If you’re caught operating a vehicle of any kind while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the great state of Texas, you could face serious consequences.
There are two offenses to be aware of in Texas: Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). While both of these offenses sound similar, there are some differences about each one that makes them unique.
Have you been caught drinking and driving in Texas? If so, we’re here to help.
Read on to learn what you should know if you’re charged with a DUI in Texas!
What Constitutes as a DUI in Texas?
A DUI in Texas is a Class C Misdemeanor. If a crime is classified as a Class C Misdemeanor, it means that you won’t receive any jail time as a punishment by the courts of law. It also means that your punishment won’t include a fine of more than $500 dollars.
But, this only holds true if this is your first time to be charged with a crime. If it is your second or third offense, you could potentially face time in jail.
If a minor is involved in a traffic stop after consuming alcohol in Texas, they can be charged with a DUI.
In Texas, the law states that anyone under the age of 21 years old is not allowed to drink alcohol. If a minor is involved in a routine traffic stop after consuming alcohol in Texas, they can be charged with a DUI.
Even if the minor’s blood alcohol level is below the legal limit, .08%, they can still be charged with a crime if they are caught behind the wheel after they have consumed alcohol. It also doesn’t matter if the minor shows signs of drunkenness or appears to be mentally impaired from alcohol or drugs.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a person under the age of 21 years old can still be charged with a crime if they have consumed just one drop of alcohol.
What is a DWI in Texas?
A DUI is not the same thing as a DWI. In Texas, these are two separate crimes. There are different definitions for each of them, and they both have different outcomes.
If you’ve been charged with a drug or alcohol-related offense, it’s important that you understand what each of these terms mean, and the consequences for both of these crimes.
In Texas, you can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated if your blood, breath, or urine registers at a level of .08% alcohol or greater. Sometimes an officer can charge you with a DWI even if this is not the case, depending on the circumstances.
The minimum amount of jail time for driving while intoxicated is 72 hours. It’s also important to note that this crime is considered to be a Class B Misdemeanor. Class B Misdemeanors are more serious than Class C Misdemeanors, and they carry stricter penalties.
Along with jail time of up to 180 days, your punishment for a Class B Misdemeanor could include a fine of up to $2,000 dollars.
Whenever you are charged with a DWI in Texas, you risk losing your driver’s license for up to one whole year. This is true whether it is your first or second offense. If you are caught driving while intoxicated a third time, then you can lose your license for up to two years.
Second and Third Offenses
If you are charged with a DWI a second or third time, the penalties become even greater.
For your second offense, you could be charged with a fine of up to $4,000 dollars. This amount increases to up to $10,000 if you are charged with a third offense of driving while intoxicated in Texas.
If you are charged with driving while intoxicated a second time, you could face anywhere from one month to a year in jail. The third DWI offense? You’re facing anywhere from two to 10 years in prison.
Additional Circumstances to Consider
There are a couple of additional circumstances that can influence the consequences of your crime. These include drunk driving with a child passenger and Texas open container laws.
If you’re caught driving drunk with a child in the car who is under 15 years old, you can be fined an additional $10,000 dollars. And, even if it is your first offense, you could be sent to jail for up to two years. Again, you also can lose your license for up to 180 days for this offense.
Another thing to think about is Texas’s open container law. The open container law states that you commit a crime if you have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of a car that’s located on a public highway, street, road, or right-of-way.
In Texas, an open container charge is a Class B Misdemeanor.
Have You Been Charged With an Alcohol or Drug-Related Crime?
If you’re facing a DWI or DUI in Texas, or a similar drug or alcohol-related offense, then you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. When your freedom is at stake, it’s crucial that you have a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in the courtroom.
Alcohol and drug charges are serious, and they carry the possibility of severe penalties. But, a lawyer can often help present your case in the best possible light, resulting in a potentially reduced sentencing.
If you’ve been caught driving while intoxicated in Texas, don’t wait.
Contact us today to get in touch with our effective criminal defense team for legal representation that you can count on!