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Driving While Intoxicated Charges in Williamson County

Being convicted of driving while intoxicated in Williamson County, Texas can result in serious repercussions. The penalties for a DWI or DUI in the state may include having your driver’s license suspended, being sentenced to serve time in jail, being ordered to complete community service hours, being placed on probation and receiving stiff fines and surcharges. A DWI conviction may also have collateral consequences on your life long after your sentence is discharged, especially if it is charged as a felony. A felony DWI conviction may make it difficult for you to secure employment and housing, and it may also impact your credit score.

If you are currently facing a misdemeanor or felony DWI charge in Williamson County, being charged with the offense does not mean that you will necessarily have to plead guilty to the DWI or that you will be found guilty by a judge or jury. It is very important for you to consult with a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in defending against DWI allegations. A DWI/DUI lawyer who practices in Cedar Park, Round Rock and throughout Williamson County may analyze the facts of what happened in your stop. In some cases, the Jackson Law Firm may identify problems with the manner in which the stops and investigations were conducted and secure dismissal of the charges by filing motions to challenge the admissibility of the evidence. Call the Jackson Law Firm today to learn more about your case.

The Williamson County District Attorney’s Office is in charge of prosecuting DWI cases that are charged as felony offenses. The Williamson County Attorney’s Office is in charge of prosecuting misdemeanor DWI offenses. The Jackson Law Firm is experienced in defending against DWI cases at both the misdemeanor and felony levels in Williamson County, Texas.

DWI/DUI Lawyer in Williamson County, Texas

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DWI in Cedar Park, Round Rock or throughout Williamson County, it is important for you to get legal help. The Jackson Law Firm has the requisite knowledge, skill and resources to defend you. When you choose the Jackson Law Firm, you will have a dedicated lawyer on your side who will fight for you in order to secure the most favorable resolution possible in your case.

The Jackson Law Firm may work to secure a plea to a lesser charge that avoids jail time. If it is necessary, we are willing to fight for your rights through a jury trial. During your case, we will keep your best interests in mind and make recommendations to you in an effort to protect you. In an effort to provide the best representation that we can, the Jackson Law Firm limits the number of cases that we accept so that we can devote more attention to our clients’ matters.

While we are representing you, we will be as transparent as possible about what is happening with your case. We believe that it is important for you to know all of the details so that you can make better-informed decisions about how you want to proceed. Call the Jackson Law Firm today to schedule your consultation.

DWI laws in Williamson County, Texas

It is important for you to understand the laws that may impact your DWI case in Williamson County. These include laws about how a DWI offense is defined, when it happens, what actual physical control is, the penalties for convictions and the surcharges you might be assessed.

Driving While Intoxicated under Texas Penal Code § 49.04

Texas has codified the offense of driving while intoxicated in Texas Penal Code § 49.04. Under this statute, you may be found guilty of a DWI if you operate a motor vehicle while you are in a public place and are intoxicated. Texas defines intoxication in Texas Penal Code § 49.01. Under this statute, you are considered to be intoxicated if you have consumed alcohol or drugs to such a degree that you no longer have normal control over your physical or mental functioning.

You may also be considered to be driving while intoxicated if you are shown to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher on a breathalyzer or blood test. Even if you still have normal control over your functioning, a chemical test showing that you had a BAC of more than the legal limit will result in your automatic arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Law enforcement officers with the Cedar Park Police Department, the Round Rock Police Department, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas State Highway Patrol are all able to investigate suspected DWI cases. If you are pulled over and the officer believes that you might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she may ask you to complete field sobriety tests and to submit to breath or blood tests to confirm the suspicions that he or she has that you are intoxicated.

If an officer asks you to submit to a test, you may refuse it unless the officer has a warrant. However, you should be aware that your refusal may result in the automatic suspension of your license and be used as evidence against you in your subsequent case. You will be able to challenge the suspension of your license at an administrative hearing with the help of your attorney, but you must request your hearing very quickly after your stop.

What is actual physical control in Williamson County DWI cases?

Under Texas law, you must have actual physical control of your vehicle in order to be charged with a DWI offense. Many people have the misconception that this means that you must be caught in the act of driving in order to be charged with a DWI. However, you may be charged for the offense even if the officer does not catch you driving. Texas Administrative Code § 159.3(14) states that people are operating their vehicles when they are actually driving or when they are in actual physical control of them.

If an officer did not actually see you driving but charges you with a DWI offense, you may be able to challenge your DWI charge by asserting that you were not in actual physical control of your vehicle. Courts will examine a number of factors when determining whether or not you had actual physical control, including the following:

  • Whether or not the keys were in the ignition
  • Whether or not the keys were in your possession
  • Where you were and your location’s relationship with your vehicle
  • Whether your vehicle is drivable
  • Whether or not you were sitting in the driver’s seat
  • Whether or not your vehicle had recently been running

While you can be charged with a DWI in Williamson County even if you were not driving, the state may have a difficult time proving that you were in actual physical control at the time of the officer’s investigation. An experienced DWI attorney in Williamson County may be able to successfully challenge the state’s assertion of your control over the vehicle, leading to the dismissal of the case against you.

Penalties for DWI convictions in Williamson County, Texas

The potential penalties for a DWI conviction will depend on whether or not you have prior DWI convictions along with the facts of your case. The penalties become increasingly severe for each subsequent conviction.

1. First offenses

First-time offenses are charged as class B misdemeanors and prosecuted by the Williamson County Attorney’s Office. Convictions can result in the following:

  • From 72 hours up to 180 days in jail, fines of up to $2,000 or both imprisonment and a fine
  • License suspension for up to one year
  • Annual surcharges of $1,000 to $2,000 for three years

2. First offense when the BAC is 0.15 or higher

If you are convicted of a first offense DWI with a BAC of 0.15 or higher, the penalties will be enhanced. These offenses are charged as class A misdemeanors and carry similar penalties to second-offense convictions.

3. Second convictions

Second convictions for DWI are class A misdemeanors, carrying the following potential penalties:

  • From 30 days up to one year in jail, a fine up to $4,000 or both imprisonment and a fine
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to two years
  • Annual surcharges between $1,000 and $2,000 for three years

4. Third convictions

Third DWI offenses are class 3 felonies and carry the following potential penalties:

  • Between two and 10 years in prison
  • Loss of driving privileges for up to two years
  • Fine of up to $10,000 or both imprisonment and a fine
  • Annual surcharges of up to $2,000 for three years

Judges may also sentence you to other penalties, including supervised probation, community service hours, alcohol and drug classes, ignition interlock devices, DWI school, other court costs and additional fines.

Finding a strong DWI/DUI lawyer for your case in Cedar Park, Round Rock and Williamson County, Texas

Contact the Jackson Law Firm for your DWI case in Cedar Park, Round Rock and throughout Williamson County. We will thoroughly review and investigate the circumstances of your case in an effort to build a strong defense to your charges. If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated, call the Jackson Law Firm today to learn more about how we might help you.