DWI – Penalties
DWI & DUI Defense in Houston: Brazoria, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris & Montgomery Counties
In Texas, a driver who operates a motorized vehicle in a public place while intoxicated may be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Suspects who have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 are also legally intoxicated and may face a DWI.
In many states, DWI and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are interchangeable. In Texas, however, a DUI charge is based on the state’s “zero tolerance” of underage alcohol consumption. Any individual under the age of 21 who operates a motorized vehicle in a public place with any detectable blood alcohol concentration can be charged with a DUI.
DWI and DUI Punishments
Potential punishments for DWI and DUI are dependent upon a number of factors, including the defendant’s age, the number of the defendant’s offenses, and the amount of evidence against the defendant.
Usually, an individual with a first-time DWI conviction faces a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by 72 hours to six months of jail time, a license suspension between 90 days and one year, and fines up to $2,000, but the penalties increase dramatically for a blood alcohol concentration of .015, as well as each additional DWI conviction. For a second offense, an individual will serve 30 days to one year of jail time, have a license suspended between six months and two years, and be fined up to $4,000. For a third offense, a defendant faces two to 10 years of prison time, a license suspension for six months to two years, and up to $10,000 in fines.
Additionally, any individual charged with driving while intoxicated with a passenger 15 years or younger in the vehicle faces 180 days to two years of state jail time and fines up to $10,000.
In contrast, a suspect facing a first-time DUI faces only a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum of 20 hours of community service and a fine of $500.
DWI Defense Strategies
Suspects who understand their legal rights can better prepare their defense. An individual can refuse to take the breathalyzer and blood tests. Although refusal to submit to testing can lead to the suspension of driving privileges for 180 days, without evidence it is much more difficult for a prosecutor to convict a defendant. Additionally, a suspect has the right to refuse to answer any incriminating questions.
Most importantly, DWI cases are time-sensitive. Individuals must request a hearing within 15 days of the incident, so seek immediate assistance from an experienced DWI attorney such as Greg Tsioros.
Call the Law Office of Greg Tsioros at (832) 752-5972 for expert legal assistance.
**Recent Updates to Texas DWI Law**
New circumstances in which officers can forcibly take blood WITHOUT A WARRANT:
- accident with mere bodily injury or other person transported to hospital
- arrest for DWI with child passenger
- if officer has reliable information the offense can be prosecuted as a felony
Take the first step to putting your legal matters behind you.