The Potential Risks Of Drinking And Driving

In Texas, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense. Law enforcement officers actively seek out DWI arrests and prosecutors harshly punish those convicted of drinking and driving. If you are charged with a DWI, you need an aggressive advocate to help you fight the charge.

Testing For More Than BAC

Under the Texas Penal Code, law enforcement may consider a person intoxicated if:

  • The person does not have normal use of physical or mental faculties from the use of alcohol, a controlled substance, drugs or the combination of substances.
  • The person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.

Law enforcement may test a driver's BAC using a breath, blood or urine test. It is important to note that a driver could be arrested for a drunk driving with a BAC below .08 if they demonstrate a lack of mental or physical abilities.

Penalties Of A DWI Conviction

After a DWI arrest, you may have concerns about losing your license and the impact on your job. For commercial drivers and licensed professionals, a DWI can jeopardize your career. Penalties for a DWI charge increase based on any prior convictions and aggravating circumstances.

Texas classifies a first-time DWI as a Class B misdemeanor. Penalties include:

  • Fines of up to $2,000
  • Jail time ranging from 72 hours to 180 days
  • Loss of driving privileges for 90 days to one year

A second DWI or a first DWI with a BAC of .15 or higher are classified as Class A misdemeanors. Drivers face:

  • Fines of up to $4,000
  • Jail time ranging from 30 days to one year
  • Loss of driving privileges for 180 days to two years

A third or subsequent DWI is a third-degree felony. Penalties include:

  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • Incarceration for two to 10 years
  • Loss of driving privileges for 180 days to two years

Following a DWI conviction at any level, drivers may need to pay an annual surcharge for three years, attend a DWI education or intervention course, a victim impact panel, potential substance abuse treatment, and may require an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

Administrative License Revocation

Individuals arrested for DWI or boating while intoxicated (BWI) who refuse to take or fail a blood or breath test will be subject to the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program. The ALR program is a civil process unrelated to the criminal charges used to suspend your driving privileges. Suspension can last from 90 days to two years, but for commercial license holders the suspension will automatically last one year.

Let Us Help You Keep Your License

To minimize the adverse effects of a DWI charge, work with a skilled defense lawyer. To learn more about your options, call our office at 972-914-9601 or send us an email. From our offices in Plano, our attorneys serve clients charged with a DWI throughout Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County and Tarrant County.