Helpful Ideas About DUI/DWI Punishments & Penalties In Texas
Numerous DUI and DWI offenders are facing penalties that are far worse than being slapped with a fine. A DUI or DWI offender is considered innocent until proven guilty, which is the principle with all criminal charges. However, things take a turn for the worse when the accused is found guilty of the offense. The subsequent penalties can vary depending on the laws of the state and well as unique circumstances related to the case. The judge will also take into account the level of cooperation the offered has with the arresting police.
Jail TimeFirst-time DUI or DWI offenders are mostly slapped with a misdemeanor that can be punishable with jail time of up to six months. But that sentence can be increased by the validation of other circumstances related to the matter. For instance, some states have heavier punishments for DUI or DWI offenders found to have a blood alcohol content that is very high, such as .15% or .20%, at the time of the arrest. The legal limit for driving with alcohol in your body system is set at .08%.
In most states, you will serve the minimum jail sentence if you are found guilty of a DUI or DWI offense. Fortunately, jail time will be for several days. Repeating the same offense can result in longer jail sentences with terms that range from a couple of months to a year.
If the offender killed or injured another person, then the DWI or DUI offense is then classified as a felony. The same applies if it is the third or fourth DUI or DWI case. Moreover, the offender risks facing a jail term that can be as long as several years, depending on the state’s laws and the judge’s discretion after weighing all facts related to the case.
Courts can impose fines on a DUI or DWI case; the amount often varies depending on several factors. However, the fines can be as little as $500 to as much as $2,000. In some instances, the penalties can be imposed along with a jail sentence.
Problems With Driver’s Licenses
DUI or DWI offenders risk having their driving licenses revoked or suspended for a set period or permanently depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. The validity of the suspensions might vary, depending on whether it was passed by the state DMV or the law courts. The suspension will mostly be for around 90 days for most first-time DUI/DWI offenders. Repeat offenders face a license revocation of about a year, while third-time offenders can face a suspension of up to three years.
Refusing to take a blood test or providing a urine sample or taking a breath test can result in the suspension of your license, whether you are found guilty of the DUI/DWI offense or not. Such an offense can also see you face additional penalties in most states. You may, however, be eligible for a hardship license that allows you to drive to school or work during the suspension.
Most states take a stricter approach when it comes to repeat DUI/DWI offenders. The outcome of such cases may include confiscation of the offender’s car and even cancellation of the registration to keep the accused from driving. The steps ordered by the courts may be permanent or temporary.
In some instances, an ignition interlock device might be installed in the vehicle. With the device in place, the driver will be expected to blow into an alcohol detector mounted on the dashboard which will then allow the car to start. If the reading is above the set alcohol level, then the vehicle will not start.
Alternative Forms Of Punishment
In some states, the sentencing for DUI or DWI cases can include alcohol prevention programs, drug rehab programs, and even community service as well as victim restitution. The presiding judge may recommend any of these instead of jail time or a fine, but this mostly applies to first-time DUI/DWI offenders. However, there are times when these alternatives are issues, along with jail terms and fines. Minors in Texas that have a DUI or DWI are required to perform community services along with facing other penalties.
Punishments for DUI or DWI offenders are implementable even if it is a minor found guilty of the offense. And things can turn out to be worse for young offenders. The legal drinking age in most states is set at 21 years of age; thus, drinking before attaining those years is a separate crime from a DWI or DUI.
In some states, young drivers found guilty of a DUI or DWI will be penalized based on a lower BAC standard compared to what’s set for adults. The BAC can be around .02% instead of .08%. Conversely, the state may allow for the imposition of an adult sentence in which case the young offenders are likely to have their licenses suspended.
In some instances, the driver’s insurance may be revoked, and their rates increased. The objective of this is to hit their driving record and have their offense reflected on it. The DUI or DWI charges will remain on the driving record for years. If the offender has the license suspended, then the insurance company might cancel their policy.
Some job opportunities may be closed to individuals that have a DWI or DUI on their record. Such jobs include driving vehicles such as ambulances, school buses, or delivery vans. The driver also risks facing civil lawsuits if they caused an accident and are sued by the injured victim.
Texas DWI Laws & Penalties
DUI or DWI charges are leveled against a Texas motorist found operating a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Such an offense applies when the amount of alcohol in the blood is higher than .08%.
Texas has a zero-tolerance law for underage drivers found driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As such, these young drivers are prohibited from operating a vehicle if they are found with any trace amounts of alcohol in their blood.
Fines & Jail Time For Texas DWI Convictions
Facing a DWI or DUI conviction in Texas can see you face the maximum or minimum jail term depending on various circumstances surrounding your case. The judge will take into account the number of previous convictions. Hence, you should be aware of the possible fines and jail terms DUI/DWI offenders face in Texas.
If it is your first DWI/DUI offense, then you may serve a minimum of three days to up to six months in jail, with a maximum term of one year if your BAC was more than 0.15%. Subsequently, you may be slapped with a maximum fine of $2,000 that can shoot up to around $4,000 if your BAC was 0.15% and above.
Second-time offenders risk a 30-day jail sentence or a term of not less than one year and a potential fine of up to $4,000.
Third-time offenders will face a jail term of 2 – 10 years and risk being charged a maximum fine of $10,000.
In some states, a wash-out period for DUI/DWI conviction are a reprieve for some offenders. That means any convictions older than the set wash-out period will not account against the offender. Texas does not have this as such any DUI/DWI conviction will be a permanent stain on your record.
License Suspensions In Texas
Drivers in Texas found guilty of a DUI or DWI offense risk having their driving license suspended. First-time offenders face a suspension period of between three months to a year. Second-time offenders can be jailed for 180 days or two years, which may also be what third-time offenders will face. Most DWI/DUI offenders can apply for an occupational license that will allow them to drive to school or work during the suspension.