In Galveston County Texas it is illegal to operate any motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. In Texas the definition of intoxicated is either having a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08 or by losing the normal use of mental or physical faculties because of the introduction of alcohol or drugs into the body. Galveston County like most other urban Texas counties is a no refusal county.
A no refusal county is a county where local law enforcement has decided that a refusal to submit a breath or blood specimen will result in the officer obtaining a search warrant to forcibly draw your blood.
A first DWI arrest in Galveston County will result in a possible driver license suspension and a criminal case filed in County Court at Law. In Galveston County there are three County Courts at Law, County Court at Law No. 1, County Court at Law No. 2, and County Court at Law No. 3. Once your case has been filed, an experienced prosecutor will review your case and you will have to attend court proceedings where you will deal with the prosecutor unless you hire an attorney.
If you have two previous DWI convictions then your case will be filed as a third-degree felony in District Court. There are five District Courts in Galveston County, the 10th District Court, 56th District Court, 122nd District Court, 212th District Court, and 405th District Court.
In felony District Court, your case will not progress until you are represented by an attorney so hiring an attorney is a necessary step in resolving your case. The potential penalties for a Driving While Intoxicated conviction are discussed more in our DWI podcast and our Second and Third DWI conviction blogpost.
PreTrial Intervention Program (PTIP) in Galveston County
One option for resolving your case in Galveston County is the PreTrial Intervention Program. For first time DWI offenders with little to no criminal history the DWI PTIP is an attractive option for resolving your case so as to avoid a DWI conviction and to make expunging your record possible. To be eligible for DWI PTIP in Galveston County your BAC must be below a 0.15 however an experienced lawyer can help get you into the program even with a BAC over 0.15.
Deferred Adjudication Probation
While community supervision or probation is possible for a second or third conviction, first time DWI offenders are also eligible for Deferred Adjudication probation. This option is not as attractive as the the DWI PTIP but is still a viable option for resolving a DWI case without a conviction and while avoiding jail time as required under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and the massive mandatory State fines. A DWI deferred adjudication probation makes sealing your arrest and court record possible.
Felony DWI In Galveston County
An arrest for DWI in Galveston County after two prior convictions for DWI at any point in your life, could likely result in a third-degree felony indictment for Driving While Intoxicated being filed in one of the five felony district courts. Depending on the Court your case is filed in, probation may not be offered as a resolution to your case and you may have to proceed to a jury trial. If you are offered probation it will result in a felony conviction and a minimum term of county jail time as a condition of your probation. A prison sentence of 2 to 10 years is also a possibility in every third-degree felony DWI case.