Understanding DWI charges in Plano

Plano area residents should become educated about the laws in Texas that govern drunk driving.

Most drivers in Plano and elsewhere in Texas, are aware that the state can impose very harsh consequences for drunk driving charges. People are frequently forced to spend time in a jail, pay extremely high fines and even lose the right to drive. These penalties can interfere with a defendant's ability to hold a job or even fully participate in family life.

Because the after-effects of a DWI arrest can last for years, it is important for all drivers to have a good understanding of the laws in this area.

More than intoxication

The Texas penal code makes it clear that it is not only drivers who are legally intoxicated that can be subject to harsh penalties. Driving with any alcoholic beverage container even partially opened or unsealed in a vehicle can also result in charges and associated consequences.

DWI penalties in Texas

Plano drivers will experience different levels of penalties for DWI convictions based upon the circumstances of their arrests. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, following are some of the basic parameters for these consequences:

  • A first drunk driving conviction will result in the loss of driving privileges for as long as 12 months. Courts can mandate jail time for up to 180 days and drivers may be fined as much as $2,000.
  • When convicted of a second drunk driving offense, a driver can lose the right to drive for as long as 24 months and spend up to one year in jail. Fines will increase to as much as $4,000. In addition, a second offense will add the required installation and use of an ignition interlock device. The expense of this is to be borne by the defendant.
  • A third DWI conviction will also see driving privileges lost for up to 24 months but jail time in these cases can be as long as 10 years. The financial penalties can skyrocket to $10,000.

If a person 20 years of age or younger is arrested for driving while intoxicated, a 12-month license suspension and potential order for participation in a substance education class can result.

Regardless of whether or not there are any prior offenses on record, it is common for drivers to have to pay an annual fee to the state after a DWI conviction. This fee is $2,000 each year and allows the person to continue to legally drive in the state of Texas.

Important steps after a DWI arrest

The time following a drunk driving arrest can be a challenging one. It is important at these moments that driver obtain experienced legal representation.

Keywords: drunk driving, arrest, penalties, DWI