top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrad Thornton

San Antonio DWI Attorney: What Do I Need to Know if Charged with DWI First Offense in San Antonio?

Being charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be a daunting experience, especially if it is your first offense. If you find yourself in this situation in San Antonio, Texas, it's crucial to understand the various aspects of DWI law to ensure you make informed decisions about your case. In this blog post, we will explore the elements of DWI, the definition of intoxication in Texas, the potential punishments, possible defenses, ALR suspensions, and how Thornton Criminal Defense can assist you in navigating through this challenging time.

What is a DWI in Texas?

In Texas, DWI is an offense that occurs when an individual operates a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Intoxication can be defined in two ways: having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, or not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.

Even if your BAC is below 0.08, you can still be charged with DWI if there is evidence to prove that your mental or physical faculties were impaired. This means that you can be charged with DWI based on your behavior and performance during field sobriety tests, regardless of your BAC level.

Possible Consequences for DWI First Offense

If convicted of a first-offense DWI in San Antonio, you may face significant penalties. In Texas, DWI is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a range of punishments as defined by state law. This assumes there were no aggravating factors like having a BAC over .15, having a child in the car, or causing serious bodily injury or death as a result of a crash.

For a first DWI offense, the potential penalties can include:

Fines: You may be required to pay fines up to $2,000, which can be a significant financial burden.

Jail Time: A first-offense DWI conviction can result in a jail sentence ranging from 72 hours to 180 days. However, in certain cases, the court may allow probation instead of jail time.

Driver's License Suspension: The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) can suspend your driver's license for up to one year upon conviction. However, you may be eligible for an occupational license, which allows limited driving privileges for work, school, or essential activities.

Probation: In some cases, the court may sentence you to probation instead of jail time. While on probation, you will need to comply with specific conditions, such as attending alcohol education programs, completing community service, and avoiding any further criminal charges.

Apart from the direct penalties mentioned above, a DWI conviction can have long-lasting collateral consequences. These consequences can impact various areas of your life, including:

Higher Insurance Premiums: Insurance companies often view individuals with a DWI conviction as high-risk drivers, leading to increased insurance rates or potential policy cancellations.

Employment Opportunities: A DWI conviction on your record can negatively affect your current job or future employment prospects, particularly in positions that involve driving or require a clean criminal record.

Professional Licenses: Certain professional licenses, such as those for doctors, nurses, lawyers, and teachers, can be affected by a DWI conviction. It may lead to disciplinary actions or even revocation of your license.

Education: Some educational institutions may consider a DWI conviction during admissions processes or when awarding scholarships, potentially impacting your educational opportunities.

Possible Defenses

When charged with DWI in San Antonio, it's crucial to explore all possible defenses to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome. Some common defenses include challenging the accuracy of breathalyzer or blood test results, questioning the legality of the traffic stop or arrest, challenging the credibility of the arresting officer, or presenting evidence that your impairment was due to a medical condition rather than intoxication.

Driver’s License Suspension

In addition to the criminal charges, if you are charged with DWI in San Antonio, you may also face administrative consequences concerning your driver's license. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has the authority to initiate an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) suspension.

ALR suspensions can occur in two scenarios:

Refusal to Take a Breath or Blood Test: If you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test when requested by a law enforcement officer, your driver's license may be subject to a 180-day suspension. It is important to note that Texas has an implied consent law, meaning that by operating a motor vehicle, you have already given consent to such testing.

Failing a Breath or Blood Test: If you take a breath or blood test and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures 0.08 or higher, your driver's license may be suspended for 90 days.

It's crucial to act promptly if you wish to challenge these ALR suspensions. You have a limited window of 14 days from the date of your arrest to request an ALR hearing. Failure to request a hearing within this timeframe will result in an automatic suspension of your driver's license.

Requesting an ALR hearing provides an opportunity to contest the suspension and potentially retain your driving privileges. An experienced DWI attorney, such as Brad Thornton at Thornton Criminal Defense, can guide you through the ALR hearing process, present relevant evidence, and advocate for your rights.

San Antonio DWI Attorney Brad Thornton

When facing a DWI charge in San Antonio, it's essential to have a seasoned DWI attorney by your side who understands the intricacies of Texas DWI laws. At Thornton Criminal Defense, we offer the expertise and dedication you need to navigate the complexities of your case.

DWI First Offense Attorney in San Antonio

Led by Brad Thornton, a Board-Certified Criminal Law Specialist, former chief prosecutor, and a former prosecutor on the DWI Task Force, our firm brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the local legal landscape. With a track record of success in DWI defense, we are committed to protecting your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your situation.

We recognize that each DWI case is unique, which is why we offer free consultations. During this confidential meeting, we will listen attentively to the details of your case and provide you with personalized advice tailored to your specific circumstances. We believe that open communication and a strong attorney-client relationship are crucial in building a robust defense strategy.

At Thornton Criminal Defense, we leave no stone unturned in fighting for your rights. We will diligently examine the evidence, challenge the legality of the traffic stop or arrest, question the accuracy of breath or blood test results, and explore any other viable defense strategies. Our goal is to minimize the impact of a DWI charge on your life, your driving privileges, and your future opportunities.

Don't let a DWI charge define your future. Contact Thornton Criminal Defense today at 210-439-5627 to schedule your free consultation and take the first step towards a strong defense. Remember, time is of the essence, especially when it comes to challenging ALR suspensions. Trust our experienced team to provide you with expert guidance, unwavering support, and a relentless commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for your DWI case.

14 views0 comments










Attorney Brad Thornton is a highly experienced and Board-Certified criminal defense lawyer. With his background as a former Chief Prosecutor, he has a unique understanding of the criminal justice system and is able to provide comprehensive and effective representation to his clients. He is also deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals receive fair treatment in court, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Brad Thornton is dedicated to helping his clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case, whether it is in San Antonio or elsewhere in South Texas. He recognizes the stress and anxiety that can come with being accused of a crime, and approaches his clients with compassion while keeping them informed at every step of the process. His knowledge and experience make him a strong advocate for his clients.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

© 2023 by Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC. 

Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

San Antonio Office:

111 Soledad, Suite 401

San Antonio, Texas 78205

Tel: 210-439-5627

Atascosa Office:

216 N Bryant St

Pleasanton, Texas 78064

bottom of page