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Driving While Intoxicated: A Basic Overview

Updated: Jul 9, 2023 @ 2:37 pm

Less than 1 minute Reading Time: Minutes

Deadly or crippling crash accidents that involve alcohol happen around every 20 minutes in Texas. It is imperative that drivers take responsibility for their actions, and not drink and drive. The first drink might not seem like much, but impairment starts with it.

Your body’s ability to handle alcohol is affected by a variety of factors including body weight, gender, the amount of food you’ve eaten and the number of drinks you’ve consumed. Keep all of these in mind. Smaller and younger people, and women generally need a relatively smaller amount of alcohol to become impaired by it. Keep all of these factors in mind. If you’re going to get drunk, have a designated driver take you home.

What Does the Law Say About DWI?

In Texas cities like Houston, Galveston and League City, a person is legally intoxicated if their breath alcohol concentration is .08 or higher, and may be arrested and charged with DWI. A person will also be regarded as intoxicated if they’re impaired because of alcohol or other drugs, not considering the BAC. In Texas, you can be fined up to $500 if you have an open alcohol container in your vehicle, whether you’re the passenger or driver.

The Punishment for DWI

Houston DWI Attorney Tad NelsonRemember, if you’re stopped for drunk driving, be ready to show your driver license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. A refusal to take a breath or blood test will immediately lead to your driver license being automatically suspended for 180 days.

The punishment for DWI largely depends on the number of convictions. So if it’s the person’s first offense, they can get slapped with a fine of up to $2,000, three to 180 days in jail, loss of driver license up to a year or an annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years in order to retain driver license.

A second offense entails harsher punishments, such as a fine of up to $4,000, a month to a year in jail, loss of driver license up to two years, and an annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years in order to retain driver license.

Punishment for the third offense takes the form of a $10,000 fine, two to ten years in jail, loss of driver license up to two years and annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license.

Child Passenger

If you were driving while intoxicated with a child passenger younger than 15 years in the car, you could be charged with child endangerment. A conviction could lead to punishment in the form of a fine of up to $10,000, up to 2 years in a state jail, and loss of your driver license for 180 days.

As you can see, the punishment for a DWI conviction can be extremely harsh, so make sure to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in such a case.

The Law Office of Tad Nelson & Associates

Houston • Clear Lake • Galveston • League City

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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