Across the country, driving while intoxicated—commonly abbreviated to DWI—carries heavy consequences, both legal and not.
Under Texas law, DWI has two main definitions: having impaired mental and physical functions as a result of drug or alcohol consumption, or having a BAC (blood alcohol level) of at least 0.08%.
Texas holds a Zero Tolerance policy for minors; even the slightest detectable amount of alcohol could lead to an arrest.
The number of drinks needed to become intoxicated is not one size fits all; gender, height and weight are all factors in how quickly alcohol can incapacitate someone.
Avoiding a DWI is relatively simple. Asking a friend to be your designated driver would be one of the best options if drinking is on your agenda. However, if unexpected changes occur, services like Uber or Lyft can be easily utilized. You may even make overnight arrangements if you will be drinking at someone’s residence.
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be as careful as they should be on the road, particularly during times such as the holidays.
One way that police use to deter people from drinking and driving and possibly being involved in an accident is to charge them with driving while intoxicated (DWI). But what is a DWI? What do DWI laws in Houston Texas state? How can one avoid it? And what happens when a person is charged under the DWI laws in Houston Texas? These are some of the questions we look at in this post.
What is a DWI?
Legally speaking, a person can drink and drive provided that he does not push past a certain limit. When an individual drinks and their blood/breath alcohol levels reach the .08 limit, they can be charged with DWI in Houston, Texas. Similarly, a driver whose blood level has not reached this level, but who is intoxicated with drugs or alcohol to the point of having mental or physical impairment, can nevertheless rack up a DWI charge in Houston, TX. This stipulation especially applies to people who have had alcohol and driven home with child passengers.
How to avoid being charged under DWI Laws in Houston Texas
There are three main ways that residents of Texas can avoid spoiling their holidays by being charged with being intoxicated while driving. They are:
- Do not drink and drive
- If you do drink, have someone else drive you home. This could either be a designated driver from your party or a cab driver
- After drinking, stay where you are if it is a viable option. Most bars are situated close to motels or guest lodgings where you can spend the night
Sticking to these guidelines is the best way for individuals to prevent having a DWI in Houston Texas charge on their records. If, however, one is already charged with drinking while intoxicated, they can expect the following:
Repercussions of Drinking While Intoxicated in Houston, TX
The penalties for driving while intoxicated vary depending on how many times a person has been convicted of the offense, and the age of the passengers in the car with the driver at the time of apprehension.
Penalties as per Number of Convictions
- Fines: first-time offenders can be punished with a $2,000 fine; second-time offenders $4,000 and third-time offenders $10,000.
- Jail time: for first time offenders, jail time ranges can be up to 180 days in the county jail. Second-time offenders can get up to 1 year in the county jail.
- Loss of driving licenses: There are two ways you can lose your drivers’ license and one of those ways can cost you your drivers’ license for a one year period! The most urgent thing to remember is that if you are arrested, you MUST request an ALR hearing within 15 days of your arrest or your license will automatically be suspended.
- Driving license retainer fees: drivers convicted of DWI in Texas pay fees each year for three years to keep their driving licenses. The fee is $1,000 or $2,000 for those convicted for the first time, and $1,000, $1,500 and $2,000 for repeat offenders.
If a driver is charged with driving while intoxicated with passengers who are 15 years or younger in the car, they could be fined $10,000, jailed for two years in prison and/or not allowed to drive for 180 days.
Additionally, both the driver and passengers can be fined $500 if an open alcohol container is found in the car during the time of inspection.
Should you ever find yourself facing charges under DWI laws in Houston Texas, don’t hesitate to contact us at 713-517-7777. The Don E. McClure Jr. law firm deals with cases ranging from criminal ones to workman’s compensation disagreements. We offer sound legal advice and assistance to clients in or around the Houston, TX area.