Driving While Intoxicated

DWI

Driving Under the Influence

DUI

If you've been charged with a DWI or DUI you need representation from a lawyer ranked TOP 10 in the State of Texas by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys.

The best defense is a good offense - don't settle for anything less.

 

If you need help fighting a DWI or DUI, contact us for a consultation.

About DWI's / DUI's

What is a "DWI" / "DUI"?


In the State of Texas, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle in a public place with a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than or equal to 0.08 and / or under the influence of drugs. DWI – Driving While Intoxicated DUI – Driving Under the Influence In the State of Texas: Misdemeanors Misdemeanors are heard at the County Court. The punishment for a Misdemeanor can be: • up to one (1) year in jail, • fines up to $4000, • court costs • probation (in some cases) Felonies Felonies are heard at the District Court. The punishment for a Felony can range from: • up to 6 months for a State Jail Felony • from 2 years up to Life in prison for Felonies of 1st, 2nd or 3rd Degree • In some cases you may be eligible for probation, depending on the offense charged and your criminal past, if any.




Early Termination of Probation


For some Felonies and Misdemeanor offenses, it is possible to apply to terminate your probation early so long as you have completed your courses, paid your fines and costs and your probation officer is on board to make the recommendation to the Judge and the State. This motion comes at an additional cost of $500.00.




Jail Time vs. Probation


If time is of the essence and you want to be put on a fast-track to dismissal quickly without having to come to court time and time again - then a plea bargain may be the best option for you. We can investigate your case to find out if the State is willing to offer Probation which will almost certainly include counselling, informational classes, Community Service hours and a Fine in exchange for a dismissal once you have completed the terms of your Probation.
For a Misdemeanor, an offer for Probation may be anywhere from one (1) day to two (2) years and for Felonies other than State Jail Felonies, an offer for Probation may range from two (2) years to ten (10) years of Probation. If Probation is not for you, then your options are open and we can discuss those with you confidentially. Some Felonies may be knocked down to misdemeanors as part of a plea negotiation with the State.




What is the best strategy for me?


There are three broad approaches that we will offer you depending on the charge, your appetite for court appearances and your budget. Straight Dismissal

  • takes longer (approximately 6-12months),
  • no probation,
  • likely more court appearances (and trial preparation)
  • more expensive
  • have to wait one (1) year before you can expunge the dismissed case.
Pre-Trial Diversion (our preferred strategy, if you are eligible)
  • can be requested at your first appearance,
  • probation (usually with early termination),
  • potentially less court appearances,
  • less expensive.
  • expunction can be applied for immediately upon dismissal.
Deferred Adjudication
  • can be requested at your first appearance,
  • probation (usually with early termination),
  • potentially less court appearances,
  • less expensive.
  • case is dismissed upon successful completion of the terms of your probation. Terms may include: paying a fine, paying court costs, community service hours, counselling, restitution or other classes.
  • have to wait one (1) year before you can expunge the dismissed case.
All three strategies, and combinations thereof, are available for both misdemeanors and felonies.




Motion to Revoke (MTR)


An MTR is a motion filed by the State when they believe you have violated the terms or conditions of your probation. The State may ask the Judge to revoke the probation offer and ask that you be sentenced to the entire underlying jail sentence. If you do face an MTR, the State and probation officer will make a recommendation to the Judge which can include no action allowing you to get back on track and successfully finish out your probation or deferred adjudication.




Expunctions v. Non-disclosures


Some cases, once dismissed, are eligible to for 'expunction' or 'non-disclosure'. These Motions come at an additional cost and they require a variety of fees which must be paid to the District or County Clerk in the State of Texas and other agencies: Expunction ($500 plus fees and court costs) Non- Disclosure ($500 plus fees and court costs) Expunction Once your case is dismissed, then you may have to wait one (1) year before you can Expunge your record. This is a motion which destroys and erases the record, allowing a person to deny the existence of the arrest. If your dismissal was achieved through Pre-Trial Diversion, then in some counties, you can expunge immediately after the case is dismissed. Not all cases are eligible for expunction. The time it takes to complete the expunction varies and may take anywhere from 30 days to 1 year. Non-Disclosure If your case was dismissed as a result of a deferred adjudication, then you may have to wait one (1) year before you can “seal” or non-disclose the offense on your record. This is a motion which prevents the clerk from disclosing the existence of the offense to others - so it will not come up on some background checks. However, whilst the record may be hidden from some parties it is not necessarily hidden from the police or other government entities.





Lauren Carrington Smyth

Managing Partner

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Carrington Smyth PLLC is licensed to practice law in Texas (2005), Washington, D.C. (2006) and England & Wales (2011).

 

Principal Law Office based in San Antonio, Texas

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