrest that weakens a prosecutor’s case. Some of the most common reasons that prosecutors become willing to reduce charges may include:
- The arrest represents an alleged offender’s first DWI offense
- The alleged offender has no prior criminal record
- The alleged offender’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test results were either at or just below the 0.08 legal limit
- The alleged offender refused to take a chemical test, so there is no breath or blood sample to submit into evidence
- Police made in an improper traffic stop or did not establish probable cause
- Police improperly administered a chemical test or field sobriety test
- The DWI did not result in an accident or any injuries
- The alleged offender was coherent and respectful on police video
- There is other evidence of police misconduct
There can also be cases in which a prosecutor does have evidence of a failed blood, breath, or urine sample, but that evidence was improperly collected and a motion could be filed that prevents it from being used against the alleged offender. Certain flaws in a prosecutor’s case will often lead to the prosecutor being more willing to negotiate a reduction in charges because the prosecutor can still secure a conviction for a lesser offense, which will look better on their record than having to toss their case and getting nothing out of it.
Two of the most common kinds of lesser charges people may agree to plead guilty to include reckless driving (often referred to as a “wet reckless”) and obstructing a highway or other passageway. Certain cases may even involve other lesser offenses, such as following distance violations in some cases.
Texas Transportation Code § 545.401 establishes that a person commits a reckless driving offense if they drive a vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. This crime is a traffic misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200 and/or up to 30 days in jail.
With a wet reckless, you will pay significantly lower fines, may be able to completely avoid a jail sentence or at least have it reduced, and avoid any consequences for your driving privileges. You also have a much shorter probation period.
Texas Penal Code § 42.03 establishes that an alleged offender commits obstructing a highway or other passageway if, without legal privilege or authority, they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly obstruct a highway, street, sidewalk, railway, waterway, elevator, aisle, hallway, entrance, or exit to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access, or any other place used for the passage of persons, vehicles, or conveyances, regardless of the means of creating the obstruction and whether the obstruction arises from his acts alone or from his acts and the acts of others, or disobey a reasonable request or order to move issued by a person the actor knows to be or is informed is a peace officer, a fireman, or a person with authority to control the use of the premises to prevent obstruction of a highway or any of those areas mentioned above, or to maintain public safety by dispersing those gathered in dangerous proximity to a fire, riot, or other hazard. This crime is a Class B misdemeanor, except that it is a state jail felony if, in committing the offense, the alleged offender knowingly prevented the passage of an authorized emergency vehicle operating the vehicle’s emergency audible or visual signals, or obstructed access to a hospital or other health care facility that provides emergency medical care.
Denton DWI Reduction Resources
Perez v. State, 897 S.W.2d 893 (Tex. App. 1995) — Raul Perez filed a habeas corpus appeal from an order denying post-conviction reduction in bail pending appeal. Perez pleaded guilty to felony DWI and received a four-year sentence. His bond pending appeal was set at $100,000, and five months later, he moved for a reduction of the appeal bond. The court heard the evidence, denied the motion, and he filed this appeal. The Court of Appeals of Texas in San Antonio reversed the trial court’s decision and ordered a reduction in the bail amount.
Ex Parte Harrington, 310 S.W.3d 452 (Tex. Crim. App. 2010) — Alan Eugene Harrington contended that habeas corpus lied because his plea was involuntary due to his counsel’s ineffectiveness in failing to investigate a prior DWI conviction used to enhance his misdemeanor DWI charge to a felony charge. He claimed that he was confined due to his conviction and was thus entitled to habeas relief. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas found that because Harrington was currently suffering collateral consequences arising from his conviction, he was confined for the purpose of seeking habeas relief under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 11.07. The Court of Criminal Appeals also adopted the trial judge’s Agreed Findings of Fact and recommendation to grant relief on Harrington’s involuntary-plea claim.
Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for DWI Reduction Attorney Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Were you recently arrested for DWI in Denton County? Make sure you get the help of a criminal defense lawyer in seeking a possible reduction in your criminal charges.
Our firm has helped many clients overcome DWI charges and achieve far more favorable sentences than they would have received on their own. Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (940) 222-8004 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.