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Driving and Alcohol: What Are the Charges I Can Face in Texas?

Posted on in DWI

Pleasanton driving while intoxicated defense attorney

Everyone has heard of the dangerous consequences that can result from drinking and driving, and sometimes, the warnings about its dangers may start to seem dramatized. However, the potential physical and legal consequences of driving intoxicated should be warning enough. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol approximately every 20 minutes in Texas. Not only do drunk drivers put themselves at risk, but they also place other drivers and pedestrians in danger. There are different charges that Texans can face when mixing driving and alcohol, and it is important to understand the laws to avoid criminal consequences.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

The most well known and common charge related to alcohol use is driving while intoxicated, or DWI. In Texas, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08. In other words, once that level of alcohol consumption is reached, the individual is considered legally intoxicated. While this charge may seem fairly straightforward, there are additional details that some may not know about. Texas law defines this offense as “operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” The term “operating” includes more than just driving. If you are sitting in the driver’s seat while intoxicated, and the car is running, you can still be charged with a DWI. Because you were technically operating the vehicle, the charge remains the same, even if the vehicle was not moving.

First offenders can be fined up to $2,000, they will spend 3 to 180 days in confinement, they will lose their driver’s license for up to a year, and they will be required to pay an annual fee of $1,000 to $2,000 for three years to retain their license. If convicted of a second offense, a person can face up to a $4,000 fine, one month to a year in prison, loss of their driver’s license for up to two years, and annual fees of $1,000 to $2,000 for three years. The penalties increase for third or subsequent offenses.

Driving Intoxicated With an Open Container

For obvious reasons, no one can drive with an open alcoholic container in his or her vehicle. Whether you are the one drinking it or simply have it in the back of the car, it is illegal. Driving while intoxicated with an open container is a Class B misdemeanor. This means that those found guilty can face up to 180 days in confinement and $2,000 in fines.

Driving Intoxicated With a Child Passenger

Having a child in the car while driving under the influence is a very serious crime. The driver directly places the child at risk. The legal definition of a “child” in this situation is slightly different than for a typical minor, and it applies if a passenger is under the age of 15. In these cases, a DWI will be charged as a state jail felony, and motorists convicted of this offense will face 180 days to two years in confinement and up to $10,000 in fines.

Contact a Karnes City DWI Defense Lawyer

DWI penalties in Texas are some of the harshest in the country, and these laws are meant to prevent individuals from endangering others by driving while intoxicated. However, people make mistakes, and just one lapse in judgment can greatly impact your daily life and financial security. At Barrera, Cavazos & Powers, we understand how a DWI conviction can alter your life, and we can help lower or possibly dismiss your charges altogether. We have over 40 years of combined legal experience, providing you with a variety of exceptional criminal defense strategies. If you are facing charges involving driving while intoxicated, contact our Floresville criminal defense attorneys at 830-769-1010 for help.

 

Sources:

https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/traffic/safety/sober-safe/intoxication.html

https://www.tabc.state.tx.us/enforcement/driving_while_intoxicated.asp

https://texaspolitics.utexas.edu/archive/html/just/features/0201_01/crimeandp.html

 

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