If you face a DWI charge in Texas, it means that the courts claim that you drove while intoxicated.
Before they charged you, the state took a measurement of your blood alcohol level, or BAC. This will determine whether you were too intoxicated to drive or not.
Texas has the following BAC limits:
- Drivers 21 years of age and older: 0.08%
- Commercial drivers: 0.04%
- Under 21 years of age: Any detectable level
So what happens when you get a DWI in Texas?
DWI Penalties in Texas
A DWI charge can have serious legal consequences. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, the penalties vary based on a number of different criteria. This critera include how many previous offenses you have in addition to when you were arrested.
Here is a look at some potential penalties for a DWI conviction:
- First DWI Charge
- Fines of up to $2,000, and
- Between three and 180 days in jail
- Your driver’s license may be suspended for up to two years
- You may be subject to an annual surcharge for three years to keep your license, which can be as high as $2,000
- And you may be required to attend a DWI education program and install an ignition interlock device.
- Second DWI Charge:
- Fines of up to $4,000 and a jail sentence of between one month and one year
- License suspension of up to two years
- An annual license surcharge of up to $2,000
- You may be required to attend DWI education program and install an ignition interlock device
- Third DWI Charge:
- Fines for third and subsequent DWI can be up to $10,000
- Prison sentence of between two and ten years
- Your license may be suspended for up to two years
- You could face a $2,000 annual drivers’ license surcharge
- And you may be required to attend a DWI intervention or education program and install an ignition interlock device
DWI that Causes Injury or Death
If you are involved in a DWI-related accident that caused injuries to another person, the consequences can be significantly higher. The Texas legislature has defined these as:
- DWI while a child under 15 years old was in the vehicle
- DWI assault
- DWI with manslaughter
These are subject to prosecution under different code sections. Intoxication assault is when you cause serious bodily harm, like damage that impairs a body part or causes serious and permanent disfigurement. This is charged as a 3rd degree felony. As its name suggests, intoxication manslaughter involves killing someone else while you were under the influence, which is charged as a 2nd-degree felony.
If you injured a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency personnel, or you caused a traumatic brain injury that resulted in a persistent vegetative state, these are considered enhanced offenses.
Refusing to Take Chemical Test
In Texas, the law regarding taking the blood alcohol test is implied consent. This means that if you drive, it’s implied that you have consented to having your BAC tested. If you refuse, you can face Administrative License Revocation (ALR), which is a separate suspension from one related to your criminal DWI charge.
Retaining a Waco Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a DWI, it’s important to contact a Waco criminal defense attorney right away. In many cases, a skilled attorney can get the charges reduced or dismissed entirely. Please contact the Law Office of Simer & Tetens to schedule a consultation. Let us prepare the best defense possible and minimize the potential legal consequences of your pending criminal charges.