Defending Your Rights: Top-Rated DWI Attorney in San Marcos, Texas

At the Law Office of Lance Turnbow, our primary mission is to offer uncompromising legal defense to individuals facing DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charges in San Marcos, Texas.

We understand that being charged with a DWI can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience, affecting much more than just your legal standing.

A DWI conviction can result in severe consequences, including loss of driving privileges, significant fines, and potentially, incarceration. The uncertainty of what lies ahead can cast a shadow over your personal and professional life.

As the best San Marcos DWI Attorney, the Law Office of Lance Turnbow understands the intricate issues associated with presenting a strong defense against a driving while intoxicated conviction and will guide you through the process to ensure the most positive outcome possible.

an empty beer glass with car keys and handcuffs illustrating a dwi

What Sets The Office of Lance Turnbow Apart?

As a Reputable DWI Attorney in San Marcos, the Law Office of Lance Turnbow has an extensive track record of successfully defending individuals charged with DWIs. Our experience and expertise mean we know precisely what to look for when challenging a DWI charge in court.

Our team is dedicated to providing personalized attention and care for each client.

We understand that every case is unique and requires a tailored defense strategy.

We work tirelessly to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and analyze all aspects of the case to build a strong defense.

Our top priority is always protecting our client’s rights and best interests, whether it be negotiating for reduced charges or taking the case to trial. Our goal is to achieve the most favorable outcome possible.

CJ BarlowCJ Barlow
20:57 27 Dec 23
Lance Turnbow is a great attorney. He definitely has your best interest and keeps you updated with all legal actions towards your case. Mr. Turnbow is extremely professional as well as easy to work with but furthermore a true defense attorney at law. I would highly recommended Mr. Turnbow if you... are looking for a great representation for your case!read more
Robert UrbanRobert Urban
21:25 24 Jul 23
Lance represented my son in a Hays County, TX, DUI case. Lance did a great job following the case and strategically leveraging a negotiated settlement. As a former Insurance Civil Litigation Manager, I highly recommend Lance for abilities including: Discovery, Managing Docket, Communication and... Negotiated Settlement. Lance is personal, has high respect from prosecutors and diligent. I recommend you consider him if/when in need!read more
Kara MushrushKara Mushrush
18:10 19 Apr 23
Skipper LivSkipper Liv
14:38 28 Mar 22
17:46 07 Sep 21
Called about questions , very helpful
Anne CaseAnne Case
13:58 17 Mar 20
Lance was the hands-down best choice attorney for our daughter's DWI. He managed the case well over the 2.5 years between her arrest and hearing. He knows the system, the people, and the process to effect the best possible outcome. We were 100% satisfied with our relationship with Lance and how... he represented our daughter. We highly recommend more
Hostile MangoHostile Mango
22:14 02 Feb 19
Lance Turnbow is one of the best lawyers I’ve met.He is extremely sharp, trust worthy, and willing to listen.He is a true defense attorney. Willing to fight for justice.The customer service is very good between him and his office staff.He even gave me his personal cell number to call if I ever... needed.No more
Benjamin LawsonBenjamin Lawson
23:11 30 Jan 17
Lance is a great attorney. He is knowledgeable and his follow-up is excellent. I have had the opportunity to work with Lance a number of times over the past few years and I am very happy to recommend him.

What is a DWI?

Also commonly known as a DUI (driving under the influence), this charge does not only mean “drunk driving-” it pertains to any situation where it may be determined a person is unsafely operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a chemical such as alcohol, illegal drugs or pharmaceuticals that can impair motor skills.

The Seriousness of a DWI Offense in Texas

A DWI offense in Texas should never be underestimated as it has grave implications. Those facing such charges are immediately subjected to ripple effects that could disrupt personal, educational, and professional responsibilities. Once convicted, a criminal record takes shape, potentially limiting their chances to secure jobs or leverage other opportunities in the future.

As per the Texas Penal Code § 49.04, an individual can be charged with a DWI if they are found operating a vehicle in a public space under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

Intoxication is defined as:

  • Impairment of an individual’s normal mental or physical capabilities due to alcohol or drugs, thus making safe driving impossible; or
  • The person in question having a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater.

Typically, first and second offenses of DWI are classified as misdemeanors, though the severity of punishment varies based on the specifics of the incident.

drivers license suspension

The Possible Conviction Penalties for a DWI in Texas

First offense (Class B misdemeanor):

  • Imprisonment ranging from 72 hours to 180 days
  • At least 6 days in jail if the offender was in possession of an open alcohol container
  • Fines that can go up to $2,000
  • Suspension of the driving license from 90 days up to 1 year

If the alcohol concentration is 0.15 or more (Class A misdemeanor):

  • Up to a year of incarceration
  • Fines that can reach $4,000

Second offense (Class A misdemeanor):

  • Jail time from 30 days to 1 year
  • Fines that can reach $4,000
  • Suspension of the driver’s license from 180 days to 2 years

Regardless of whether it’s your first or second violation, managing your case without legal assistance could have heavy consequences. Our proficient DWI lawyers in San Marcos, Texas, understand the life-changing impact a criminal charge and conviction can have on you, which is why we commit to vigorously defending you throughout your case.

Is a DWI Considered a Felony in the State of Texas?

Being under the influence while driving doesn’t always amount to a misdemeanor. In certain instances, it can escalate to a felony charge, regardless of whether it’s the person’s first or second occurrence.

Texas legislation outlines several circumstances that may amplify the severity of the charge, such as:

Operating a vehicle under the influence with a child younger than 15 years old. Classified as a State jail felony, with possible penalties being:

  • Incarceration ranging from 180 days to 2 years
  • Fines that could reach up to $10,000

Being arrested for a third DWI offense. Recognized as a third-degree felony, for which punishments can include:

  • A prison sentence from 2 to 10 years and/or
  • Fines amounting to as much as $10,000

Injuring another person severely (known as intoxication assault). This is a third-degree felony, with potential penalties of:

  • 2 to 19 years of jail time and/or
  • Fines not exceeding $10,000

Causing someone else’s death (intoxication manslaughter). Considered a second-degree felony, with penalties that could include:

  • Incarceration for 2 to 20 years
  • Fines up to $10,000

Felony offenses are seen as more severe than misdemeanors and can carry grave, enduring implications. If you’re confronted with a felony charge, it’s crucial to seek legal assistance immediately. The Law Office of Lance Turnbow is ready to help.

Building a robust defense involves diligent preparation, which our team is more than prepared to provide. We’re equipped to invest the time and resources necessary to contest the claims made against you.

DWI vs DUI Laws in Texas

The distinction between DWI and DUI terms is commonly misunderstood, particularly in Texas, where they represent separate legal offenses rather than interchangeable terms.

DWI, which stands for “Driving While Intoxicated,” refers to the offense of operating a vehicle while impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs to a degree that one’s mental and physical faculties are compromised.

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Texas is 0.08%, and exceeding this limit while operating a vehicle will result in a DWI charge.

DUI, or “Driving Under the Influence of alcohol by a minor,” applies to individuals who are under 21 years old and have consumed alcohol before operating a vehicle.

Notably, the usual 0.08 blood alcohol concentration limit isn’t applicable in DUI instances. If any trace of alcohol is detected in a minor’s system while driving, a DUI charge can be warranted even if the minor appears unaffected by the alcohol.

DWI breath test

The Possible Conviction Penalties for a DUI in Texas

For minors under 17 years

First Offense (Class C misdemeanor):

  • Fines up to $500
  • Community service between 20 to 40 hours
  • Suspension of driver’s license from 60 to 180 days
  • Completion of an Alcohol Awareness course

Second Offense (Class C misdemeanor):

  • Fines up to $500
  • Community service between 40 to 60 hours
  • Suspension of driver’s license from 120 days to 2 years
  • Completion of an Alcohol Awareness course

Third Offense (Delinquent conduct by a minor):

  • Fines up to $500
  • Community service between 40 to 60 hours
  • Suspension of driver’s license from 180 days to 2 years

For those between 17 and 20 years

First Offense (Class B misdemeanor):

  • Jail time between 72 hours to 180 days
  • Fines up to $500
  • 1 year of driver’s license suspension

Second Offense (Class A misdemeanor):

  • Jail time between 30 days to 1 year
  • Fines up to $4,000
  • Suspension of driver’s license from 180 days to 18 months

Third or further Offense (Third-degree felony):

  • Incarceration from 2 to 10 years
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Suspension of driver’s license from 180 days to 2 years

Remember, while the DUI law in Texas is strictly for minors who have consumed any amount of alcohol, those under 21 can still be charged with a DWI if their alcohol concentration measures 0.08 or greater. If charged with a DWI, the minor would face similar penalties as someone 21 or older.

Probable Cause in Texas DWI Cases

In any DWI case, law enforcement does not have the authority to arbitrarily pull over an individual based on a mere suspicion of drunk driving. They require valid probable cause. This implies that there must be a lawful reason to halt the driver, such as overspeeding or violating a traffic light.

Additionally, tangible probable cause is necessary to apprehend an individual under the suspicion of intoxicated driving. This is often substantiated by noticing the driver’s physical conditions or actions, like unclear speech or an unsatisfactory performance in field sobriety examinations.

In certain DWI scenarios, probable cause holds significant weight. Demonstrating that the law enforcement officer lacked a valid reason to pull over or detain the individual could lead to the dismissal of certain evidence, thereby undermining the prosecution’s case.

Facing DWI or DUI charges in Texas can have profound impacts on your future.

If you’re dealing with such circumstances, it’s crucial to act swiftly and defend your rights. Contact The Law Office of Lance Turnbow today for a comprehensive review of your case by calling us at (512) 392-4756 or submitting our form to schedule your consultation.

Take the first step toward protecting your future now.

How Individual Counties Treat Your DWI Case

Not all counties in Texas treat DWIs the same. Some are more difficult than others. Here is a short synopsis of how some of the counties treat DWIs:


Hays County District Attorney’s Office offers alternate dispositions in some DWI cases. This means in some cases it is possible to change the DWI charge to Reckless Driving or Obstruction of a Highway. This is usually only done in cases where the defendant has no criminal history and was not in an accident leading to the arrest. Other important factors include BAC number, the completion of community service, and a DWI education class.


Travis County is similar to Hays in the way they treat DWIs.  Alternate dispositions can be obtained for proactive defendants with decent facts. Travis County likes to see that defendants are completing classes and community service before their case comes to court.


Comal County is the most difficult county in South Central Texas for DWI charges. Not only do they have mandatory blood draws 24/7, but they also do not offer alternate dispositions under any circumstances. DWI defendants in Comal County are either placed on DWI probation or go to trial on a DWI charge. Reducing the charge to reckless driving or obstruction of a highway is not an option.


In Guadalupe County, alternate dispositions are possible if the BAC is not over .15 and the driver was not involved in a crash. One of the unique things about Guadalupe County DWIs is that the County Court at Law Judge Frank Follis requires anyone convicted of DWI to do a minimum of 3 days in jail as a condition of their probation. Most counties do not do this but it is required in Guadalupe County and the only way to avoid it is to not be convicted.


If you have a DWI are you still allowed to drive?

Once arrested you have 15 days to request a hearing regarding the suspension of your license.

If a hearing is not requested your license is automatically suspended on the 41st day after your DWI arrest. If the hearing is requested you can legally drive until the hearing date. If at the hearing the judge suspends your license you will need to obtain an occupational license to allow you to legally drive to work or school while your regular license is suspended.

What types of tests are used to detect alcohol levels in the body?

If an officer suspects you are intoxicated he will ask for a specimen of your breath or blood.

At one time the common practice was to refuse the tests so the state would have no way of establishing an exact blood alcohol concentration. However, recently many counties have enacted mandatory blood draws for drivers who refuse a breath or blood test. What this means is that if you refuse to give a specimen the officer gets a warrant to draw your blood from a judge and then takes you to the hospital where a nurse performs the blood draw.

Hays County judges so far have not agreed to issue warrants for blood draws. Comal County does mandatory blood draws every day of the year. Travis County and Guadalupe County only do mandatory blood draws on holidays like July 4th or New Year’s Eve.

Breath and blood tests can be inaccurate, but if given the option you would be better off refusing any test.

What are often used by law enforcement to determine if a driver is impaired?

If you are stopped and an officer suspects you have consumed alcohol he will ask you to perform some field sobriety tests. These three tests are the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), the walk and turn, and the one-leg stand.

These are not pass/fail tests, rather the officer looks for a certain number of “clues” to determine if you are intoxicated. These tests are difficult to perform and although everyone should refuse them many people don’t.

The officer is not required to tell you that you can refuse to perform field sobriety tests. When the officer conducts the tests he is gathering evidence to be used against you in court. Your performance is being video recorded and is played by the prosecution to help try to convince a jury of your guilt.

Can I refuse a breathalyzer or blood test without penalties?

Refusing a breathalyzer or blood test can lead to immediate penalties, including the suspension of your driver’s license. This is due to Texas’s implied consent law, which states that by driving on Texas roads, you have given consent to submit to these tests. Refusal can be used as evidence against you in court, although some defendants still choose to refuse in the hopes of limiting direct evidence of intoxication.

What should I do if I am stopped by the police and suspected of DWI?

If you are pulled over by the police and suspected of driving while intoxicated, it’s important to stay calm and polite.

You have the right to remain silent and to refuse to perform field sobriety tests without legal penalties. However, as explained previously, refusing breath or blood tests can result in administrative penalties.

Always remember that everything you do and say can be used against you in court. It’s often recommended to respectfully decline to answer the questions without legal counsel present.

How long will a DWI conviction stay on my record?

In Texas, a conviction for DWI remains on your criminal record permanently unless you obtain an expunction or a non-disclosure order under certain circumstances. This means that future employers, landlords, and others can see this information during background checks. It’s crucial to note that expunctions are rare and typically only available if your DWI charge was dismissed or if you were acquitted.

What are the possible consequences of a DWI conviction in Texas?

The consequences of a DWI conviction in Texas can vary but may include jail time, fines, suspension of your driver’s license, probation, mandatory education programs, community service, and the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Additionally, a DWI conviction can lead to increased insurance rates, employment difficulties, and other long-term repercussions. The severity of the consequences often increases with any subsequent DWI offenses.

Having a DWI Attorney is Essential

Ensuring you have a skilled DWI attorney in San Marcos is crucial. The prosecution is determined to secure a conviction, so having a specialized attorney with expertise in handling driving while intoxicated cases is essential. A general attorney who occasionally deals with such cases may lack the necessary experience in navigating the nuances of individual prosecutors and judges.

If your DWI case is not handled properly, the long-term effects of a conviction can be devastating. A conviction can impact current and future employment, your credit score, your ability to vote, the ability to rent a vehicle and so much more; there are so many reasons to do whatever it takes to avoid a DUI/DWI conviction.

Our law office is well versed in the ins and outs of dealing with DWI charges and you will benefit from our experience and hard work.

Of course, we do not condone drinking and driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence, but we also do not believe that a mistake should devastate you for the rest of your life.

Lance Turnbow criminal lawyer
The Law Office of Lance Turnbow will work tirelessly to make the entire stressful process as painless as possible. Ultimately, the goal is to help you protect your future so that you are not haunted by this experience for the rest of your life.
Contact us today– you cannot afford to wait.