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10 Things to Know About DWI Laws, Penalties and Punishment in Texas

Being caught driving while intoxicated can have serious consequences if you’re convicted of the crime. Even if it is a first offense, your driver’s license can be suspended, you will be fined and possibly face jail time. Fortunately, by hiring an Austin DWI attorney to defend you, the charges could be reduced or dismissed. You should be aware of these 10 facts about DWI laws in Texas.

Fact One

You are deemed to be driving while intoxicated if you are driving after consuming alcohol or taking drugs and it impairs your mental and physical abilities.

Fact Two

You can also be charged with DWI if your blood alcohol concentration, BAC, is .08 or above. The BAC is tested either with a breathalyzer or by testing your urine or blood.

Fact Three

While you can legally refuse to take a field sobriety test or a chemical test, Texas is an implied consent state, which means if have a driver’s license and are operating a motor vehicle, your consent to taking a chemical test is implied. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, then your license can be suspended for at least 90 days and up to two years.

Fact Four

If your license is going to be suspended, the arresting officer must provide you with a statutory warning or a DIC-24 form.

Fact Five

You can ask for an ALR hearing dispute a suspension, but if you fail to do so with 15 days, your license will be suspended and it cannot be overturned.

Fact Six

A DWI conviction isn’t necessary to suspend your driver’s license as the DIC-24 can be issued if an officer only suspects you of being under the influence while driving.

Fact Seven

The first two convictions for a DWI are considered Class B and Class A misdemeanors, respectively. The penalties for the first conviction could include a fine of up to $2,000, three to 180 days in jail and a license suspension from 90 to 365 days. A second conviction increases the fine to $4,000, jailtime from 30 to 365 days and the license suspension up to two years.

Fact Eight

A third conviction is a 3rd degree felony with penalties including fines up to $10,000, two to 10 years in state prison and a license suspension up to two years.

Fact Nine

An exception to these penalties exists if there was a minor in the vehicle and you’re convicted of a DWI. Even a first conviction would be a state jail felony and penalties would include a maximum fine of $10,000, six months to two years in state jail and a license suspension of 90 days to two years.

Fact Ten

Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for minors caught drinking while intoxicated. If they have any detectable BAC and are convicted, the punishment could include monetary fines, probation, revocation of their driving rights, and enrollment in a mandatory alcohol education class.

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI, it’s important to seek representation from an experienced DWI attorney to defend you and prevent you from being convicted.


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