If you’re facing a DWI in Texas (whether it’s an arrest or a conviction), there are a number of things you have to consider. Will you have to spend time in jail? And if so, how much time do you have to serve? Probation might also be a possibility, and you may have to pay a series of fines. Your license could be suspended, and you may have to attend a DWI school or do community service. At least 13,000 people were involved in alcohol-related crashes in the State of Texas, and many of them were first-time offenders. Regardless of the statistics, one thing is clear — that no matter how many times you have gotten a DWI in Texas, the consequences of your actions can be serious. And if you manage to get out of it without going to jail, the State of Texas will do whatever it can to make you regret those drinks.
Texas has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to DWI offenses. So even if it’s your first time, chances are you’ll get more than a proverbial slap on the wrist. The reason for this harsh policy is because of the effect it has on lives and their families. At least one person in the State of Texas is killed or seriously injured in an alcohol-related car accident every 20 minutes. So in the span of one hour, at least three people will have their lives significantly changed because someone decided to drive drunk. In 2016, 38% of vehicular fatalities were alcohol-related, and 33.1% of them were 21 and younger.
DWI Laws in the State of Texas
In the State of Texas, it’s illegal to drive a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more. It’s also illegal to operate a vehicle while you’re under the influence of drugs or any other controlled substance. So, you can be arrested for a DWI in Texas for both of these situations. If an officer suspects that you’re operating a motor vehicle while you have been impaired by alcohol, he or she may administer a breath or blood test. It will determine the amount of alcohol you have in your system. And if it’s above the legal limit, you could be charged with a DWI. People with a commercial driving license have a stricter limit, which is a BAC of .04. And if you’re a minor with a BAC that isn’t zero, you can be charged with a DWI.
Penalties for a DWI in Texas
The penalties for a DWI in Texas will depend on the number of DWI convictions you had in the past. Here are the penalties for a DWI conviction in the State of Texas:
- First Offense — A fine of up to $2,000 and 6-180 days in jail. Your license could also be suspended for at least 90 days and up to 1 year. This also includes a $2,000 annual fee for three years, which will allow the state to retain your license.
- Second Offense — A fine of up $2,000 and one month to one year in jail. You could also get your license suspended for at least a year, and you’ll have to pay a $2,000 annual fee for three years so the state can retain your license.
- Third Offense — A fine of $10,000 and 2-10 years in prison. Your license could also be suspended for 1-2 years, which will include a $2,000 annual fee for three years so your license can be retained.
If you refuse to submit to a sobriety test, your license could be suspended for 180 days if it’s your first offense and 2 years if you have had previous DWI convictions. If you commit a DWI offense with a child on board (under the age of 15), you can face jail time of 180 days to 2 years and fine of up to $10,000. If you have a BAC of .015 or more, you could spend a up to one year in jail and pay a fine of up to $4,000.
If you’re looking for a criminal defense lawyer in Corpus Christi that will protect your rights if you have been arrested for a DWI in Texas, Gale Law Group has a team of experts who will fight for you. So if you’re facing a DWI charge and want to work with the best criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi, get in touch with us today!