DUI/DWI Basics Everyone Needs to Know

Getting caught driving while intoxicated can be troublesome and embarrassing – but, unfortunately, that is the least of your worries if you’ve been arrested in Texas for a DWI. The consequences of a conviction will have long-lasting effects well beyond your initial punishment. Whether this is your first or third charge, it’s important that you consider seeking immediate legal assistance and here’s why:

Driving While Intoxicated

Under Texas law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired. If you get caught drinking and driving, you will be charged with a DWI if your BAC is at or over the legal limit of .08. All drunk driving convictions result in probation, a mandatory counseling evaluation, and community service. With each subsequent DWI offense, the punishments get more severe.

A first offense is considered a Class B Misdemeanor, which will earn you a fine of up to $2,000 and a license suspension of up to 1 year with 3 days to 6 months imprisonment. You’ll also be subjected to a rehab evaluation from a state approved drug and alcohol counselor who will determine whether you have an addiction and which treatment might be necessary to handle it. That means you may be forced to go through rehab. In addition, it’s required that you also attend a DWI education program which is a 12-hour course and it has to be completed within 180 days of receiving probation. And if all that wasn’t enough, if your blood-alcohol was at 0.15 or more, you will be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle and the categorization is increased to a Class A Misdemeanor. A judge also has the discretion to require this even if you were below a 0.15.

If this is your second offense, the classification is upgraded to a Class A Misdemeanor and the fine could increase up to $4,000 with a license suspension of 6 months to 2 years and possible jail time up to a year. Oh—and all the other penalties associated with the first offense still apply. Anything beyond a second offense becomes a felony under Texas law and carries with it significantly higher fines, imprisonment sentences, and license suspension terms.

In the event that you’re caught drunk driving with a child in the car, an additional charge of child endangerment is applied if the youth is younger than 15 years old and your DWI is classified automatically as a felony, regardless if it’s your first offense or not. There’s a fine of up to $10,000, loss of license for 6 months and a possible jail sentence of two years. The punishment is determined by the age of the child, level of intoxication, prior DWI/DUI convictions, and other factors.

Driving Under the Influence

Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for people below the legal drinking age. Since it is against the law to drink if you’re under 21, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol. Even if you are not impaired, anyone under the age of 21 can face DUI charges if there is a detectable amount of alcohol in your system. A conviction will result in loss of driving privileges of up to 2 months for a first offense, up to 9 months for a second, and up to 180 days for a third.

When you’ve been arrested on DWI charges, you need a dedicated and aggressive attorney committed to standing up for your rights and protecting your freedoms. I understand that sometimes people make bad decisions, but that doesn’t mean you should spend the rest of your life paying for them. I’m defense attorney Thomas Locke and I will work my hardest to give you the best defense possible. Call me today for an evaluation of your case at (832) 308-7623.