In the state of Texas, a person is legally intoxicated if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. However, individuals may be charged with drunk or impaired driving regardless of their BAC. A person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle may be impaired after a single drink, and a variety of factors will determine an individual’s ability to tolerate alcohol. Individuals who refuse to take a blood or Breathalyzer test during a traffic stop will have their licenses suspended for 180 days.
A person who is convicted of DWI for the first time could spend up to 180 days in jail, pay a fine of up to $2,000 and lose his or her drivers license for up to a year. A driver who is convicted of DWI for a second time might spend at least a month in jail and pay a fine of up to $4,000.
The potential penalties for a third offense include a fine of up to $10,000 in addition to spending up to 10 years in prison. Those who are convicted of DWI two or more times over a period of 60 months will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. Drivers and passengers may be fined up to $500 if an open container of alcohol is found in a vehicle.
A person who is charged with DWI may be able to dispute the charge with the help of a criminal defense attorney. It may be possible to cast doubt on the results of a Breathalyzer test or assert that a blood draw was conducted improperly. A legal representative could also argue that there was no basis for the traffic stop that led to an individual being charged with drunk or impaired driving.