Texas law treats those accused with Driving while intoxicated or “DWI” very harshly. We have all seen the signs: “Drink. Drive. Go To Jail.” Or “Over the limit under arrest.” However, it is not that simple. At The Major Law Firm we vigorously fight those who have been accused of DWI/DUI or intoxication manslaughter.
The legal alcohol limit in Texas is .08. First-offense DWI charges are usually filed as Class B Misdemeanors. Generally, the penalty for a first-offense DWI is a suspended license, a fine up to $2,000, and possibly a few days of jail time. A .15 BAC or higher enhances a DWI to a Class A misdemeanor, which has a fine up $4,000 and 1 year in jail.
The difference between DUI and DWI in Texas is determined by the driver’s age. If you are under 21 years old and you are caught with any alcohol in your system you will most likely face a DUI charge. Depending on your BAC level, a first-time offender will likely be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. A third time offender may be charged with either a class B misdemeanor or a third-degree felony.
DWI with a child passenger applies to anyone that is arrested for DWI with a child passenger in the vehicle. A child passenger is considered anyone over the age of 15. A DWI with a child in the car is a state jail felony. A state jail felony is punishable by 6 months to 2 years in a state jail facility. Your driver’s license can be suspended for up to 180 days and you receive fines up to $10,000. Additionally, Child Protective Services could get involved. Under the law, child endangerment is a situation where a child under 15 years of age faces injury, physical impairment or death.
The Texas DWI surcharge and all Texas DPS surcharges have been repealed. A massive Texas DWI surcharge is a potential consequence of an arrest for driving while intoxicated or intoxication manslaughter. Other potential consequences are jail time, licenses suspension, imposition of an interlock device, fines and penalties. On September 1, 2019, the Driver Responsibility Program was cancelled and repealed by H.B. 2048. However, now defendants convicted of DWI face a new fine schedule. The new schedule is as follows:
• $3,000 fee for a DWI first in a 36-month period
• $4,500 fee for a subsequent DWI in a 36-period
• $6,000 fee if the driver had a breath or blood alcohol content level over .15
Being arrested for a DWI is scary proposition. When you are arrested your car will searched and towed. When you are being arrested often officers do not read you your Miranda Rights. This is because officers are only required to read you your Miranda Rights if they plan on questioning you. But this does not mean that anything you say will not be used against you. Generally, the patrol car will have a camera in the back that is recording everything you say and do.
When you are arrested the officer will read you a statutory warning form and request a breath or blood sample. If you refuse to give a sample, the officer will get a warrant to get a sample. People often wonder if it is better to give a breath or blood sample. The science shows that the jury is more inclined to believe the science behind a blood test as opposed to the science behind a breath test. Also there is a chance that if a blood sample is taken other substances such as prescription drugs could show on the sample.
If you refuse a breathalyzer test, you are facing a potential 180 day driver’s license suspension which can be challenged in an ALR hearing. When you are arrested for DWI, the arresting officer will most likely take your license and you will be given a temporary license. After receiving your temporary license, you must request an ALR hearing within 15 days of arrest to contest your license suspension. Even if your license is suspended you can apply for a special type of license called an occupational license. An occupational license can be used to go to work or for going to school. An occupational license allows you to drive up to 12 hours a days with a limit of 60 hours per week.
DWI arrest may happen even when you are not actually intoxicated. Field sobriety test are unreliable because they do not check for all aspects of a person physical capabilities, such as astigmatism, diabetes or balance issues. At The Major Law Firm we will aggressively fight for you and defend you. We will keep you informed about your case’s status. We have the experience and a track record of success. Give us a call today. We are available 24/7 for free consultations.