A Recent Case Win–DA Reduces Greater Than 0.15 BAC DWI to a Class B Misdemeanor

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My client was charged with a first offense DWI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than 0.15 (keep in mind the legal limit is .08). Under current law, if a person’s BAC is above a 0.15, the charge is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor which enhances the punishment range to a fine from $0 to $4,000 and from 0 days to 1 year in jail (which may be probated) regardless of whether it is a first offense. The charge also requires that a person have a deep lung device (DLD) installed on their car for the length of probation. The DLD is a portable breathalyzer that a person will need to blow into before they can start their car.

The 0.15 BAC and above enhancement also has significant impact on the surcharges that DPS will levy on a person following a DWI conviction. If a person’s BAC is above 0.15, then the surcharge to maintain a driver’s license will be $2,000 a year for a three-year period following the conviction.

I went to work on the case, investigating the facts to gain what leverage we could to negotiate with the prosecutor. After several weeks of hard work on the case, the prosecutor agreed to lower the charges from the greater than 0.15 BAC Class A misdemeanor level to a Class B misdemeanor, or a DWI below 0.15 BAC offense level. This reduction was significant considering it dropped the potential punishment range down to a fine that would range from $0 to $2,000 and from 72 hours to 180 days in jail (which was be probated in this case). Better yet, the client will not have to pay $6,000 in DPS surcharges that would have followed the conviction and the client did not have to get a DLD installed on the car.

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