When Texans get together to hang out with friends, whether it’s having a few beers after work or watching a football game, they may not think twice about driving home afterwards. Unfortunately, the heavy hand of the law can come down hard on them if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Getting pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving is a very unpleasant experience, and in Texas, it can land you in jail on even a first offense. Even an individual who made an honest mistake by getting behind the wheel after some social drinking can encounter aggressive law enforcement that are intent on getting a conviction. For residents of North Texas who have gotten on the wrong side of the law, it makes sense to find out how to build a strong defense against DWI charges.
What are the penalties for a DWI in Texas?
Under Texas laws, a conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can result in jail time, stiff fines and driver restrictions even for a first offense. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08% for drivers who are 21 years of age and older, 0.04% for commercial drivers, and zero tolerance for underage drivers. Penalties and sentences include:
- First offence: Class B misdemeanor carrying jail sentence of up to 180 days, license suspension of up to a year and fines of as much as $2,000.
- Second offense: Class A misdemeanor carrying jail sentence of up to a year, license suspension of up to tow years and fines of up to $4,000.
- Third offense: Third degree felony carrying a prison sentence of two to ten years, license suspension of as much as two years and fines of up to $10,000.
A BAC of .15 or higher is also a Class A misdemeanor, and a DWI with a minor child in the car is also a felony. In addition, drivers who break implied consent laws by refusing to submit to a breath test will have their license suspended automatically.
How do I defend myself against DWI charges?
Law enforcement can be quick to judge the circumstances behind erratic or unusual driving habits, and officers are often seeking to meet their quotas when they pull you over. When building a solid defense against accusations of DWI, it is important to focus on the arresting officer to see if there were any irregularities in their procedure, if they informed you of your rights, or if they incorrectly administered the breath test.
If there is any doubt about the evidence obtained from a blood test or the way in which the situation was handled, it is possible to get some charges dropped or even have the case dismissed with skillful legal representation. Sometimes the best defense is a strong offense that will protect your rights and minimize the damaging effect of the charges.