San Antonio DWI Attorney
If you’ve been arrested for a DWI or DUI, you may have started to search for a lawyer. When you’re looking for a San Antonio DWI attorney, consider contacting Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC. Our law firm has been helping individuals with DWI charges in San Antonio, TX for years. We’ve successfully helped dismiss or reduce the charges against many individuals.
If you’re seeking the assistance of experienced DWI lawyers in San Antonio, then contact Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC today.
Navigate This Page
- Our DWI Law Firm Is Dedicated To Helping You
- Trust a Reputable DWI Lawyer in San Antonio
- DWI Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Average Cost of a DWI Charge in Texas?
- Defenses to DWIs
- Call Our San Antonio DWI Attorney Today
Our DWI Law Firm Is Dedicated To Helping You
Being convicted of a DWI can negatively affect a number of things, from your job to your ability to travel. As such, there are a number of precautions you should take the moment an officer pulls you over. While you want to be polite to the officer, you are not required to submit to any field sobriety tests.
Chemical tests—such as a breathalyzer test—have implied consent, which means that you are assumed to have consented for a test once you’re pulled over. If an officer pulls you over, avoid saying anything that could incriminate you and, as soon as you can, search for a DWI lawyer for advice. Once you contact a qualified San Antonio DWI lawyer, they’ll begin investigations and can advise you on the best course of action for your situation. If you are a first-time offender, for example, you may be eligible for a plea bargain known as the “Taking Responsibility” plea, which can allow your DWI to be dismissed. Speak to your San Antonio DWI attorney about what options are available for your case.
Trust a Reputable DWI Lawyer in San Antonio
Our criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience helping individuals with DWI cases. We’ll mount an investigation to examine all the available evidence. For example, we may be able to bring into question the results of a breathalyzer test, or site mistakes made by police officers when they pull you over. Using our skills, resources, and years of experience, we can effectively help you combat a DWI charge.
Joe Hoelscher—the top San Antonio DWI lawyer at our firm—has extensive experience dealing with an assortment of DWI cases. He has successfully won several high-profile cases and quite literally wrote the book on DWI defense (Texas Drunk Driving Law, published in 2017). When you hire a DWI lawyer, you need to know that you’re working with someone with the experience and skill necessary to truly help your case. That’s why you should consider calling Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC. Let us help with your DWI charge today.
DWI Frequently Asked Questions
Drunk driving cases are not as simple as prosecutors would have you believe. From the traffic stop to determining whether forensic evidence should be allowed in court, there are specific procedures that police and prosecutors must follow to secure a conviction.
At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC, we know how to investigate DWI cases, and our San Antonio criminal defense law firm has earned a reputation for holding police officers and district attorneys accountable.
To arrange a confidential consultation regarding your case, contact us today. We develop aggressive DWI defense strategies for clients throughout Bexar County and all of Texas.
Am I required to submit to a chemical test?
Texas has an implied consent statute. That means, in the eyes of the law, you have consented to a chemical test — either a breath test or a blood test — if you are arrested on suspicion of DWI. However, you still have a statutory option to refuse alcohol testing. If you refuse, though, you face the possibility of having your driver’s license suspended. Additionally, law enforcement officers in Bexar County have a “no refusal” policy for DWI arrests. If you refuse a breath test in Bexar County, among others, the arresting officer will try to get a search warrant to obtain a blood sample for forensic testing. You are fully within your rights to insist on a warrant before allowing your blood to be taken from you. Our overview of ALR hearings has more on how to protect your license after refusing a breath or blood test.
Is forensic alcohol testing always reliable?
No. As our firm has shown repeatedly in DWI cases, the results of breath tests and blood draws can be compromised in a variety of ways, including:
- Defective Breathalyzers or Intoxilyzers
- Poorly calibrated breath test machines
- Contaminated blood or breath samples
- Poor blood draw procedure
- Unsanitary blood draw environment
- Lab errors in DWI blood testing
Uncovering these errors can be difficult if you don’t know where to look, and it is crucial to put an experienced San Antonio DWI defense attorney on your side to determine if errors in forensic alcohol testing should result in the reduction or dismissal of charges.
What are my options if I’m a first-time offender?
Aside from an investigation into whether a police officer violated your rights in any way, your options may include a “Taking Responsibility” plea, which is available to qualifying individuals in Bexar County, Atascosa County, and Kendall County, as well as some others. This kind of plea bargain may be an option if you meet the following criteria:
- This is your first DWI arrest.
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was shown to be less than 0.15.
- You did not cause an accident or injuries.
- You behaved politely toward the police.
- You agree to the “Taking Responsibility” plea within 90 days.
People who take this plea can receive a pretrial diversion or deferred adjudication — a type of probation — and have their DWI dismissed. Our overview of the program provides more information. Alternatively, you have the option of taking your case to trial, regardless of whether this is your first DWI arrest or your second or third. In any case, contact our law office to explore your full range of options.
Should I refuse SFSTs or other DWI tests? I passed the field sobriety tests, why was I arrested?
Generally, yes, you should refuse to take any tests an officer may offer you once they have stopped you for DWI. These tests, including the SFSTs, will serve primarily to allow the officer to obtain or create evidence against you. We routinely see arrests that result in passengers driving the car home, despite the fact that the passenger drank more than the driver because the driver “failed” the SFSTs but the passenger “passed”. What does this mean? It means the cop will see you as drunk when he wants and sober when he wants, regardless of the field sobriety tests. So, there is no point in giving the cop more ammunition against you.
How much can I drink before I’m DWI?
The amount a person can consume before becoming impaired or exceeding the 0.08 BAC standard (legal limit) varies by person. The general rule is one regular drink per hour, spaced out, should keep you near 0.00 BAC. Two or more drinks in an hour will tend to cause your BAC to rise. However, any alcohol in your system may be used as proof you were drinking and any alcohol scent on your breath or clothes might turn a traffic stop into a DWI investigation. Your best bet is to avoid drinking and driving.
How can I avoid DWI and still have a social life when public transportation is so awful? What options are there besides driving?
It is tough to go have a few with your friends in Texas without risking a DWI. There are some options, however. Look for local public transportation to expand their services during major events like concerts. For example, in San Antonio, VIA bus service will run later routes and special Park & Ride routes for events. We are huge fans of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. If you are a first time Uber or Lyft user, then use our codes for free ride credit (Uber = josephh1546ue, Lyft = JOSEPH16634). You’ll need to download one of the apps and set them up, but it only takes a few minutes.
I have a drinking problem. I want help. Can you help me and will it help in court? Will treatment help my DWI case?
Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC can certainly help you get help to treat addiction and other problems. We have established relations with clinical experts in psychology, addiction, PTSD, and other issues faced by our clients. We work regularly in the specialty court system that is focused on treating and rehabilitating clients who are willing to try. Participation in these programs, such as DWI Court, Veterans Treatment Court, and Drug Court, can lower your sentence. So, we can help you change your life while fighting for a second chance to enjoy the new you.
Will I go to jail after being arrested for DWI?
Maybe, but generally not for a first or even second DWI or other intoxication offense. However, if someone, including yourself, was seriously injured, then prison is a real possibility in most Texas jurisdictions. Unless someone was seriously injured or killed, your biggest concern should be for your criminal history. A DWI conviction will affect your insurance, cost thousands of dollars in DPS surcharges, may result in a difficult period of probation, may cause you to lose your driver’s license, and can impact your credit. These things can be a bigger problem than the unpleasant food and surly staff in the county jail.
DPS says I have to pay thousands of dollars to get my license back. I can’t afford these DPS surcharges. What do I do?
DPS surcharges are terrible. They keep good people from getting a license. Then, when those folks drive without a license, for work or school, then DPS adds more surcharges, making it even harder to pay off DPS and get a Texas Drivers License. Fortunately, DPS has programs to reduce or forgive surcharges. An experienced San Antonio DWI lawyer can help avoid the imposition of surcharges in the first place by asking a judge to waive them or by avoiding a DWI conviction so you won’t owe surcharges.
How can I get a DWI off my record?
The best way to keep a DWI off your record is to beat the case and then expunge the record. Expunctions destroy the records and allow you to deny having been arrested. A close second is a contract called a “pretrial diversion” or “PTD.” Not all counties offer PTDs and the ones that do are strict about who is eligible. However, if you complete a PTD successfully, then the State should dismiss your case and allow you to expunge your criminal history for that offense.
In some Texas counties, the prosecutor may change the charge from DWI to something else, usually Obstruction of a Highway or Reckless Driving, and allow you to do “deferred adjudication” probation, which can help you seal your record (the records exist but the public cannot see them). This option also avoids DPS surcharges for DWI. After Sept. 1, 2017, you can seal your record, even if you have a DWI conviction, and went to jail. Not everyone is eligible, but a good DWI lawyer can walk you through the provisions of H.B. 3016 and Texas Government Code Sec. 411.0731, which allow DWI convictions to be sealed.
What is the Average Cost of a DWI Charge in Texas?
Texas DWI charges can cost a first-time offender thousands of dollars. Some defendants spend as much as $10,000 to $20,000 if there is a trial and a conviction. While many defendants are aware of court fees and fines for a DWI offense and legal expenses, there are other expenses that most defendants neglect to account for, including:
- Restitution fees
- Probation fees
- Interlock system installation fees
- Cost of bail
- SR22 & increased insurance rates
- Impound lot fees
The following is a breakdown of common financial penalties and other costs for a DWI charge in Texas. For advice about a specific set of circumstances, contact an experienced San Antonio DWI attorney.
Court and Administrative Fees, Penalties, and Fines
Court and administrative fees depend upon the number of times a defendant appears in court and what their appearance entails. In all, the costs for a defendant’s court appearances can reach up to $1,500.
Penalties and fines for a DWI can run as high as $10,000. However, first-time offenders arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of less than 0.15 max out at $2,000.
Driver’s License Reinstatement
A surcharge must be paid to Texas for three years to reinstate a suspended license. This surcharge is as follows:
- $1,000 per year for first-time offenders;
- $1,500 per year for second-time offenders; and
- $2,000 per year for a defendant convicted of DWI with a BAC of more than 0.15.
Monthly Probation Fees
Probation is mandatory for all DWI convictions. It typically runs for one year, although repeat offenders may have longer terms. Probation fees are $60 to $100 per month.
Alcohol Education Program
Alcohol education for a first-time offender is approximately $70. Repeat offenders may expect to pay around $185 for a more intensive course.
Interlock Ignition Switch Cost
An interlock ignition switch is required for repeat offenders with two or more DWIs within five years. This device is installed in the defendant’s vehicle at a monthly cost of $70 to $100.
Bail amounts vary based on prior convictions, aggravating factors, and willingness to undergo chemical blood testing. First-time offenders may expect a bail amount between $200 and $1,000. Many Texas counties have predetermined bail schedules for defendants.
Additional Motor Vehicle Insurance Costs
After a license suspension, reinstatement requires proof of minimum liability coverage.
Obtaining an SR-22
An SR22 is a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certification. A defendant must carry an SR-22 after a DWI conviction for a minimum of two years to maintain their driver’s license.
There is a filing fee for the SR-22 form between $15 and $25. Those drivers who carry SR-22 forms are considered high-risk and regularly see insurance increases by 87%.
Vehicle Impound Cost after DWI
Towing fees are typically $250 to $450, with an additional impound fee of around $20. There is also a daily storage fee of $5 to $20 per day.
DWI Attorney Fees
The cost of an experienced San Antonio DWI defense attorney can vary depending on the attorney chosen, their fee structure, and the circumstances surrounding the case. Keep these factors in mind when interviewing attorneys to find the attorney best suited to your needs.
- Who is the attorney/law firm? If the firm and attorney are well-known and established, they will likely be more expensive than a lesser-known firm.
- What is the attorney’s fee structure? An attorney may charge by the hour or a flat fee covering the whole defense up to trial.
- What are the circumstances surrounding the case? Is the DWI a simple case, or will it require time in court arguing legal points or evidence? This will affect whether an hourly or flat fee attorney would make the best choice.
- Will there be a trial? Trials can double the cost of representation. Very few cases go to trial. However, it is vital to be aware of trial expenses.
Overall, expect an experienced San Antonio DWI attorney to cost as little as $1,000 for a simple case without complicated legal arguments or as much as $10,000 if a trial is involved.
Defenses to DWIs in Texas
Defenses to DWI cases are not one-size-fits-all. Every case is unique and requires its own tailored defense to be effective. However, there are some common defense strategies used to combat DWI charges in San Antonio.
Unreasonable Search and Seizure
An officer must have a reason to pull a driver suspected of DWI over. Officers typically use traffic stops as an excuse to do so. However, if the traffic stop can be proven without basis and violates a driver’s constitutional rights, any evidence collected must be excluded from court.
Failure to Follow Legal Protocol at Sobriety Checkpoints
Sobriety checkpoints screen drivers for intoxication as they pass through the designated barriers. These checkpoints must meet constitutional requirements for the evidence collected to be admitted in court.
Inaccurate Field Sobriety Test
Field sobriety tests are inaccurate, subjective methods to determine if a driver is intoxicated. The three primary field sobriety tests are the following:
- One leg stand test
- Walk and turn test
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
A driver’s innate physical or mental condition may interfere with the testing. These tests and the officer’s observations can be challenged in various ways.
Blood Draw Defenses
Blood samples are generally considered to be more accurate than breath or urine samples. However, failure to follow very specific protocol for a blood draw can result in any evidence obtained being thrown out of court.
Breath Test Defenses
A breathalyzer analyzes the amount of alcohol in the blood through the breath sample blown into the machine. The portable tests are less accurate than the stationary tests, and the stationary tests do not have the reliability of a blood test. Breath tests can create false-positive indicators of intoxication due to medications, belching, fever, diabetes, and COPD.
Breath tests need to be calibrated and routinely checked for accuracy by a properly licensed person. Failure to properly calibrate the machine can make test results inadmissible.
Call Our San Antonio DWI Attorney Today
If you’re looking for a San Antonio DWI attorney, then contact Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC. It is our belief that cases receive the best outcomes when they’re treated as unique. After all, different circumstances may require different defense strategies to be effective. As such, we’ll discuss the case with you on a personal level in order to achieve whatever information is necessary to help your situation.
If you are searching for a DWI lawyer in any of the following areas, please consider giving us a call:
- Seguin, TX
- San Antonio, TX
- Floresville, TX
- Jourdanton, TX
- New Braunfels, TX
- San Marcos, TX
- Boerne, TX
- Hondo, TX
- Fredericksburg, TX
Finding a qualified DWI lawyer in the San Antonio area is your first step to reducing your sentence or removing your charges. So, if you’re searching for a lawyer, consider calling us today for expert legal advice.
Schedule a confidential consultation with our San Antonio law office today by calling (210) 222-9132, or contact us online. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start protecting your rights.