While second or third offenses for DWI can obviously lead to severe penalties, a first-time DWI offense could also have a significant, negative impact on a defendant’s life. Even after an initial charge, a defendant should consider retaining a criminal defense lawyer to help avoid negative outcomes. A Plano first-time DWI lawyer could work with prosecutors and judges to reach a favorable resolution to your case.
First-time DWI charges in Plano will be heard in a misdemeanor court. There are seven county criminal courts of law in Collin County, and cases will be randomly assigned to one of the seven.
Prosecutors are very aggressive in how they handle DWI charges in Plano. They are not going to dismiss a case and they are not going to reduce it. Defendants have the choice of negotiating some sort of plea to a DWI conviction or going to court to fight their case either in front of a judge or jury.
Courts treat first-time DWI charges fairly, but they also base their sentences upon the facts of the case and what the defendant has done in the interim. On a first DWI case, many judges under that it may not have been an intentional act and the person did not mean to do it, so they hope that the punishment will be a wakeup call. Juries are very different. Some jurors believe that if a person drinks and drives and gets caught, they should go to jail. As a result, they tend to be stricter than judges.
A first-time DWI starts out as a Class B misdemeanor. There is a range of punishment from 72 hours up to 180 days in the county jail, and a fine up to $2,000.
If a defendant has an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or greater, it would be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor, which has a range of punishment of up to 365 days in jail, and a fine of up to $4,000.
The alcohol concentration on a first-time DWI will dictate their range of punishment. If 0.15 or above on a first DWI, the law mandates that they have an ignition interlock breath device installed in their car as a condition of probation. Once installed, the law mandates that the interlock remains on the person’s car for a minimum of half the term of probation. After half the term of probation is satisfied, the person would be eligible to have the court remove the interlock from their car.
Most defendants with no criminal history will be offered probation on a first-time DWI charge. The defendant will be ordered to complete a 12-hour DWI Education program within the first 180 days of probation. If they fail to complete the course within the first 180 days, their driver license will be suspended.
At times, in lieu of probation, some first-time offenders will be offered a jail sentence. In these situations, many of the offers are for back-time, meaning that the person will be convicted but the time they spent in jail since being arrested counts for their entire jail sentence. They are still convicted, but they spend no more time in jail.
If you are facing a first offense charge for DWI, you could be facing jail time, fines, license suspension, or an extended period of probation. A Plano first-time DWI lawyer could negotiate with prosecutors and place you in the best possible position for a mitigated sentence or a dismissal of your case. Call a criminal defense attorney today for representation.