DWI – Driving while Intoxicated

Driving While Intoxicated / Driving Under the Influence

Driving while Intoxicated (DWI/DUI)

Being pulled over and charged with Driving while Intoxicated (DWI/DUI) can be a very stressful and problematic situation for anyone. Not only do you have to deal with the embarrassment with family but you may also face consequences with work and your insurance company. In Texas DWI law is found in the Texas Penal Code under Chapter 49. The term intoxicated is defined as the following:

  • Not having the normal use of your mental and physical faculties due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol; and/or
  • Having a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .08 percent or more.

For a police officer to arrest you, they must believe they have “probable cause” that you are intoxicated. However for the court to convict you, they must prove you were intoxicated “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Proving “beyond a reasonable doubt” is much harder than just “probable cause”. The officer will most likely administer National Field Sobriety Tests (NFTS) at the scene of the incident. These tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, Walk and Turn and the One Legged Stand. The purpose of these tests is so that the officer can notice signs of intoxication. However these tests can be unreliable if administered incorrectly. One important thing to know is that these tests are voluntary and you do not have to perform them. However, if you do not perform them the officer will arrest you and get a warrant for your blood. They will examine your blood to determine whether your BAC is over .08. However these tests can also be unreliable if not performed correctly or if the judge didn’t sign a warrant for your blood.

It’s important to get a lawyer who knows how to examine DWI cases and fight them. If the State of Texas will try to use tests and science to prove you were intoxicated, it’s important to get a lawyer who can expose the unreliability of those tests. If you or a loved one is in trouble and accused of a DWI. Contact us and schedule a consultation. We would be happy to walk you through the steps and how we can help you.

DWI Punishment Range:

Conviction

Offense Level

Maximum Fine

Jail Range

License Suspension

1st DWI and BWI Class B Misdemeanor Up to $2,000 72 hours to 180 days 90 to 365 days
1st DWI and BWI with Blood or Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at or over .15 Class A Misdemeanor Up to $4,000 72 hours to 1 year in the county jail 90 to 365 days
1st DWI with Open Container Enhancement Class B Misdemeanor Up to $2,000 6 days to 180 days in the county jail 90 days to 365 days
2nd DWI and BWI Class A Misdemeanor Up to $4,000 30 to 365 days 180 days to

2 years

3rd DWI and BWI 3rd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) 180 days to

2 years

3rd or more DWI and BWI with 1 prior TDCJ penitentiary trip Punished as a 2nd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 20 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Up to

2 years

3rd or more DWI and BWI with 2 prior TDCJ penitentiary trips Enhanced Felony Punishment Up to $10,000 25 years to life in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Up to

2 years

Intoxication Assault – DWI that Causes Serious Bodily Injury 3rd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) 180 days to

2 years

Intoxication Manslaughter – DWI that Causes Death 2nd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Corrections (TDCJ) 180 days to

2 years

DWI with child passenger – Child Younger than 15 Years of Age State Jail Felony Up to $10,000 6 months to 2 years in a State Jail Facility 90 days to 2 years

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