If you live in Texas, you may be wondering what the legal alcohol limit is, and what your responsibilities are if you are caught driving under the influence. While the legal drinking age in Texas is 18, if you are found to be over the limit, you could face a DUI charge.
When Am I Legally Intoxicated?
It’s not often that you find yourself in a situation where you need to figure out how to tell if you are legally intoxicated. In some states, you are legally intoxicated if you drink at all. If you’re driving while intoxicated, you may not get into a car accident, but you might wind up in jail. You also could be hit with hefty fines and surcharges and lose your insurance policy for years to come. Luckily, there are laws of thumb to guide you.
Having a single drink is enough to make you legally intoxicated in most states, and it’s usually a good idea to avoid drinking and driving in the first place. Depending on your body type, gender, and the alcohol in your system, your tolerance to booze may vary. Some states are more lenient than others, allowing for a slightly lower limit.
What’s the legal blood alcohol content? A good rule of thumb is that the legal limit is 0.04%. This is the tiniest of all the legal limits, so if you’re going for the nightlife, it pays to know the laws of the road. To put that in context, you’re probably safer in a rented car than you would be behind the wheel of a sedan. On the other hand, you could be in grave peril in the wild. With that in mind, a sensible approach is to drink sensibly and take a break after about three hours, if you can handle it. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a bad situation a few hours after you leave the bar.
BAC for DWI Charge
If you are arrested for DWI in Texas, your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) will play a big role in the penalties you will face. Even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you can still be charged.
A Blood Alcohol Content of 0.15 or higher is considered reckless. This is a serious charge and it can result in harsher penalties. For first-time offenses, you may face a Class B misdemeanor.
In addition, you’ll be required to pay an administrative surcharge. The Texas Department of Public Safety assesses this fee. It must be paid annually for three years. Failure to pay the surcharge will automatically suspend your license.
Your license can also be suspended if you refuse to take a BAC test. You can challenge the results in an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing.
In addition, if you are convicted of a high BAC, you may face very high fines and insurance premiums. It can also impact your future employment.
For a third or subsequent offense, you may face a jail sentence of up to ten years. Additionally, you may have to complete community service.
You could also lose your license if you are convicted of a DWI with a BAC of over.15. There are a variety of defenses, including contesting the accuracy of the breath or blood test.
For a first-time DWI, you may face up to one year in jail. There is a fine of up to $2,000 for a first-time offense.
For a second or subsequent offense, you could face up to two years in prison. Plus, you will be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
How an Alcohol Affect Your Driving?
Alcohol may seem like a great drink, but it can also have an adverse effect on driving. It can cause a wide range of effects, including problems with attention, coordination, and decision-making. In fact, it can increase the risk of a car accident, and you may not even know it.
Driving requires incredible concentration and skills. To do so, a driver must focus on the road and react to other drivers, pedestrians, and bikes.
When a driver is intoxicated, they are more likely to make rash decisions, which can lead to an accident. These decisions often include the wrong speed, the wrong brakes, and the wrong turning direction. They may even lose their inhibitions and become aggressive.
As a result of the intoxication, a driver may experience difficulty with basic driving tasks, such as turning, braking, and steering. He or she may also be confused during an emergency situation. A drunk driver’s reaction time can be delayed by up to 130 feet.
The cerebellum plays a major role in coordination. It is the brain’s control center for balance and movement. Drinking and driving affect the cerebellum, leading to staggering, inability to stand straight, and other signs of impaired coordination.
Another notable impact of alcohol is its effects on vision. Some people who consume a lot of alcohol have blurred vision, while others experience double vision. This can affect the ability to judge distances, understand road signs, and detect other vehicles.
One of the first things an intoxicated driver is going to notice is a slow response time. This can lead to an accident since the driver is not quick enough to avoid hitting a pedestrian, a dog, or another car.
What are The Penalties for DWI Offense?
If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated in Texas, you will face a variety of penalties. Your driving privileges could be suspended, your vehicle may be confiscated, and you might even spend time in jail. These penalties are based on the specific circumstances of your arrest.
The first DWI offense is considered a Class B misdemeanor. It carries a fine of up to $2000. In addition, your license may be suspended for one year. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may also be required to undergo a DWI education program and participate in a DWI intervention program.
A second DWI offense is a Class A misdemeanor. You can receive a jail sentence of up to a year. During your jail sentence, you might be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
If you are arrested for a third or fourth DWI, you can face a range of penalties, including a $10,000 fine. In addition, you might be subject to an annual surcharge on your driver’s license.
A first-offense DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor. The maximum fine for a Class B misdemeanor is $4,000. For a second offense, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $4,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year.
A third or fourth DWI is a felony. The minimum penalty for a felony is two years in prison, but the maximum can reach ten years.
Additionally, a felony DWI can have a negative impact on your right to vote, to own a firearm, and to possess and drive a motor vehicle. However, you can restore your rights if you are granted pardon by the governor of Texas.
Can DWI Charge in Texas Be Dismissed?
When you’re charged with a DWI in Texas, you may wonder if you can get it dismissed. Getting a dismissal is not easy. However, it can be possible in some cases.
There are many ways you can fight a DWI charge in Texas, and it’s important to seek out the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can help you identify the legal intoxication in your state, and also build a solid defense for you.
You can use your state’s law to challenge the arresting officer’s claim of reasonable suspicion. If you are able to show the officer that there was no probable cause, your case can be dismissed.
A DWI charge can have a devastating effect on your life. Your driver’s license, professional life, and personal life can all be affected. The impact can be especially severe for first-time offenders. It can lead to costly fines, time in jail, and a permanent criminal record.
In addition to defending your rights, you can also petition the court to have your charges reduced. For a first-time offender, this can mean being spared probation and the possibility of losing your driving privileges.
You may also be able to have your charges expunged from your criminal record, if you can show the court that you haven’t committed any other crimes in the two years following your arrest. This is the ideal scenario, but it’s not always possible.
One of the best ways to fight your DWI is to show that your arresting officer didn’t follow proper protocol. This can include things like failing to conduct a field sobriety test, improperly conducting a blood draw, or a vehicle search. Failure to follow protocol can result in your rights being violated and could make securing a conviction more difficult.
We invite you to contact us or call us today if you need a help from an experienced DUI attorney. Visit our blog for more related articles.