DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in Houston TX is a criminal offense that could land a person in very serious legal consequences. Authorities are always on the lookout for people who violate the law and you could be surprised to know that even a few drinks can have you arrested for DWI. When arrested for DWI, contacting a competent DWI defense attorney is the first thing you should do because they will be able to help you reduce the consequences or even in some cases, have the charges dropped or dismissed.
What DWI means in Houston TX
While driving while intoxicated is illegal in the US, different states have different definitions and penalties for the offense. In Texas, DWI is defined as:
· Having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 % or more.
· If under 21 years, any detectable amount of alcohol is illegal.
· Commercial drivers are subjected to .04 % legal limit.
There is a variety of methods used to gather the evidence like measuring blood, urine or breath to determine the BAC or blood alcohol content. You should also note that probable cause indicating you are intoxicated will be enough for an arrest even without the BAC test. An officer can also determine if you are intoxicated using other sobriety tests, through the presence or an odor of alcohol and through your behavior and performance.
Minors – When it comes to DWI, anyone below the age of 21 is considered a minor and is prohibited from any level of DWI. For a first offence, a minor will face fines, losing the right to drive, probation, mandatory attendance of an alcohol education class, installation of ignition interlock device and community service. The charges increase with subsequent offences and could include jail time. An experience professional DWI defense attorney can help reduce the penalties.
Adults – Specific penalties depend on different factors but the number of past offences and the BAC level are usually the most relevant.
First charge – After the first charge, you could be fined as much as $2,000 and spend anywhere between three to 180 days in jail. The license could be suspended for up to two years or you could get an annual surcharge of as much as %2,000 in order to keep the license for three years. You might have to install an interlock device in the car and attend a DWI education or intervention class.
Second charge – For the second offence, the penalties significantly increase. The fines could be as much as $4,000 and the jail sentence anywhere from one month to one year. The license suspension could last as long as two years or have an annual surcharge of 2,000 for three years. You could be required to install the ignition interlock or have to attend a DWI education program.
Third charge – The fine could be as much as $10,000 and the prison suspension could be as long as 10 years in a state prison. The license could be suspended for two years or a surcharge of $2,000 for three years. You could be required to install an ignition interlock device or attend a DWI education or intervention program.
Driving while intoxicated charges with injuries or risk of injuries to others
Offenses that include injuries or risk of injuries include:
· Intoxication assault.
· DWI with a kid under 15 years in the vehicle.
· Intoxication manslaughter.
These have much more dire consequences and are prosecuted under different code sections.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways a competent DWI defense attorney can help you in DWI cases and mitigate the charges. The most effective way to be sure that your case will have a favorable outcome is by hiring a professional defense attorney as soon as possible after the arrest.