It may be known to you that Texas is the ‘Law and Order’ state. This is a reputation that anyone can assure you the state did not come to lightly. Even with this reputation, Texans still commit drunk driving infractions a lot more than any other state.
Every other twenty minutes, there’s someone in Texas experiencing an alcohol-related fatality. The foundation for advancing alcohol responsibility estimated around 38.1% of vehicular deaths caused by alcohol and drinking infractions.
If all that being said doesn’t dissuade you from drinking, know that the Texan authorities are true to their reputation on drunk driving penalties.
If you run afoul of one of the state’s DWI regulations and you are arrested, an Austin DWI lawyer would be a great resource to you in that particular situation. An attorney specializing in DWI cases will use their experience and counsel to help you navigate the complexities of your arrest. This is the safest route to potentially reduce the crazy amount of penalties you face under the law.
There are six categories of DWI penalties to this effect;
- License suspension
- Prison time
- Ignition interlock devices
We’ll take a brief look into each of these penalties and show their finer points.
There’s an almost absolute chance that if you are arrested for driving drunk in Texas, you will lose your license for some time. Sometimes, the officer requires you to surrender the license upon arrest. You can keep your license in a situation like this only if you agree to provide a specimen of blood for the state to test your BAC (Blood Alcohol Level). If you are positive, the department of public safety sends a suspension notice and temporary permit to drive. When this happens, it is so very important that you contact an attorney. The attorney will guide you to understand the procedures and take the necessary steps.
The ensuing hearing doesn’t change the fact that your license would be suspended, but the presence of a lawyer would improve your chances of reducing the duration of the suspension. Your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest and your DWI history heavily determine your suspension period. In the case that you refused to provide a specimen of breath or blood, your suspension time will be different depending on your history.
In Texas Law, the fines for DWI violations are very high. The license suspension rules are also similarly applied here; your fines marginally increase as a repeat offender or with a higher BAC. The fines can be as high as $3,000 for a first DWI offense, even higher (up to $6,000) for second offenders, or 0.15 BAC. There have also been some legislative reforms that have repealed the compulsory surcharge assessment for a person convicted of DWI. This is great news for Texans all around and another reason to contact your lawyer for much-needed advice.
From a maximum of six-months to 72 hours of jail time, a first conviction for DWI in Texas can land an offender jail time. Likewise, second-time offenders face jail time ranging up to two years.
If your driving infraction led to an accident or serious harm, you would be charged with Intoxication assault. If someone is killed, you are charged with intoxication manslaughter. The first one’s a third-degree felony and the latter, a second-degree felony.
It becomes very much more likely you will spend time in prison if you are found guilty of either of these charges.
Ignition Interlock Devices
The second time you are convicted of a DWI, the state would require that you put an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle. With this device installed in your vehicle, you’ll need to pass a test (similar to the breathalyzer test) before it starts. These devices are costly to maintain and cannot be tampered with. Only through court orders can you legally remove these devices once installed. Violations involving the IID can lead to the permanent revocation of your license.
DWI probation has many associated tasks and costs that do not seem apparent in the name. in a DWI probation. You’ll be required to do certain things, pay certain fines, attend certain programs, participate in DWI education courses, etc.; all these depend on the level of offense (Misdemeanor or Felony).
Suffice to say, probation is a lot harder than most people think and can cost a decent person a lot to stay out of jail.
EFFECT OF DWI CONVICTIONS
Driving drunk is a very painfully expensive activity. If you get caught, there are all manners of consequences to face as a result. For instance, it won’t be easy to find a company willing to insure you. Your insurance rates would go up at least a third, and you will be considered a high-risk driver. Maintaining a clean driving record for a considerable period after that may bring your rates back down, but the DWI conviction will be on your record permanently.
These things add up if you have been paying attention in more ways than one. The law becomes murky waters for you once you are caught in a crime, but you can find some leeway with the right navigation. Hiring experienced Austin DWI lawyers slaps a goggle on you and leads you the least tolling chances.