Driving requires focus and alertness. Those who choose to get behind the wheel must keep themselves sober so that their senses and reflexes are not compromised. Millions have already perished due to intoxication while driving.
In fact, it has been estimated that three injuries or deaths occur every hour because of drunk driving within Texas. The state has passed laws to discourage this dangerous behavior, including the offence called “driving while intoxicated.”
The particulars of DWI can be found in Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. This covers persons who are operating a motor vehicle within a public space. If you’ve run into trouble with Texas DWI laws, the attorneys here https://www.criminallawyerfortworthtx.com/ can help you.
What Is Intoxication?
Before anything else, we must first clarify the meaning of intoxication. Simply having alcohol in your system is not enough to establish this. The law provides authorities with two ways of determining whether an individual is indeed intoxicated. One is quantitative while the other is qualitative.
First, they may test the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) using any reliable tool and see if the reading is greater than or equal to .08 percent. Anything that exceeds this upper limit is too much. Even if the motorist looks outwardly fine, he or she can still be charged with DWI.
Second, they may try to observe the person closely to check whether he or she still has full control of physical and mental faculties. Sometimes those apprehended are asked to count forwards and backwards, walk in a straight line, or do other simple tasks that a normal sober person would have no problems with.
Those with BAC reading lower than .08 percent but exhibiting signs of intoxication can still be charged with DWI. Alcohol tolerance can be affected by age, gender, body weight, and volume consumed. Note that impairment due to drug consumption may also lead to an arrest.
DWI with a Child Passenger
Motorists are expected to behave in a responsible manner so as not to endanger themselves, their passengers, and the public. If they are caught driving while intoxicated with a child as one of their passengers, then they will be heavily penalized for putting that person’s life in peril.
A child in this case is defined as being younger than fifteen years old. Those who are found guilty may be fined up to $10,000 and have their license suspended for as long as 180 days. The judge may also send them to jail depending on the gravity of the situation. They could spend up to two years behind bars.
Regular DWI Penalties by Offense
The penalties for drunk driving get progressively harsher as the number of DWI offenses on record climbs higher. Note that even first offenders face serious consequences for their actions. They could be fined up to $2,000, have their license suspended for up to one year, spend between three days and six months in jail, and pay a hefty annual fee for three years if they wish to retain their drivers license. A DWI defense attorney in Fort Worth, Texas, may be able to appeal the case and lower the penalties significantly if the person has no other records.
The second time it happens, the judge will not be as kind. Repeat offenders will face steeper penalties across the board. The fine has been bumped up to a maximum of $4,000, the license suspension lengthened up to two years, and the jail term increased to a minimum of one month to a maximum of one year.
For the third offense, the law prescribes a full $10,000 fine, a two-year license suspension, and thousands of dollars in annual fees for three years to retain the license. The prison sentence will not be shorter than two years. The longest will be ten years. Texas DWI laws also prescribe the installation of an ignition interlock device for those with two or more convictions within five years.
The Difference between DWI and DUI
In the state of Texas, DWI and DUI have different legal definitions. The first has already been discussed above. As for the second, the relevant law is the Alcoholic Beverage Code in which Section 106.041 states that it is not legal for minors to drive in public while there is a detectable amount of alcohol in their bodies.
The offense is called driving under the influence (DUI) and it is used specifically for minors. Whereas DWI is considered up to a state jail felony depending on number of offense, DUI is merely a Class C misdemeanor with far lower punishments. Those proven to have broken the law will have to undergo an alcohol awareness course, perform community service, and pay up to $500 as a fine. Their license may also be suspended.
As with DWI, a Texas attorney who handles DUI cases can help to get the charge dismissed.