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Galveston DWI Lawyer

Galveston DWI Lawyer

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We Defend Drunk Driving and Drugged Driving Charges in Galveston County!

woman being pulled over by police for suspected DWI

At The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, our Galveston county DWI lawyers are aggressive and experienced advocates for clients. Tad Nelson is an award winning attorney that has helped protect the rights of many clients and has successfully defended many to get their DWI conviction punishment reduced or waved completely. A conviction for drunk driving or drugged driving can cost your license, your clean record, and even your freedom. You need a strong criminal defense attorney on your team if you are to get the best outcome possible. If you or your family member was arrested for a DWI charge, we are more than ready to help. To set up a fully confidential, no obligation consultation with our Galveston DWI attorney, please contact us at our Galveston law office today!

What to Do If You are Stopped for a Suspected DWI in Galveston, Texas

Police pulling a driver suspected for driving while intoxicated over to the side of the road

Were you arrested and charged with a DWI offense in Galveston? Criminal defense lawyers will tell you that it is imperative that you know what to do next to protect your rights and your future. Here are four important steps to take if you are facing drunk driving or drunk driving charges in Southeast Texas: 

  1. Pull Your Vehicle Over and Comply With Officer Requests to Show Information: You should never try to evade police or otherwise resist arrest. Doing so could lead to additional—even more serious—criminal charges. If you are being stopped for a suspected DWI, the first step is to pull your vehicle over as soon as it is safe to do so. Comply with any reasonable requests from the officer, such as to show your driver’s license, registration, and insurance information. It is important to remain calm and respectful during this process.
  2. Decline to Answer Any Questions from Police (Right to Remain Silent): You never have to answer any question from a police officer. Indeed, it is not in your best interest to answer questions. Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, you have the right to remain silent. The State of Texas cannot compel self incrimination. Further, your silence cannot be used as evidence of guilt. At this time you also have the right to refuse giving consent if you are asked to give a breath or blood test. Know that the officer can apply for a warrant and if approved, you will then have to give a sample.
  3. Consult With a Galveston, TX DWI Defense Attorney: The criminal law justice system is notoriously complex. You do not want to go up against police or prosecutors alone, especially in DWI cases. The sooner you have representation, the better position that you will be in. Consult with a Galveston, TX DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. A DWI defense attorney can advise you of your rights, help you understand the charges against you, put together a comprehensive defense strategy, and represent you in court. 
"I've been pulled over for a dwi... now what?" infographic

An Overview of Drunk Driving Laws in Texas

Texas dwi laws with handcuffs, car keys, and glass of beer

In Texas, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.04). For most drivers, the maximum allowable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.08. Though, for certain drivers—such as those who are actively operating a commercial vehicle or those who are under the age of 21—the maximum allowable BAC level is lower than that. Additionally, motorists have a more general responsibility to avoid driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. For more information, contact your local Texas DWI lawyers by calling us today!

What are the Penalties for a DWI in Texas?

Cocaine and other drugs on a table at a party

A DWI is a criminal charge that should always be taken seriously. That being said, the penalties for a DWI charge will vary based on a number of different case-specific factors. As explained by the Texas Department of Transportation, one of the main baseline factors that impacts DWI penalties in the state is the driver’s history of prior offenses, or lack thereof. Here is a basic overview of intoxicated driving penalties in Texas: 

  • First Offense DWI: A $2,000 fine, a one-year license suspension, and up to 180 days in jail, with a three day mandatory sentence. 
  • Second Offense DWI: A $4,000 fine, a two-year license suspension, and a 30 day mandatory jail sentence. 
  • Third Offense DWI: A $10,000 fine, a two-year license suspension, and between two years and ten years in prison. 

Of course, these are only the direct penalties. A DWI charge can carry other potential consequences as well. For example, if you are convicted of a DWI in Texas through the criminal justice system, it is very likely that your auto insurance premiums will rise by a significant amount. 

We Handle the Full Range of DWI Charges in Galveston 

A car being pulled over and a driver being charged with Driving While Intoxicated

With a passion for justice and a commitment to personalized representation, our law firm handles the full spectrum of drunk driving charges in Galveston. As a baseline, a DWI in Texas is typically charged as a Class B misdemeanor offense. However, for a wide range of different reasons, a DWI arrest could lead to even more severe criminal charges. At The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, our Galveston DWI lawyers have the professional skills, tenacity, and proven record of success to take on all types of drunk driving and drugged driving cases. Our Galveston-based criminal defense law firm can help you with any of the following types of DWI charges: 

  • Commercial Driver DWI (CDL Driver): If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and are charged with a DWI, you are at risk of losing your CDL—along with facing other criminal penalties. Our Galveston DWI defense lawyer can help you understand the specific laws and regulations regarding your case and develop an effective defense strategy. 
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID): In Texas, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, including both prescription and illegal drugs. Drugged driving cases are complicated. Our Galveston County DWI defense lawyers have the skills and experience to protect you against a drugged driving charge. 
  • Underage Drinking and Driving (DWI): If you are under 21 and charged with a DUI, the consequences can be severe, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time. Our Galveston criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in the specific laws and regulations regarding underage drinking and driving in Texas. 
  • Third Offense DWI: In Texas, DWI penalties are especially severe when a driver already has two intoxicated driving convictions on their record. If you are facing a third offense DWI charge in Galveston, it is imperative that you have an aggressive attorney on your side.  
  • DWI with a Child in Car: Texas law has stricter penalties for DWI offenses that involve a child passenger. There are enhanced criminal penalties. We understand the severity of these cases and are prepared to take action to protect your rights, freedom, and future. 
  • Intoxication Assault (DWI Accident With an Injury): If you cause serious bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence, you can be charged with intoxication assault. It is a third-degree felony offense that can carry significant prison time.
  • Intoxication Manslaughter (DWI Accident With Fatality): if someone is killed as a result of your drunk driving, you can be charged with intoxication manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony. Our Galveston DWI defense lawyer can help you or your loved one navigate this especially serious intoxicated driving charge.  

What to Know About the Administrative License Suspension in Texas

A woman handing over her license to a policeman for suspension.

Texas has a comprehensive Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program. If you are arrested for suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Galveston, your driver’s license may be subject to an administrative license suspension (ALR). This is a separate action taken by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). In other words, your license could be suspended before you get your day in court. 

You can take action to stop the administrative license suspension process after a DWI arrest—but you need to act quickly. To halt the process, you must request an official hearing. You have 15 days from the date a notice for an ALR is served upon to request your hearing. If you do not request a hearing in a timely manner, then the administrative license suspension will take effect. Our Galveston DWI defense lawyer can help you protect your license to the best extent possible. 

Why Rely On Galveston DWI Defense Lawyer Tad A. Nelson 

League City and Galveston County DWI Lawyer, Tad Nelson

There are few things more stressful or frustrating than being arrested and charged with a serious criminal offense. We know how to protect the rights of people who are going through a difficult time. With big city experience and small town values, our founder and lead attorney Tad A. Nelson has a proven record of success handling drunk driving cases. When you reach out to our Galveston law office, you will have a chance to consult with a Texas DWI defense attorney who can: 

  • Listen to your story, answer your questions, and review your case;
  • Investigate the charges to gather evidence and ensure your rights were respected; 
  • Consider all available options for reducing charges and penalties through a plea; and
  • Develop a DWI defense strategy that is fully personalized for your specific case. 

Contact Our Galveston, TX DWI Defense Attorney for Immediate Help

At The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, our Galveston DWI defense lawyer is standing by, ready to protect your rights. Arrested for drunk driving? You need high level representation. Call us now or contact us online to set up your fully confidential, no obligation free consultation. From our Galveston law office, we provide criminal defense representation throughout Galveston County, including in Texas City, Dickinson, La Marque, Santa Fe, Bacliff, Hitchcock, and San Leon. If you are needing help in Houston or League City, call our Houston DWI lawyer for your free consultation! They are some of the best Houston DWI lawyers you can find!

DWI Charges in Texas: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I Have to Take a DWI Breath Test in Texas? 

A man taking a breathalyzer test in neon lights

In Texas, if you are arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the police officer may ask you to take a breath test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). While you can technically refuse a post-arrest chemical test, there are serious consequences for doing so in our state. 

Texas has an “implied consent” law which means that by obtaining a driver’s license in the state, individuals give their implied consent to submit to a chemical test (breath or blood) if they are arrested for DWI. Therefore, if you refuse a breath test, your driver’s license can be automatically suspended for 180 days by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). 

It is also important to emphasize that you could still be arrested and charged with a DWI even if you refuse to take a breath test or blood test. A license suspension for a DWI refusal will be imposed on top of any other penalties that you will face if you are convicted of drunk driving. 

Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Texas? 

A person being pulled over for a DUI in winter time

In Texas, a police officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test (FST) if they suspect you are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These tests include standardized and non-standardized tests such as the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) and others. However, you are not legally required to take a field sobriety test. You have the right to refuse a non-chemical test—meaning a test other than a breath test or a blood test—without facing any penalty in Texas. Your refusal to take a non-chemical FST will not be used against you. 

There are very serious questions about the validity and reliability of field sobriety tests. It is vital to understand that the results of a field sobriety test are not always accurate. Indeed, many factors—from nervousness to physical conditions to weather—can affect the results. These tests are simply not standardized. You have every right to refuse an FST in Galveston. 

Should I Talk to Police or Prosecutors? 

A man talking to his prosecutors without a lawyer

It is generally not advisable to talk to police or prosecutors if you have been charged with a DWI. The police and prosecutors may use anything you say against you in court. The job of a police officer is to collect evidence to support the criminal case against you. The job of the prosecutor is to convict you of a crime. It is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent. Always deal with police and prosecutors through your Galveston, TX DWI defense attorney. 

Can You Drive With an Open Container in Texas if You are Not Under the Influence?

A man driving with an open beer bottle

No. Texas has an open container law. It is unlawful to carry an open container of alcohol in your vehicle even if you are not impaired. 

How Much Does a DWI Lawyer Cost in Texas?

It depends. There are a number of different factors that will impact the cost of a DWI attorney in Galveston, including the complexity of your case and whether or not a trial is necessary. With that being said, the total cost of a DWI conviction in Texas—not including the cost of an attorney—can reach $10,000. There are fines, insurance surcharges, and other issues to worry about. At The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, we are committed to providing cost effective, reliable legal representation. If you have any specific questions about the cost of legal representation in a DWI case, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Galveston law office for immediate help. 

What is the Best Outcome for a DWI?

The best outcome for a DWI charge will always vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Ideally, you will be able to get the charges dismissed outright—meaning you will no longer be facing legal consequences from the charge. If dismissal is not possible, reducing the charges to a less severe offense is another favorable outcome. A reduction in the charge can often lead to far lighter penalties. Other important goals are to save your license and avoid jail time. Remember, each case is unique. Personalized legal representation is a must. Our Galveston DWI defense lawyers are committed to ensuring that our clients have the best outcome. 

How Do I Win a DWI Case in Texas?

There are several strategies that can be used to win a DWI case in Galveston. One approach is challenging the validity of the arrest itself. Among other things, this can include questioning if the police had a legal reason to stop you or if they followed proper procedures during your arrest. Another strategy is contesting the results of breath or blood tests. These tests may be improperly administered or otherwise inaccurate. Getting that evidence thrown out could result in the prosecution’s case falling apart. A good defense strategy depends on the specifics of your case. Do you have any specific questions or concerns about how to win a DWI case? Contact our Galveston DWI defense lawyer today for a confidential initial consultation. 

What Can a DWI Be Reduced to in Texas?

It is possible. In Texas, a DWI charge can sometimes be reduced to a less severe offense. One common reduction is to a charge of “obstruction of a roadway,” which carries lighter penalties. Another possibility is “reckless driving.” These reduced charges often result in smaller fines, less jail time, and less impact on your driver’s license. Getting a charge reduced often requires proactive negotiation with prosecutors. Our Galveston, TX DWI defense lawyers are here to help you get the best outcome. 

Is Jail Time Mandatory for 1st DWI in Texas?

Yes—but only if you are actually convicted of the offense. In other words, a first-time DWI does not always mean a jail sentence. However, a DWI conviction in Texas for a first-time offense will generally carry a minimum mandatory 72 hours behind bars. Of course, the penalties can be even more severe than that. Up to 180 days in jail is possible for a first-time misdemeanor DWI in Texas. Still, you always have the right to challenge a DWI charge in court. No matter the situation, we are more than ready to help. Do you have any specific questions about jail-time for a first time DWI charge in Texas? Contact our Galveston criminal defense lawyers for immediate help. 

How Much Does Insurance Go Up After a DWI in Texas?

It depends. With that being said, after a DWI conviction in Texas, your car insurance rates can absolutely increase significantly. The exact amount varies based on your insurance company and your driving history. Notably, our state actually has an automatic DWI surcharge for motorists convicted of even a first-time offense. On average, insurance rates can go up between 20 percent and 100 percent after a DWI conviction. The increase is because insurance companies see drivers with a DWI as high-risk. The higher rates typically last for several years. If you have any questions about insurance premiums after a DWI charge, our Galveston, TX criminal defense lawyers are more than ready to help. 

How Long Does a DWI Remain on My Record?

In Texas, a DWI conviction stays on your criminal record permanently unless it is expunged or sealed. Unfortunately, the process of expungement or sealing is complex and not always possible. For driving records, a DWI typically affects your record for insurance purposes for approximately five years. Still for criminal background checks, it can show up indefinitely. A long-term criminal record can impact various aspects of your life, including job opportunities and insurance costs. To be clear, if you are not convicted of the DWI charge, you will have far more options to get your criminal records—the arrest, the charge, etc—sealed. If you have any questions about how long a drunk driving charge will remain on your record in Texas, our Galveston criminal defense lawyers are here to help. 

What are the Penalties for a DWI in Texas?

Even a first-time misdemeanor DWI offense in Galveston can carry serious criminal penalties. You could face the following penalties: A fine of up to $2,000, a sentence of up to 180 days in jail (with a minimum of 72 hours behind bars), a one year suspension of your driver’s license, and insurance automobile insurance costs. Notably, the penalties for a DWI are even more severe for subsequent offenses, such as a second-time DWI or a third-time DWI. Beyond that, a driver in Galveston could face more severe criminal penalties if any aggravated factors are present in their case, such as if they were involved in a crash that caused a serious bodily injury. If you have any questions about the penalties in a DWI case, contact our Galveston defense lawyers for immediate help.