Despite being home to just under 70,000 inhabitants, San Marcos is among Texas’ most dangerous cities in regards to drunk driving, experiencing at least 130 drunk driving crashes and three DWI related fatalities per year. While many choose to drink and drive in San Marcos, Hays County is known for its strict enforcement of DWI charges, with the county jail currently housing three inmates serving life sentences for repeat DWI offenses. As such, understanding Texas’ DWI laws and how they’re strictly enforced in Hays County can be a crucial way to dissuade individuals from drinking and driving, unless they are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a premium DWI Lawyer in Hays County.
Texas and Hays County DWI Laws:
In Hays County and throughout Texas the criminal charges and penalties associated with a DWI will vary depending on the number of DWI offenses a defendant has on their record. While a first time DWI offense in Texas comes with the base charge of a Class B misdemeanor carrying up to 180 days in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine, certain areas of Hays County such as San Marcos attach harsher penalties to first time offenders with blood alcohol concentrations over .08%, lending to the importance of hiring a DWI lawyer in Hays County.
First Time Offenses with a BAC of .15% or Higher- Despite being a first time offense, being charged in San Marcos with a DWI while having a blood alcohol concentration of .15% or higher results in a Class A misdemeanor carrying a jail sentence of up to a year and a maximum fine of $3,000. This penalty is equivalent to that associated with a second time DWI offense in Hays County and throughout Texas.
Third Time DWI Offense- A third time DWI offense regardless of the severity will result in a third degree felony charge and carry a state prison sentence of up to ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Subsequent DWI Offenses- While three DWIs are quite drastic, being charged with four or more DWIs can have lifelong impacts, with Texas’ Three Strikes Law causing any third time felony conviction to lead to a minimum of 25 years in prison up to a life sentence. This has led to Hays County jail housing several inmates with lifetime DWI convictions, including a habitual drunk driver with a shocking eight DWI arrests.
The Importance of Hiring a DWI Lawyer in Hays County:
While the severity of DWI charges provides enough explanation for why you should hire a lawyer when charged with a DWI in Hays County, Texas has further stipulations within its DWI laws that you may require a specialized Hays County DWI lawyer to understand.
ALR Program: In Texas, blowing above .08% results in the Administrative License Revocation process which is separate from any criminal proceedings and results in an automatic suspension of a defendant’s driver’s license unless a hearing is scheduled within 15 days of arrest. While a hearing can still result in a defendant’s license being suspended for anywhere between 90 days to two years (depending on any past DWI charges) based on the circumstances an expert Hays County DWI lawyer can present several arguments to defend their client’s license from suspension.
Deferred Adjudication: Deferred adjudication is similar to a probation program, except that it is done in place of jail time, and criminal charges are dropped upon completion. In 2019, Texas updated how it handles prosecuting DWIs, and now allows deferred adjudication for nonviolent, first time DWI defendants whose blood alcohol content was below .15% and whose case did not involve a crash. While deferred adjudication is a welcomed alternative to jail time, a highly skilled DWI lawyer may be able to get their client’s entire case dismissed or acquitted so that they do not have to complete any probation. If a lawyer believes deferred adjudication is their client’s best option, they will also be of use to their client when probation is completed, as it will then be important to petition for a nondisclosure to ensure that any records of the DWI are sealed.