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Driving while impaired? You could face serious penalties

Driving while intoxicated is a big deal in Texas. Though it may not be taken as seriously in some other states, driving while drunk can land you serious fines and penalties in Texas.

The Texas Department of Transportation has made it easy for people to find out about the charges and penalties they could face if they choose to drive while impaired. For instance, did you know that you could be fined up to $10,000 if you're caught drinking and driving with a minor age 15 or younger in your vehicle?

Of course, fines aren't the only penalties you would face for driving with a minor. You could go to jail for up to two years and lose your license, too.

That's just one circumstance that could take place, showing you how serious penalties can be for DWIs.

Texas DWI laws: When you're over .08%

While you don't need to be over .08% to face a DWI, it's the usual cut-off for a DWI needing no further evidence of intoxication. If you have a BAC of .08% or higher, you can be immediately arrested and charged.

If your BAC is over .08% and this is your first offense, you can expect:

  • Fines as high as $2,000
  • At least three days in jail and up to 180 days, depending on the circumstances
  • To lose your license for up to a year

Second offenses come with even more serious penalties including:

  • Fines that may be as high as $4,000
  • The loss of your license for up to two years
  • Imprisonment for up to a year (usually a month minimum).

Did you know that a second offense also comes with the requirement that you have an ignition interlock device added to your vehicle? This only applies if your two convictions happen within five years of each other, but it's important to note this, since these can be expensive devices to install.

In 2019, additional fines were added to the penalties above. First DWI started to receive penalties of an additional $3,000, and second DWIs can be charged up to $4,500 additional if they had a subsequent DWI in the last 36 months. Drivers also face fines of up to $6,000 if they had a BAC of .15% or higher at the time of the arrest.

If you're facing these heavy fines and penalties, it's time to defend yourself. A good defense could help minimize the penalties that you face.

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