Texas DWI & DUI

DWI in Texas Laws

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.

Texas 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.

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.

You will also face charges of “endangering a child” if you are arrested for DWI with a minor in the car.

What Happens to First Time DWI Offenders in Texas?

If your blood alcohol content or BAC is .08, then you are said to be intoxicated and under the influence so chances are you can be arrested. However, if you are intoxicated and impaired due to alcohol or other drugs regardless if it has been proven with the BAC test, you would also automatically be charged with DUI. A fine of up to $500 for having an alcohol in your system or by simply having an open bottle in your car can already merit this.

What Happens if You’re Stopped? Once you are stopped by an attending officer, you just have to be prepared to show your driver’s license or your proof of insurance and the vehicle registration form. Once you refuse to take such action, you would then be charged. If you refuse on the other hand to take a blood alcohol content test or a blood and breath test, then the attending officer for your case can suspend your driver’s license for at least a hundred and eighty days.

What is a DUI in Texas?

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.

Texas DWI First Offense

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, and mental faculties, and had a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 percent or higher.

For a person’s first DWI offense, they will spend between 72 hours and 180 days in jail. In addition, they are subject to fines up to $2,000 and their driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of a year. A second offense carries a possible fine of $4,000. An offender will spend between a month and a year in jail. Their driver’s license will be suspended for a maximum of 2 years. If a person is convicted of DWI the third time, they face up to 10 years in prison, a $4,000 fine, and a driver’s license suspension for up to 2 years.

Texas DWI Second Offense

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.

If you are found in possession of alcohol and are under 21, the following will occur on the first offense: 30-day driver’s license suspension, 8 to 12 hours of community service, alcohol awareness classes, and a fine of up to $500. If a second or third offense occurs, the driver’s license can be suspended for 180 days. If the offender is above the age of 17 they face a maximum of $2,000 in fines and 180 days in jail for the third offense.

If you are under the legal drinking age of 21 and are drinking and driving, the following will occur:  60-day driver’s license suspension, $500 fine, 20 to 40 hours of community service, and alcohol awareness classes. Penalties increase with subsequent offenses.

The state of Texas has a zero-tolerance rule. That means an individual under the age of 21 cannot possess any alcohol in their blood. The above consequences will occur if the amount of alcohol is very minimal. If the BAC is .08 or greater and the individual is 17 they face up to 180 days in jail.

DUI Texas Felony

in Texas, Felony DWI is a serious charge that has a significant effect on your life beyond the penalties and punishments associated with the charge itself. State jail felonies can result in a $10,000 fine and incarceration in a state jail for a term of no more than two years and no less than 180 days. Your license may also be suspended for 90 days to two years. If you are convicted, you will be charged a $1,000 to $2,000 surcharge fee every year for the next three years in order to keep your driver’s license. If you are facing a felony DWI charge, seeking legal counsel may assist you in comprehending your charges, potential penalties, and other complicated legal aspects of your case. A Felony DWI can be charged with one of these intoxication-related offenses:

  • Repeat Offenders With 3+ DWI Convictions
  • Intoxication Assault
  • DWI With a Child in Passenger Seat
  • Intoxication Manslaughter

How does ALR Hearing Work?

In January 1, 1995, the Automatic License Revocation or ALR law took effect. This is a civil, administrative process not related to any criminal court proceedings.

  • An attending officer primarily determines that there is a suspicious act for a driver to be stopped for BAC testing.
  • If there is any proof that the driver who was stopped is impaired, some tests would then be administered. If the result is poor, the driver is automatically arrested for DWI.
  • When the driver is already at the police station, a chemical test would then be required for the driver to take. If the alcohol content or BAC level is measured and it registers to be positive, other measures will be taken into account.
  • A notice will be served to the offender and his driver’s license is suspended this is when he refuses to take any of the necessary tests to determine whether or not he is actually intoxicated.
  • In some cases, even if the driver’s license has already been confiscated, some are still allowed to be issued a temporary driving permit.
  • A hearing can be requested by the driver for a number of fifteen days from the time they are convicted. If there wouldn’t be any request for a hearing, the suspension will just push through. And will take effect on the fortieth day after notice was served.
  • The offender would then be required to pay $125 to reinstate the license after the period of the forty day suspension.
  • This law also applies for individuals who are found guilty of DUI and driving boats and
  • refused to take the same necessary tests.

DWI Penalties in Texas

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.

Texas BAC – 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 the 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.

Ignition Interlock – 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.

Zero Tolerance – If you’re DWI while under 21, you will face serious penalties such as a 60-day license suspension, up to a $500 fine, 20 to 40 hours of community service, and an alcohol awareness class.

DUI Cost in Texas

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 more 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 for 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.

Hire an Experienced Texas DUI Attorney

The very moment you are convicted with a drinking under the influence or DUI charge in the state of Texas, you can opt to do any of these things:

One is to take your case very seriously because a DUI conviction in this state just like in any other would have great and several consequences on your end. You will find it potentially difficult to apply for jobs, or gain your personal freedom and of course these things would greatly affect your future as a whole.

Another thing that you can do is to seek the help of an experienced Texas DUI lawyer or attorney who has a lot of experience when it comes to the laws and regulations that apply to the state of Texas. Once you are able to do this, you will find that you will no longer have to struggle in knowing things about Texas DWI laws and courtroom proceedings and you would also be faced with improved results for your case.

Also, you wouldn’t have to worry about anything else anymore because then a qualified DUI lawyer and attorney in the state of Texas can very well take good care of your case. All you have to do is call them and then you will be provided with as much information as you possibly can. An initial interview will also be offered to you for free.

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Criminal Defense Attorney Joe Cannon
6614 Barronton Dr, Spring, TX 77389
(713) 960-0777
Serving Spring, TX, The Woodlands, TX