If you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, you may already know that you can face substantial penalties in the event of a conviction. While it might not seem particularly serious to have “open container” charges added onto a DWI, it is critical to understand that an open container charge is different from a standalone DWI offense. In short, if you are convicted of a DWI with an open container violation, you will face enhanced penalties which include additional required jail time. In addition, the presence of an open container at the time of a DWI arrest may be used to prove that the motorist engaged in drunk driving.
Beyond the penalties of a conviction, you might also face additional consequences from a conviction once you have served your sentence that can affect your job and general well-being. Our Texas DWI defense attorneys want to provide you with more information about the consequences of a DWI with an open container.
Criminal Penalties Upon Conviction of a DWI with Open Container
If you are charged with and convicted of a DWI with an open container, you will face what the Texas Penal Code describes as enhanced penalties. Anyone who is convicted of a DWI with an open container will have a Class B misdemeanor conviction on their record, even with a first-time offense, and will be required to serve a minimum jail time of at least six days. The judge can ultimately sentence you up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
Consequences Beyond Jail Time and Monetary Fine
Once you serve a sentence for a DWI with an open container, you should bear in mind that you can face additional consequences to your livelihood. Indeed, a conviction of a DWI with an open container can prevent you from being eligible to be hired for any job that requires driving, and sometimes a conviction for a DWI-related offense can prevent a person from obtaining other types of jobs, too.
You Should Not Expect to Expunge Your DWI with Open Container Criminal Record
If you are assuming that your DWI with open container conviction will not follow you, it is important to know that Texas law does not allow DWI convictions of any sort to be expunged. While a relatively recent change to Texas law does allow some people with DWI convictions to seal their records, it is important to seek advice from a DWI defense lawyer about whether you could be eligible. Yet you should never assume record sealing is possible. To be sure, you should assume that a DWI with open container conviction might be able to prevent you from securing various forms of employment, and therefore affect your livelihood even after you have completed the terms of a sentence.
Contact a Texas DWI Defense Attorney for Assistance
If you are facing charges for a DWI with an open container, it is essential to have an aggressive Texas DWI defense lawyer on your side. An attorney at our firm can speak with you today about developing a defense strategy for your DWI with open container charges. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates to learn more about how we can assist you.