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The basics of drunk driving charges and penalties in Texas

Drunk driving charges are serious charges and can have a significant impact on the personal and professional lives of individuals accused of driving while intoxicated in Texas. For this reason, it is important to understand laws associated with drunk driving. In Texas, an individual driving with a blood alcohol content level of .08 may be charged with a DWI. In addition, it is important to understand that a driver can be considered intoxicated if either alcohol impairs them or drugs.

The penalties and consequences associated with a DWI charge vary depending on the circumstances and become progressively more serious. When an individual has been pulled over for driving under the influence, if they refuse to take a blood or breath test, their license will automatically be suspended for 180 days. For the first DWI offense, the accused individual faces between 3 and 180 days in jail, the loss of their driver's license for up to a year, a $2,000 fine and fees.

For a second DWI offense, the accused individual faces between one month to a year in jail, the loss of their driver's license for up to 2 years, a fine of $4,000 and fees. For a third DWI offense, the accused individual faces between 2 to 10 years in prison, the loss of their driver's license for up to 2 years, a $10,000 fine and fees. In addition, after an accused individual receives two or more DWIs in a five-year period, they must install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.

The impact of a DWI accusation or conviction can be costly for the freedom and future of the accused individual. As a result, it is important that individuals accused of driving under the influence are familiar with their rights and criminal defense options to challenge DWI accusations and charges should the need ever arise.

Source: Texas Department of Transportation, "Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)," Accessed June 19, 2017

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