Driving while under the influence is a misdemeanor in Texas, but it still comes with serious penalties.
Even though the law prohibits drinking and driving, many people still do it anyway. They may not want to call an Uber. They may think they are fine to drive.
That is until they are pulled over by police. A driver is legally intoxicated in Texas when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above 0.08. However, a driver can also get hit with a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge if their BAC is lower but their driving is affected by alcohol consumption.
Drinking and driving is a serious issue that can affect your life as well as the lives of others, especially if you get into a serious crash. A DWI charge may be just a misdemeanor but it comes with serious penalties that can affect you in many ways.
Even for a first offense, the penalties for a DWI are harsh. While a DWI is typically a Class B misdemeanor, if the driver’s BAC is at 0.15 or higher, the driver will be charged with a class A misdemeanor as a first offense.
You could face a fine of up to $2,000 and lose your driver’s license for up to one year. If you fail or refuse to take a blood or breath test, your driver's license will typically be confiscated on the spot. You will also face jail time. The mandatory minimum is three days in jail, but you could spend up to 180 days behind bars. Upon sentencing, you could also face state fines of $3,000 to $6,000.
If you are accused of drinking and driving and you have a child passenger in the vehicle at the time, you will face additional penalties. If the child is under the age of 15, you will face a child endangerment charge, which is a felony. You will face an additional fine of $10,000. You will also face two years of jail time as well as a loss of your driver’s license for 180 days.
Subsequent convictions are much more severe, so avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs if possible. Fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension times all increase dramatically.
On top of all that, you cannot get rid of these convictions. In Texas, DWI convictions generally stay on your criminal record forever, which means they will always count as prior convictions. This can affect your employment.
Contact Our Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Many drivers do not think about the criminal aspects of drinking and driving while they are under the influence, but they need to be aware that they can face strict penalties.
Do not fight your DWI charge alone. The Austin criminal defense lawyers at Granger and Mueller PC can provide you with the representation you need after a DWI arrest. Schedule a consultation with our office by filling out the online form or calling (512) 474-9999.