DWI in the State of Texas
It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of.08% or greater in all fifty states. If a police officer has reason to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then he or she will pull you over in a traffic stop. In the state of Texas, drunk driving is called driving while intoxicated, or DWI. It means the same thing as DUI, and the terms are used interchangeably in the United States.
Being arrested for DWI is not limited to alcohol intoxication; a person can be arrested for DWI when they are operating a vehicle while under the influence of both legal and illegal drugs. In fact, there are a number of prescription medications that can have a drastic influence on someone’s ability to drive. Any drug that causes drowsiness can cause someone to fall asleep at the wheel and subsequently cause a traffic collision.
In the state of Texas, most first DWI’s are categorized as a Class B misdemeanor offense. Absent any unusual facts or aggravating circumstances, most people convicted of first time DWI face up to $2,000 in fines, up to six months in jail, and up to 100 hours of community service.
In some cases the person will not go to jail after a first DWI offense and will receive probation lieu of jail time. When this happens there are generally conditions that have to be met by the offender. Such mandatory conditions may involve participation in an alcohol treatment program, they may be ordered not to consume any alcohol, they may be ordered to pay restitution to an insurance company or damages to the other party (if there was an accident).
For a second DWI offense, it is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to $4,000 in fines, up to one year in jail, up to 200 hours community service, and from 180 days to 2 years driver’s license suspension.
For any third DWI offense, the penalties become much greater. A third DWI is prosecuted as a third degree felony. It is punishable by a $10,000 fine, from 2 years to 10 years in prison, up to 600 hours of community service, and up to 2 years driver’s license suspension.
DWI penalties are not the same in every situation. Depending if there was any property damage, or if there was any bodily injury involved, a person can face enhanced penalties. Being arrested for DWI can be very stressful to say the least; however, an arrest does not have to turn into a conviction. You can fight your charges in court, and an experienced DWI attorney will be able to help you do just that. It is possible to challenge your traffic stop, the arrest itself, and any evidence collected at the scene. Law enforcement officers are not perfect and they are prone to error at times. It will be the job of a skilled attorney to pick apart the evidence against you and search for any errors made by law enforcement. To start taking action now to protect your legal rights, contact a DWI lawyer today!