If you have recently been arrested for your first driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense, please continue reading. While this post seeks to provide you with more information about the 1st DWI charge, we encourage you to call us as soon as possible to determine how we can be of assistance. The sooner you retain legal counsel, the better. A qualified and professional attorney can help guide you through the process, which, if this is your first offense, can be complicated.
We are here to assist with your decisions and want to help you the best we can.
The classification of the offense of the 1st DWI depends on a few factors:
1. The 1st DWI is classified as a Class B Misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to a $2,000 fine and the possibility of 72 hours to 180 days in jail. Your license might also be suspended between 90 and 365 days.
2. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.15 or more and it was your 1st DWI, the offense classification is a Class A Misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to a $4,000 fine and the possibility of 72 hours to 1 year in county jail. Again, your license might also be suspended between 90 and 365 days.
3. The 1st DWI with an open container enhancement carries a penalty of up to a $2,000 fine and the possibility of 6 to 180 days in county jail. Your license might also be suspended between 90 and 365 days.
There are increased penalties for a DWI offense when a child is also in the car. This is a more serious offense and it does not matter if the DWI offense is your first. If you are charged with a DWI and a child, younger than 15, is in the car with you it is considered a state jail felony. This classification carries a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and the possibility of 6 months to 2 years in state jail. Your license might also be suspended between 90 days and 2 years.
The law also distinguishes between DWI offenses for minors and adults over the age of 21. Anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from driving a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. This is different than the prohibited BAC for adults over the age of 21, which is 0.08. The first offense of a minor could result in a fine, probation, loss of the privilege to drive a car, court ordered enrollment in an alcohol awareness class, community service, and/or the installation of an ignition-interlocking device.
The penalties you might face for a first DWI could be lessened if you engage the assistance of an attorney as soon as possible. Probation is an available option that your attorney could negotiate on your behalf. It is an agreement between you and the court. You promise to do (and not do) certain things for a particular length of time, in lieu of a jail sentence. If this is your first offense, the court is more willing to agree to probation.
You also deserve representation to protect your due process rights throughout the judicial process. We are here to help you navigate the court process and protect your rights as a defendant. You will have many questions and we are here with answers. We encourage you not to face this on your own.