DWI Lawyers in Pearland Representing Clients Facing a DWI ChargeNo matter what you call it, getting a DWI (Driving While Impaired) and DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is a serious situation with profound impacts on the lives of those facing charges. Learn how DWIs work in Texas and what an attorney can do to help you fight back.
What Is Considered a DWI in Texas?In Texas, a person is considered to be under the influence when their BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is 0.08% or higher. Anyone who has a BAC of 0.08% or higher and is driving a motor vehicle may be charged with a DWI and may face significant penalties. In addition, anyone under the age of 21 is not allowed to have any percentage of alcohol in their blood, and having as little as 0.01% BAC could potentially mean a DWI charge. Ingesting illegal or controlled substances that impair your ability to control a vehicle can also result in a DWI, even if you did not consume any alcohol. For example, smoking marijuana or taking certain controlled prescription medications that can affect your driving is considered illegal and just as dangerous as ingesting excessive amounts of alcohol. Minors may also be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The law does not require much by way of proof; an officer can simply smell it on your breath, or ask you to perform a sobriety test. Considering this, it is best to practice your right of remaining silent, until you get in touch with an attorney.
Can You Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test in Texas?One of the many ways law enforcement uses to prove that someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol is by conducting a breathalyzer test. Texas has an implied consent law in which every driver agrees to submit to blood and breath testing upon a DWI arrest, and this consent is given whenever someone obtains a driver’s license in the state. You may refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but your refusal may or may not result in penalties. If you have not been arrested and refuse a breathalyzer test, you could potentially face a license suspension. This is different from refusing a field sobriety test – you can politely refuse a field sobriety test without any penalties, but that does not necessarily mean the law enforcement officer will not arrest you if they believe they have enough evidence showing you may be intoxicated.
What Are the Penalties for a DWI in Texas?The severity of penalties for a DWI varies depending on whether you have any prior DWI charges and can be aggravated if you were transporting any passengers under the age of 15 while under the influence. For example, a first-time DWI offender may face a fine of up to $2000 as well as a license suspension and up to 180 days in jail after being convicted. For a second DWI, the fine increases to as much as $4000, along with up to a year in jail, in addition to a license suspension that can last for as long as two years. A third offense may result in a fine of up to $10,000, two to ten years in prison, and a license suspension of up to two years. These penalties can be aggravated if you caused an accident that resulted in someone else getting hurt or killed, but even a first-time DWI conviction can affect many areas of your life for years to come, such as your ability to obtain employment or pass a background check. If your BAC is over 0.08 or the officer believes you are intoxicated based on field sobriety tests, you may be charged with DWI, which carries stiff penalties. A first offense carries the following penalties:
- A maximum fine of $2000.
- A minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 180 days of jail time.
- Driver license suspension between 90 days to 1 year.