Drunk driving is a serious offense in the state of Texas. Here is a quick guide to the drunk driving laws in the Lone Star State.
The Lone Star State has a reputation for law and order.
After all, it is the home of the Texas Rangers, a legendary law enforcement group with a long and storied history older than the state itself. It also means that you can expect little leniency if you break the law, and this is most certainly the case with Texas' drunk driving laws.
Texas police and officials take a dim view of driving under the influence, and punishment for a drunk driving offense can be severe. So let's take a look at everything you need to know about the penalties for drunk driving in Texas.
First, we'll take a look at the definition and punishments for a DWI drunk driving offense in the Lone Star State.
According to the Texas penal code, DWI ("driving while intoxicated") is defined as when "the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place."
"Intoxication," however, is not restricted to alcoholic consumption. Under Texas law, it refers to the impairment of the mental or physical faculties through the introduction of any controlled substance, including drugs, to the body.
For drunk drivers, DWI is a punishable offense if the individual is at least 21 years of age and registers a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater. For a first-time offense, DWI constitutes a Class B misdemeanor. You'll spend at least a few days in jail, and your license will be suspended for anything from 90 days to one year.
For a second DWI offense, or if your blood alcohol content is 0.15 or greater, the charge is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction may mean jail time for up to one year. If you're foolish enough to commit a third DWI offense, it means a third-degree felony and up to 10 years in prison.
A DUI ("driving under the influence") charge differs from a DWI charge under Texas law on the basis of age.
In other words, individuals under the age of 21 who operate any motor vehicle, and have any amount of alcohol in their system, are subject to DUI charges. A first-time DUI offense is considered a Class C misdemeanor, and involves a $500 fine.
However, by the third DUI charge, it might be time to consider hiring a drunk driving attorney. The third offense becomes a Class B misdemeanor, and entails a fine of $2,000 and jail time up to 180 days for those over 18.
Have you or someone you love been injured due to the negligence of an intoxicated driver? In that case, you'll need the services of an experienced legal team familiar with the drunk driving laws of the state of Texas.
The car accident attorneys at Calhoun Meredith are passionate and dedicated to securing the most advantageous financial settlements for their clients. Don't hesitate to contact us today and let us help you find the justice you deserve.