DUI & DWI

What Applies to Driving While Intoxicated

Under Texas law, it is illegal for a person to drive or operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol and/or drugs. The Texas Penal Code §49.04 states that a person commits an offense if they operate a motor vehicle in the state while intoxicated. The Code defines “intoxicated” as meaning “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body;” or “having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.” The state takes these offenses very seriously.

What is the Penalty for Driving Under the Influence in Texas?

In Texas, a DWI is a criminal offense that can result in penalties such as fines and jail time, in addition to a suspension of one’s driver’s license. The penalties for driving while intoxicated are contingent upon the alcohol concentration level of the driver and whether the driver has previously been convicted of an intoxication offense.

  • First Offense DWI

A first offense is typically classified as a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by a jail term of up to 180 days, up to a $2,000 fine, and loss of driver’s license for up to a year. If the driver had an open container of alcohol in their immediate possession at the time of the offense, it is classified as a Class B misdemeanor with a jail term of six to 180 days, up to a $2,000 fine, or both. Further, if it is proven that the driver’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.15 or more at the time of the offense, the offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, with a jail term of up to one year, a fine of up to $4,000, or both. 

  • Second Offense DWI

When the driver had previously been convicted one time of a DWI or any other intoxication offense other than manslaughter, the DWI is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and can also result in loss of driver’s license for up to two years.

  • Third Offense DWI

When the driver had previously been convicted one time for intoxication manslaughter or more than one time for a lesser intoxication offense, the DWI is classified as a third-degree felony, with a sentence of two to ten years in prison, a fine of $10,000, and loss of driver’s license for up to two years.

Additionally, any DWI offense committed with a child passenger in the car will also result in child endangerment charges if the child is under 15, an additional fine of up to $10,000, a jail term of up to two years, and loss of driver’s license for an additional 180 days.

Texas also has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. A person younger than 21 can be charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) upon a finding of any amount of drugs or alcohol in their system. The phrases DUI and DWI are often used interchangeably by non-experts, even though DUIs are actually only levied to minors.

How Can a DWI & DUI Attorney Help You?

If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI in TX, you may be wondering, “Is there a lawyer near me who can help?” Fortunately, an experienced DUI defense attorney can likely assist you with your case.

There are many possible defenses depending on the circumstances of one’s arrest.  The best lawyer will identify possible errors in your arrest, the testing of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and the admissibility of any evidence or statements at trial. A knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer can also provide advice regarding plea negotiations, how to avoid the additional penalties associated with pleading guilty, and what sentencing is likely based on your unique circumstances. Further, a DUI lawyer can discuss with you your options for having your driver’s license restored.

It is important to contact a DUI attorney and obtain legal representation as soon as possible after being charged. A DUI defense attorney can help you identify your options and, if necessary, investigate the case to provide you with a strong defense. If you need advice from a lawyer for DUI and DWI in Texas, please contact our law firm.

(866) 691-5299