Obviously, no one sets out to get arrested for drunk driving. Yet, approximately every 20 minutes, somewhere in Texas a person gets killed or injured in an alcohol-related collision.
Part of the problem is that consuming even a small amount of alcohol adversely affects judgment. After consuming just a single drink, a person gets impaired to some degree. Multiple factors influence the level of impairment that affects drinkers, including:
- Body weight
- Ability to handle alcohol
- Whether or not the individuals have eaten
- How much alcohol they consume
DWI penalties are harsh
For some, just a couple of beers consumed over the course of an hour can render them legally drunk. In general, younger drinkers, females and those with smaller body frames need to consume fewer drinks to get drunk.
Just as in the other 49 states, Texas considers people to be legally drunk when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .08 percent. At that point, they can be arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Both drivers and passengers, whether they’re sober or intoxicated, face $500 fines for possessing an open container of an alcoholic beverage in their vehicles.
It gets much worse if a driver racks up a DWI while children are in the vehicle. Drunken drivers also face charges of child endangerment when driving drunk with kids 14 and under in the car.
Jail time is a real possibility
Those convicted on the charges could spend as many as two years locked up in jail, lose their driving privileges for six months, and be fined as much as $10,000.
Don’t think that refusing a breath or blood alcohol test will get you off the hook, as you will face an automatic six-month suspension of your driver’s license here in Texas.
A first offense conviction brings anywhere from 72 hours behind bars to up to six months, loss of driving privileges for a year, up to $2,000 in fines, and annual fees for three years of $1,000-$2,000 in order to once again drive legally.
A second offense DWI conviction lands defendants in jail for a month to a year. They can lose their driving privileges for as long as two years and have to pay as much as $4,000 in fines. For the next three years, if they attempt to retain their driving privileges, the annual fees can also run up to $2,000.
A conviction on a third offense DWI brings 2 to ten years in prison, $10,000 fines, a two-year loss of driving privileges and the same annual fees to drive for three years, post-release.
Racking up more than one DWI conviction within any five-year period means that you have to install an ignition switch that will only start your car if you provide an alcohol-free breath sample.
It’s easier to avoid a DWI than to defend one. But if you are facing DWI charges in Texas, you should mount a stalwart defense as early as possible after your arrest in order to attempt to avoid conviction. Speak with an experienced DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible.