“This is my first DWI arrest, so why am I being charged with a Class A misdemeanor?!”
Usually, when people get arrested for their first DWI, it is a Class B misdemeanor. However, if their blood alcohol is tested and it comes out above 0.15, then the case is increased to a Class A misdemeanor.
What should I expect with this DWI >0.15 charge?
If you are charged with a DWI above 0.15, the main thing to know is that your life will now include an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a period of time. When you bond out of jail, the magistrate will include ignition interlock as a bond condition. That means, during the entire pendency of your case, you will have to have an ignition interlock on your vehicle.
Will it affect my occupational license?
If there is a license suspension in your case, you must get an occupational license if you want to drive legally during your suspension period. When you're charged with DWI above 0.15, the occupational license will come with a provision mandating ignition interlock during the driver’s license suspension period.
Will it affect my probation if I get it?
Finally, if you get placed on probation, one of your conditions of probation will typically include ignition interlock. The statute says that you must have the ignition interlock on your vehicle for at least half the term of probation. However, the judge can insist that you keep the interlock on your vehicle for longer.
Should I avoid alcohol while my case is pending?
It’s very important that you do not have any alcohol in your system while you have the interlock in your vehicle. If you’re on bond with an interlock condition and the interlock blows are consistent with alcohol use, the judge can have you arrested. That mistake could also be viewed unfavorably by a prosecutor during plea negotiations.
How can a lawyer help me?
As with any DWI case, my first goal is to always find a way to either get the case dismissed or work out a plea deal that does NOT result in any type of DWI conviction.
When those things aren’t possible however, another way to successfully defend a DWI above 0.15 is to try to get the State to drop the above 0.15 allegation. If you can do that, the case becomes a Class B misdemeanor, and the ignition interlock does not have to be on your vehicle for at least half the period of probation.