Texas DWI Basics

Are you facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Texas for the first time? If so, you probably have a lot of questions and reasonably so. Though most first DWIs are misdemeanors, we must remember that DWI is a serious offense involving harsh penalties. If convicted, you will have a DWI on your driving record and you will have a criminal record. As you can imagine, criminal records are not good – they can haunt you for years to come. In other words, you will pay for the DWI for a long time.

Here is what you NEED to know about a Texas DWI:

1. It’s illegal to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits the offense of DWI if he or she drives while “intoxicated” in a public place. “Intoxicated” refers to being under the influence of a controlled substance, including prescription medication, or alcohol.

2. You can get a DWI with a low blood alcohol content.
It is illegal in all 50 states to operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more. However, a driver can be intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, regardless of their BAC. This means that you can be arrested for DWI, even if your BAC was below the .08% legal limit.

3. DWI with a child passenger is a separate crime.
It’s against Texas law to get a DWI with a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle. If you are caught, you can be charged with child endangerment and face up to a $10,000 fine, up to two years in jail, and a six-month driver’s license suspension – all in addition to your DWI charges and penalties.

4. DWI is reported on your criminal record indefinitely.
If you are convicted of DWI, it will be reported on your criminal record indefinitely. This means that it will come up on employer background checks for decades, if the not the rest of your life. Can you afford this to happen?

5. DWIs are typically misdemeanors.
In Texas, most first and second DWI offenses are misdemeanors, with third DWI offenses being felonies. A first or second DWI can be prosecuted as a felony if someone else was seriously injured or killed as a result of the drunk or drugged driving incident.

6. DWI convictions are expensive.
The penalties for a simple first DWI without aggravating factors include: a maximum fine of $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, up to a one year license suspension, and an annual fee up to $2,000 for three years to keep your driver license.

We sincerely hope this information helps you better understand what you’re up against. To fight your DWI charges in Plano, Dallas or Fort Worth, contact our firm today.

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