In Texas, a driver is over the legal limit for intoxication if his or her BAC (blood alcohol content) is .08 percent or higher. However, if a prosecutor can prove that the driver did not have normal use of his or her physical and/or mental faculties, the driver may be convicted of DWI (driving while intoxicated).
You should contact a DWI defense attorney as soon as possible if you have recently been arrested for drunk driving in Texas. DWI law is extremely complicated, and the penalties are harsh. Jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension are all very real possibilities that will affect the rest of your life.
If you have been pulled over for DWI, you were probably asked to take a breath test. This test is used to determine your BAC. If you refuse to take this test, you face an automatic driver’s license suspension for 180 days. This is due to “implied consent” laws. When you signed the documents to receive your license, you agreed to take a breath test if pulled over and asked by a police officer.
The penalties for a DWI depend on the number of prior DWI convictions you have on your record.
If this is your first offense, you will face at least 72 hours in jail, with 180 days being the maximum. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days to 1 year in jail, and you will face up to a $2,000 fine.
For a second offense, you face between 30 days and 1 year in jail. Your license will be suspended for at least 180 days, and you face fines of up to $4,000.
For a third offense, you will spend between 2 and 10 years in a penitentiary. Your license will be suspended for at least 180 days, and you will pay up to $10,000 in fines.
Texas also has “Zero Tolerance” laws. These laws make it illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to possess alcohol or drive with any alcohol in their system.
If you are under the age of 21 and are convicted for DWI, you face up to $500 in fines, a 60-day driver’s license suspension, 20 to 40 hours of community service, and mandatory alcohol awareness classes.