If you get charged with DWI in San Antonio in 2023, you might face a tougher time than if you were arrested in ’21 or ’20. Bexar County’s top prosecutor says he is getting tough on drivers facing DWI charges for the first time.
Too many plea deals?
The change has to do with a policy in place at the Bexar County District Attorney’s office since around 2009. Prosecutors began offering plea bargains to DWI defendants with no prior convictions in which they could plead guilty to the lesser charge of obstruction of a highway. The DA is now ending that policy. The office believes it has agreed to too many of these plea bargains to first-time offenders and will offer the deal to fewer defendants from now on. First Assistant DA Christian Hendricksen claimed that about a quarter of those who pleaded guilty to obstruction under the old policy drove with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent, though of course, that was never proven in any of these cases.
This announcement does not mean you have no options if you are arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving. For one thing, the police might have violated your rights at some point during the traffic stop, which means some or all of the evidence against you was obtained illegally. If so, your defense attorney could challenge that evidence, which could be leverage toward getting the charges reduced or dropped.
Even if the police did everything by the book, the prosecutor might be willing to negotiate a plea bargain. Working with an experienced attorney makes that possibility more likely.