Aggravating Factors, Ignition Interlock Device & Alternative Programs

Are There Additional Penalties Or Consequences If Someone Had Refused The Breathalyzer?

Yes. If they refuse the breath test, then in Harris County, the police officer is going to pursue getting a search warrant from a magistrate judge. This search warrant allows the police officer and/or medical personnel to, if need be, forcibly take blood from the person that has been arrested for a DWI.

What Factors Might Enhance Or Aggravate Or Enhance A DWI Charge?

If the blood or breath sample is 0.15% or higher, that can make it a Class A misdemeanor charge. Normally, the first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor but if the breath or blood sample is a 0.15% or higher, that can enhance the case to a Class A misdemeanor.

Other aggravating factors can be if there is an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the car and/or if there is an accident and/or if someone is hurt in an accident involving an intoxicated driver.

What Happens When Someone Travels With Minor Children In Their Car?

That can be Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger, which is automatically a state jail felony, even if the person has no previous Driving While Intoxicated arrest or convictions.

What Is The Interlock Ignition Device? Is Everyone Who Has Been Charged Or Convicted Of A DWI In Texas Required To Have One?

The interlock device is called a ‘Blow and Go.’ It is a device that hooks to someone’s car. The car will not start unless the person whose car it is blows into the device. There is a reading that is done on that breath sample and it cannot have any alcohol in it whatsoever or the car will not start and/or the court system will be notified of that result.

Oftentimes, those Interlock devices have a video camera on them so that a recording is done of the date and the time and who is giving the breath sample. There is a video device or the picture taking the device on there so people cannot trick the system or get someone else to blow into the device. Often if the person is driving for an extended period of time, they will be required to blow into the device again. The general law or legal requirements for the device being put on someone’s car is if there is an accident and/or the person blows or has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher.

What Are Some Alternative Programs Available in Houston, Particularly For First-time DWI Offenders?

First-time DWI offenders in Harris County are eligible for pretrial diversion if they do not have a breath or blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher. They have to have a breath or blood alcohol concentration lower than 0.15%. Also, there cannot have been any type of accident. They also cannot have any type of arrest or conviction in their previous criminal history. If they meet all of those qualifications and an application is submitted to the Harris County District Attorney’s office. With required paperwork asking the prosecutor to approve them for the pretrial intervention or diversion program, once somebody is admitted into that program, they are put on a type of probation.

This probation is actually not in the court records but during that time, which is usually either six months or a year, they are required to go to probation meetings once a month, do community service and possibly take certain amounts of AA meetings each week, do a DWI education class. If they complete all of that during the period of time and there have not been any violations of the conditions that are required of them, then the case is dismissed at the end of that period. Once it has been dismissed, there is a short waiting period that sometimes varies and the case can be expunged, which means it is erased from their record.

If you need information regarding Aggravating Factors, Ignition Interlock Devices & Alternative Programs, call the law office of James Alston for a FREE Consultation at (713) 228-1400 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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Houston Criminal Lawyer James Alston represents clients in the Houston area, including Pasadena, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Channelview, Conroe, Galveston, Angleton, Richmond, Rosenberg, Beaumont, Galveston County, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Harris County and Jefferson County in Texas.