There are serious consequences that come along with a DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction in the state of Texas. Your license may be suspended. You will be required to pay expensive fines and court costs. You will even spend time in jail.
DWI law is very intricate. If you have recently been arrested for drunk driving, you must immediately find an attorney who is well-versed in Texas’s drinking and driving laws. A good attorney may mean the difference between life-altering penalties and the life you knew before your arrest.
A first-time DWI offense is a Class B Misdemeanor. The law states that “a person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” The prosecutor may make his or her case by demonstrating that the driver did not have the normal use of physical faculties, mental faculties, and had a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 percent or higher.
It is important to note that even if you have a prescription, if a substance makes you intoxicated, you may be found guilty of DWI.
There are additional elements that may make your case more difficult. If you have had a previous DWI conviction, you are facing increased jail time, fines, and a longer driver’s license suspension. You will also face more problems if you assaulted someone or committed manslaughter with your vehicle while intoxicated.
You will also face charges of “endangering a child” if you are arrested for DWI with a minor in the car.
Texas Drunk Driving Facts
Alcohol and driving do not mix. Regardless of the circumstances, you should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you are under the influence of alcohol. First and foremost, driving impaired is extremely dangerous—a fact that cannot be disputed once you take into account the number of alcohol-related fatalities that occur each year—and secondly, it is a serious criminal act. Indeed, whether you live in California or Florida, driving under the influence (DUI) is against the law in every area of the United States, and while the exact laws vary from one state to another, there are several basic drunk driving facts that apply to all drivers.
Depending on the laws in your area, a DUI conviction can carry a number of stiff penalties, including a license suspension and/or jail sentence. Unfortunately, when facing the possibility of losing their driving privileges or spending time in jail, many drivers overlook one of the most common DUI penalties in the nation—the multitude of fines they may have to pay if they are convicted of drunk driving.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence, your wallet will begin to feel the impact almost immediately. First, you’ll be required to pay bail before you are released from jail—an obligation that can cost anywhere from $150 to $2,500. After your arrest, your vehicle may also be towed and impounded, which will add an additional $100 to $1,000 dollars onto your expenses (and if you fail to pay these fees, your vehicle could even be auctioned to recoup these costs).
Of course, if you are found guilty of the charges against you, you can expect to incur far more expenses than those listed above. In most states, the average fine for a DUI conviction is between $300 and $1,200—and that doesn’t include any additional penalties that may be imposed, such as license reinstatement fees ($60 to $250), alcohol treatment ($150 or more), and DUI school (usually around $100-$250). Plus, you may need to request time off from work in order to attend court and fulfill your sentencing requirements, which could lead to a substantial loss of income.
You should also be aware of the long-term financial effects of a DUI conviction. Once your fines are paid and your sentence is complete, you may still face exorbitant insurance costs. Indeed, many companies charge convicted drunk drivers two to three times more for insurance and, oftentimes, you may not qualify for a lower rate for several years. Child custody and divorce can also come into play.
As you can see, a drunk driving conviction can be quite expensive. On average, a first-time DUI offense costs $10,000 or more—and that’s assuming you weren’t involved in an accident or charged with an additional crime. You can expect to pay ore if you are a repeat offender or had a blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.15% at the time of your arrest. In light of these costs, many drivers find hiring an attorney more affordable than foregoing legal counsel.
If you were recently arrested with drunk driving, it is important to look for an attorney who is well-versed in the DUI laws in your area. What’s more, make sure the attorney you select handles DUI defense cases exclusively, as most general practitioners do not have specialized knowledge in the area of drunk driving defense (such as the science of breath testing, for example). To locate a skilled DUI attorney in your area, submit your information online today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Texas-Size DWI Penalties
You may spend 3 days to 180 days in jail for a first offense. You will face a fine of $2,000 and have to pay an annual fee of $1,000 to $2,000 for three years in order to have your license reinstated. You can also face probation for 1 year. Other penalties may be: loss of job, restricted travel, insurance problems, ignition interlock, vehicle impoundment and alcohol treatment.
If the police suspect you of DWI, you will be asked to take a chemical test (breath, blood or urine). If you have a blood alcohol content of .08% or more in Texas, you are DWI. Blood tests are the most accurate, but breath tests are often given because they can be administered on scene by police.
Field Sobriety Tests
The police may ask you to take a field sobriety test. The most common are the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), the one leg stand and the walk and turn. These tests help police determine if you have been drinking and driving by checking skills such as balance and any involuntary eye jerking.
The judge may order this device to be installed in your car. You must breathe in the machine alcohol-free in order for it to start.
If you’re DWI while under 21, you will face serious penalties such as 60-day license suspension, up to a $500 fine, 20 to 40 hours of community service and an alcohol awareness class.
Find a Qualified Texas DWI Lawyer
Texas is the second largest state and in it are many skilled lawyers who specialize in DWI cases just like yours. Find one and you may win your case.