July 13, 2018
If you were arrested on DWI charges in Texas over the Fourth of July holiday, what can you expect? We’ll tell you what you need to know about penalties and how an experienced criminal attorney can help you fight your charges.
DWI Laws in Texas
Every 20 minutes, a person in Texas is hurt or killed in a vehicle crash that involves alcohol use. These numbers increase over the July 4th holiday, when many people drive home from parties after having had too much to drink. Even people who aren’t heavy drinkers can get arrested for driving while intoxicated, since the police have additional patrols on July 4th.
When you are pulled over under probable cause of drunk driving and your breath or blood test registers as 0.08 percent or higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC), you can be charged with driving while intoxicated under Texas law.
Penalties for DWI in Texas
Convictions of driving while intoxicated in Texas are harshly punished, according to the number of offenses. The basic charge is a class B misdemeanor.
For a first offense, a conviction will result in three to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, loss of driving privileges for up to one year, and an annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three more years to keep your driver’s license.
For a second offense, a conviction will result in one month to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, loss of driving privileges for up to two years, and an annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three more years to keep your driver’s license.
For a third offense, a conviction will result in two to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, loss of driving privileges for up to two years, and an annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three more years to keep your driver’s license.
Ignition Interlock Switch Requirement
If you have two or more convictions of DWI within five years, you will be required to install an ignition interlock switch on your vehicle. This device prohibits use of your vehicle unless your BAC is below a set level, and you will be required to blow into the device at certain intervals while driving.
If your BAC is at least 0.15 percent, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
You can also face a fine of up to $500 for having an open alcohol container in your vehicle. If a child under the age of 15 years old was present in the vehicle when you were arrested for DWI, you can face additional charges of child endangerment. A conviction on child endangerment could result in the loss of your driver’s license for up to 180 days, a state jail sentence of up to two years, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Additional Consequences of a DWI in Texas
You may also be required to attend alcohol abuse education or intervention programs, and you might have to perform community service as well. After your conviction, you should also expect to pay higher vehicle insurance premiums.
If someone experiences serious bodily injury as a result of a DWI car accident, you can be charged with intoxication assault. This is a third degree felony under Texas law, and if you are convicted, you will face high fines and prison time.
If another person dies as a result of your driving while intoxicated, you can be charged with intoxication manslaughter. A conviction is a second degree felony which carries extremely heavy penalties.
Defenses to DWI Charges in Texas
A skilled Texas DWI attorney will know the best defenses to use in your case, which may include the following:
- Unlawful police stop
- Improper police procedure
- Improper testing or storage
- Involuntary intoxication
Any of these defenses may work in your situation.
Get Help from an Experienced Texas DWI Attorney
A Texas DWI conviction can cost you thousands in expenses and lost income. You could face the loss of your license along with possible incarceration. With the help of a skilled Texas DWI attorney, you can get your charges significantly reduced or dropped altogether.
Call today for your free case review. We’ll use the best possible defenses to fight your DWI charges.
About the Author:
Jeff Hampton has been practicing law in Texas in 2005, first in the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor, and now as a private attorney with the Hampton Eppes Law Group, protecting the rights of Texans who have suffered injury due to negligence or are facing criminal charges. His success in helping people with their legal troubles has been recognized by clients and peers alike, with a Top Attorney designation and 10/10 Superb Rating on Avvo, and a place on the National Trial Lawyers list of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.