It may have been a one-time lapse in judgement, or you may have only had a couple of drinks when you decide to drive home after having consumed alcohol. However, the situation becomes very serious when you are pulled over by police and are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI).
What constitutes intoxication in Texas?
In Texas you are considered legally intoxicated, meaning you will get a DWI, if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or above. However, driving with a lower BAC is also illegal if your driving ability is negatively affected due to alcohol or drug use. This means that, based on observation or field sobriety tests, you could be charged with a drunk driving offense even if your BAC is below the legal limit.
What are the consequences for DWI in Texas?
The penalties for DWI in Texas vary based on how many offenses you have on your record. If it is your first DWI, you could be fined up to $2,000, could face a jail sentence of up to 180 days (with three mandatory days) and you could lose your driver’s license for up to 12 months. If it is your second DWI, you could be fined up to $4,000, could face a jail sentence of 24 days to 12 months and you could lose your driver’s license for up to 24 months. If it is your third DWI, you could face a $10,000 fine, a prison sentence of 24 months to 10 years and you could lose your driver’s license for up to 24 months. In addition to these penalties, upon sentencing you could be issued a state fine of $3,000, $4,500 or $6,000.
Avoid a DWI if possible
As this shows, the consequences for being convicted with DWI in Texas are severe. If possible, it is important to try not to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Take a taxi or ride share home, ride with a designated driver or stay where you are until you are sober enough to drive. However, if you were charged with DWI and believe you were not impaired it is important to fight these charges. This post does not contain legal advice. Criminal defense attorneys can assist Texans facing DWI charges.