A DUI is a serious offense in Texas. It can result in license revocation, hefty fines, and possible jail time.
However, the consequences do not end there.
A person who has a DWI on his or her record may:
- Have a hard time finding gainful employment in the future, or
- May experience a drastic hike in his or her car insurance rates.
Depending on how many points that person already has on his or her record, the lasting consequences may be far more severe.
If you face DUI or DWI charges, your legal troubles are not over. In fact, they are only just beginning.
The DWI conviction process is full of technicalities and legal proceedings. How you choose to approach this process can significantly affect the outcome.
To have a chance at the best possible outcome, you should hire an expert Texas criminal defense lawyer. They can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
Call The Law Office of Simer & Tetens to learn more about how we can help you at this difficult point in your life.
What Constitutes Driving Under the Influence in Texas?
While driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all 50 states, each state defines a DWI slightly differently.
In Texas, the requirements for a DUI conviction are actually slightly less stringent than that of other states. In this way, they favor the defendant.
According to the Texas Penal Code Title 10, Chapter 49, a person is considered legally intoxicated if he or she meets the two following requirements:
- He or she has a BAC of .08 percent or more; and
- He or she does not have normal use of his or her physical and mental faculties as a result of the consumption of drugs or alcohol.
For certain drivers, such as those who are 21 years or younger or who are commercial drivers, the legal limit is much lower.
For instance, those who are 21 years or younger cannot have any alcohol in their systems. Commercial drivers cannot have a BAC of higher than .04 percent.
How Do Police Officers “Prove” Intoxication?
When an officer investigates a driver suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she may use a variety of methods to collect evidence of impairment or intoxication.
The most standard methods involve using a portable breathalyzer to check a driver’s BAC and asking the driver to perform a field sobriety test. Though these tests have a reputation of being faulty in a number of ways, the results are usually sufficient enough for the officer to make an arrest.
Bear in mind that the officer can arrest a driver regardless of the result of the field sobriety or breath tests. The officer had enough probable cause for arrest as soon as he or she saw the driver swerve, run a red light, or perform some other blatantly illegal maneuver.
The officer can also use additional observations to determine whether or not a driver is intoxicated. Those may include observing the driver’s appearance and behavior, detecting the presence or odor of alcohol, and taking into consideration other present factors.
What Are the Consequences of a DUI Conviction?
The consequences of a DUI conviction vary based on a number of factors.
For instance, a first time offender who is of age and who has a BAC of .08 at the time of arrest may be fined up to $2,000 and spend anywhere between 72 hours and 180 days in jail.
However, a minor who blows the same BAC may face additional penalties, such as probation, loss of the right to drive, mandatory enrollment in an alcohol education course, and the installation of an interlock ignition device.
Age is not the only factor that a judge will consider. He or she will also take into consideration the following:
- The driver’s BAC;
- Whether or not the driver caused any accidents, injuries, or fatalities;
- Whether or not the driver had a child in the car with him or her at the time of arrest; and
- How many prior DWI convictions the person has; and
- Whether or not the driver refused to participate in the DWI test.
Penalties for a DWI or DUI can range from $2,000 in fines and just a day or two in jail to up to $10,000 in fines and up to two years in jail, depending on the circumstances surrounding a person’s arrest.
Penalties are also likely to include probation, license suspension or revocation, community service, interlock ignition device, and mandatory enrollment in an alcohol education class.
Your Defense to a DWI in Texas
At The Law Office of Simer & Tetens, our Waco DWI attorneys have helped countless individuals fight DWI charges and either have them reduced or dismissed entirely.
Some defenses that we have used to help our clients include the following:
- Improper stop;
- Improper BAC samples;
- Failure for the arresting officer to adhere to field sobriety test protocol;
- Failure for the arresting officer to read you your Miranda Rights;
- Medical conditions;
- Violation of arrest procedures; and
- Inappropriately talking with the defendant.
Just because you were arrested for a DUI does not mean that a conviction is guaranteed.
Do You Have Questions About Your Case? Contact A Texas DUI Attorney
There are several defenses to DUI charges in Texas, each of which an experienced Waco DUI attorney can explain to you in depth.