Texas DWI Lawyers
Drunk Driving Defense in Dallas Fort Worth
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in a public place (such as a highway, street, or parking lot) is an offense that has serious risks and consequences. After consuming a certain amount of alcohol, a person’s ability to drive becomes impaired. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if a person’s Breath or Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) reaches or exceeds .08 percent at the time of driving. In the state of Texas, a person may be considered intoxicated despite BAC, if they have consumed any amount of alcohol or drugs that affects their physical and mental faculties. This means that there are two ways in which intoxication is established:
- If a person does not have normal use of their physical and/or mental faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, drugs or controlled substances in their system. This includes prescription medicines that may impair driving.
- If a person’s breath or blood alcohol level is or exceeds 0.08.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE – DUI (UNDER AGE 21 DRIVERS)
The state of Texas also has a zero tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. This means that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive after consuming alcohol or drugs.
In the event that a person is stopped for suspicion of drinking while intoxicated, they are usually required to show their driver’s license and insurance. In addition to being asked where they are going or coming from, a person may also be asked if they have consumed alcohol and if so, in what quantities. An officer may then ask the driver in question to take a standard field sobriety test. There are three standard field sobriety tests:
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test (called HGN) where the officer is looking for an involuntary jerking of the eyeball. This results of this test are purported to reveal whether the person is under the influence. The walk and turn test, where the person is asked to walk a straight line heel to toe for nine steps in two directions, and the one leg stand test where the person is asked to stand on one leg for thirty seconds. Some officers will request the person submit to a preliminary breath test at the scene (PBT) to determine alcohol concentration. Officers make an arrest decision based on these tests as well as the driving facts and facts learned from interviewing the detained person.
If the person is arrested, they will be asked to submit to a breath or blood test at the jail. A refusal to submit can be used against the person in court as well as have negative drivers license consequences. A police officer may then request a search warrant in order to obtain a blood specimen for the arrested person. A person who does submit to a breath or blood test and is over the legal limit can also lose their license.
DUI vs. DWI
A DUI (Driving under the Influence) is a class C misdemeanor that only applies to persons under twenty one years of age. In Texas, this offense states that a person under the age of twenty one operating a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol is guilty of DUI. This offense is punishable by a fine up to 500 dollars as well as community service hours. A conviction also triggers a license suspension.
A DWI (Driving while intoxicated) first offense is a class B misdemeanor, in which a driver is considered intoxicated by law. This means that a person’s alcohol concentration is found to be 0.08 or higher, while having operated a motor vehicle, as tested through their breath or blood. A person is also considered intoxicated if they have lost the normal use of their mental or physical abilities because of the introduction of drugs or alcohol into their body. A first offense DWI conviction carries a punishment range of up to a 2,000 dollar fine and up to six months in county jail. In most cases, a first conviction will not require actual jail time but community supervision for a period of up to two years. Probation, called community supervision in Texas, has many requirements such as DWI programs, community service hours and other conditions that the Court may require. A second DWI is a class A misdemeanor with a possibility of up to one year in the county jail and a 4,000 dollar fine. A third or more DWI is a third degree felony with a punishment range of two to ten years in prison and up to a 10,000 dollar fine. Second and subsequent DWI convictions also have a mandatory drivers license suspension requirements which vary from six months to two years.
As of September 2003, the state of Texas passed a new law to impose surcharges for persons arrested and convicted of driving while intoxicated. Under this law, those who refuse a blood test will pay a surcharge of $1000 per year for three years ($3000), those whose BAC is less than 0.16 will pay a surcharge of $1000 per year for three years ($3000) and those whose BAC is above 0.16 will pay a surcharge of $2000 per year for three years ($6000). In addition, repeat offenders will have to pay $1500 per year for three years ($4500).
Bailey & Galyen are Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys defending individuals charged with DUI and DWI in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and throughout Texas.
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If you have been charged with DWI contact the our skilled Texas criminal defense attorneys at for immediate assistance. It is very important that you obtain the advice of counsel as soon as possible.