Raising the Stakes: Aggravating Factors in Texas DWI Cases
Upping the Ante
If you are charged with DWI in Texas, you could face steep fines and surcharges, community service, DWI classes, increased insurance requirements and potentially jail time. And in light of certain aggravating factors, the court can increase those penalties significantly. Aggravating factors are elements that, if present, give the court reason to “enhance” your sentence if you are convicted. Common aggravating factors in Texas DWI cases include:
A Prior DWI Conviction
A prior DWI conviction if proven will increase the minimum jail sentence associated with the charge. The public policy behind this increase is that the person charged did not learn from the first DWI conviction. However, a knowledgeable DWI attorney may be able to keep out prior convictions or even get the State to agree to not consider it.
Open Container of Alcohol in the Car
If you have an open container of alcohol in the car when you were driving while intoxicated, you could face a mandatory six-day jail sentence. Driving with an open container of alcohol is a crime in and of itself, typically punishable by just a fine unless you are underage.
In Texas, there are two types of charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: DWI and DUI. DWI applies to drivers over the age of 21 who drive while intoxicated. DUI applies to underage drivers for driving under the influence. An underage driver need not be intoxicated to face DUI charges and may face additional charges for underage drinking.
A high BAC in Texas is an aggravating factor in DWI cases. If your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level was .15 or higher, you could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. Interestingly though, the minimum jail sentence (0 days in jail) for a first time DWI where the BAC is equal to or greater than 0.15 is actually less than if your BAC was less than 0.15. Therefore, a BAC equal to or greater than 0.15 might work to your benefit in a DWI trial.
Minor in the Vehicle
If you have a child (under the age of 15) with you when driving while intoxicated, you will face felony charges.
Causing an Accident
If you cause an accident and someone was seriously injured, you could face harsher penalties.
Aggravating Factors? Call an Attorney
The State of Texas provides many situations where courts can go above and beyond the standard DWI penalties in light of aggravating factors. Your sentence could hinge on the numerous facts and circumstances of your case. Thus, always speak with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth DWI defense attorney when facing DWI charges.
If you’ve been arrested for a DWI in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email email@example.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.