Best DUI Lawyers San Antonio, TX Of 2024 – Forbes

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Texas law makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Adults over 21 are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), while driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA) charges are reserved for those under 21 (but minors can be charged as adults as well). If you find yourself pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, these are the factors that will determine whether you are charged with a crime.

Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in Texas

It is illegal for an adult in Texas to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. In addition, a driver can be considered intoxicated if they do not have “normal use of mental or physical faculties” due to any use of alcohol or drugs.

Texas has also adopted zero tolerance laws related to underage drinking. Operating a vehicle with any detectable alcohol in your system can lead to a DUIA charge if you are under the legal drinking age of 21.

Implied Consent Laws in Texas

In Texas, if you are arrested for any offense while driving, you are presumed to have given consent to be tested for intoxication under the state’s implied consent law. Police officers have discretion over the form of test you may have to take, but they are typically breathalyzer or blood tests.

If you refuse to take a test for intoxication, then you will be issued a license suspension notice and your license will be revoked by the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Administrative License Revocation process. A hearing can be requested within 15 days to challenge the license revocation. Suspension periods last between 90 days and two years, and a fee of $125 is required before your license is renewed or reissued.

DUI Penalties in Texas

Texas penalizes DWI offenses with increasing severity based on whether or not you have prior DWI offenses. Penalties are more severe even for a first offense if you are found to have an open container in your vehicle at the time of arrest, or if you have a BAC of 0.15 or higher.

DWI charges start as misdemeanors, but you could be charged with a state jail felony if you have a child under 15 in the vehicle at the time of your arrest. This is true even for first DWI charges.

Penalties for a First Offense

First DUI offenses are charged as misdemeanors, unless a child was present in the vehicle. These are the penalties you could face for a first DWI charge in Texas.

Penalties for Repeat Offenses

DWI penalties increase if you have previously been convicted of DWI. Penalties remain the same for third and additional offenses.

Penalties for DWIs Involving Injuries or Death 

DWI offenses that result in the injury or death of another person are enhanced criminal charges. Intoxication assault, meaning the DWI resulted in serious bodily injury, is a third degree felony. Intoxication manslaughter is charged as a second degree felony. Both of these charges carry the potential for higher jail time sentences.

What to Expect After a DUI Arrest in Texas

When you are arrested for drunk driving in Texas, you are required to submit a specimen for breath or blood testing. Refusing a test will cause your driver’s license to be immediately suspended.

The police officer who arrested you will transport you to a local jail or police station for processing. You will be held until an initial arraignment hearing where the details of your arrest and the charges against you will be specified.

Many DWI arrests are eligible for bail. If your case is eligible for bail, then the bail amount will also be set at the arraignment hearing.

After you are released from jail, you still need to deal with the administrative license revocation process. You have 14 days from your arrest date to request an administrative hearing challenging the suspension of your driver’s license. If you do not request a hearing, then your license will be suspended automatically 40 days from the arrest.

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