Articles Posted in Drunk Driving

People depend on driving for everything from their livelihood to their day-to-day activities. The ability to drive is crucial to most of our everyday lives. That is why when you are facing charges for drunk driving, a major concern is how long will I lose my license?

The answer to this is not always simple and straightforward, but can depend on a variety of factors and circumstances. DWI laws and loss of license penalties vary from state to state. In Texas, there are a number of factors taken into account to determine how long you may be without a license if you are charged with a DWI.

For instance, if a person is arrested for drunk driving and you fail or refuse to take a breathalyzer a driver’s license will be administratively suspended. The license may be suspended for 180 days for a first offense refusal or 90 days for a first offense failure and up to 2 years for second offense failure or refusal. If subsequently convicted of a DWI, this may result in additional license suspension.

A previous post on this blog talked about how Bryan and College Station, Texas, residents do not have to take field sobriety tests if they are pulled over for a DWI investigation. However, for a variety of reasons, many people choose to take these test anyway.

While perhaps a subject for a different blog post, suffice to say for now that while these tests are not always reliable indicators of whether a person is intoxicated, they can and will be used against a person in court.

It is important to remember also that one need not fail a breath or blood test to get charged with a DWI; if an officer forms an opinion, based on field sobriety tests and other observations, that someone is too drunk to drive, then the officer can make an arrest, and the driver can be facing serious consequences, including jail, even if it is a first time offense.

It has become so routine for police to conduct field sobriety tests after they pull someone over on suspicion of drunk or drugged driving, that these tests have become part of our common culture. Many Texans are probably at least somewhat familiar with the various types of maneuvers the police will put drivers through, such as making them stand on one leg and say the alphabet or walk in a straight line.

While these tests are common, some might wonder whether they are actually mandatory or if, on the other hand, a motorist can decline to take them. Some after might not find the test to be fair, and others may be worried that with their own physical limitations, they might not be able to do the tests well, even if they are sober.

Bryan residents might already know that if they refuse a certified breath test, they can face a license suspension and the possibility of other penalties. This is because as a condition of getting a license in the first place, Texans agree that if a police officer pulls them over to check for drunk driving, they will take these tests. If they don’t follow through, the law gives the state the right to take back the person’s driver’s license.

A freshman at Texas A & M is facing multiple criminal charges, including a felony, after he struck a police officer in the foot with his car. The police officer was trying to control traffic at the time of the incident.

According to College Station police, the incident happened after a recent home football game on the Texas A & M campus. The student allegedly disregarded a police officer’s orders to head south in order to better facilitate the flow of traffic out of the stadium. Instead, the young man, who is only 19, temporarily went toward oncoming traffic. He then jerked his car back in to the correct lane, striking the officer in his foot. It is not clear whether the officer was seriously injured.

Following the accident, the police detained the man on suspicion of DWI and also charged him with an assault on the police officer the man struck. Following the man’s arrest, police also searched his vehicle and found an open container of beer and some marijuana, as well as a prescription medicine that police have accused the young man of not having legally.

A previous post on this blog tried to dispel what someone Bryan and College Station think about the relative infallibility of breath tests, especially certified test taken at a local police station following an arrest for drunk driving. Simply put, a person who has blown over the legal limit of .08 should not believe the only real choice they have is to plead guilty.

Our law office has a proven record of trying DUI cases to juries and judges throughout the Brazos Valley, and many of these cases involved situations in which a person “failed” their certified breath test. We understand how serious the consequences of a DUI conviction can be, even for a first-time offender, especially for Texans who work in the transportation industry or in certain other fields, and who may wind up losing their jobs over what might have been no more than a one-time mistake.

Especially since our attorney has experience as a judge who has presided over DUI trials, we are well informed as to what sort of defenses are available to those who blew over .08 BAC on a breath test, and we also have a good idea of what sort of evidence might convince a judge or jury that, even with a high breath test result, it would not be right to convict the person being accused of DUI.

People in Bryan, College Station and the surrounding communities probably realize how easy it is to get behind the wheel after having what the law considers to be too much. Alcohol affects people differently, and, when one thinks about it, a Texan who is over the legal limit may only exhibit some “buzzed” behavior and may be a far cry from obviously drunk.

The problem is that, in Texas, if a person test over .08 blood alcohol content on a certified breath test, then he or she can be charged with DWI even if he or she feels fine and even if he or she “passed” some of the field sobriety tests police officers often administer during their roadside stops. Moreover, because machines do not lie in the sense people do, some may think that if they blew over .08, then their only option is to plead guilty to the ensuing charge.

However, before doing so, those accused of DWI need to be aware that there are several other considerations when it comes to breath tests. For one, the police officer has to have good grounds to administer a breath test to begin with. Moreover, while breath test machines do not lie, they can malfunction and must be maintained regularly. The police officer giving the test can also make an important mistake in doing so, calling the result in to question.

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.

Blood and breath test results are commonly used as evidence against individuals accused of drunk driving. There are several different types of tests that are used to determine if a driver is driving while intoxicated. Breath and blood tests can be used to determine if the driver’s blood alcohol content level is above the legal limit to drive a vehicle. Field sobriety tests are another type of test commonly used to determine if a driver is driving while intoxicated.

Field sobriety tests are typically conducted prior to a breath test or breathalyzer test. When a driver is suspected of being impaired, a 3-part field sobriety test is commonly conducted. Field sobriety tests are utilized to observe the driver’s balance, physical ability, attention level and other factors. It is common for field sobriety tests to be used to help determine if a driver is driving under the influence. The 3 common field sobriety tests that are part of The Standardized Field Sobriety Test include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test or HGN, the walk-and-turn test or WAT and the one-leg stand test or OLS.

The police officer’s observations recorded during the field sobriety test can be used as evidence against the accused individual if drunk driving charges are brought against the driver. Field sobriety tests are one aspect of an encounter a driver may have with police to determine if there is probable cause to charge the driver with drunk driving. Probable cause requires that authorities believe it is likely a crime has been committed and that the accused individual has committed a crime. Because of the significance of DUI charges, it is important to understand field sobriety tests and how they contribute to charges being brought.

In Texas, a charge for driving while intoxicated can carry serious consequences and potentially harsh penalties. Simply being arrested for a drunk driving charge in Texas can impact the accused individual’s ability to drive and the status of their driver’s license. A conviction for a drunk driving charge can lead to jail time, an increase in auto insurance costs, civil surcharges and additional challenges related to employment opportunities.

The legal limit for when a driver is considered impaired in Texas is .08 percent blood alcohol content level; however, charges may apply in additional situations if the driver has a mixture of alcohol and drugs in their system or the driver is underage. Prior drunk driving charges can result in more significant penalties and fines associated with any future charges. A third drunk driving charge, following 2 prior convictions for drunk driving, can result in a felony drunk driving charge. A felony drunk driving charge can potentially be punished by 10 years in prison.

For a driver’s first drunk driving charge they may face between 3 and 180 days in jail, fines up to $2,000, license suspension for between 90 and 365 days, a criminal record, community service requirements, probation and mandatory attendance at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel. Individuals accused of drunk driving face potential criminal and administrative penalties. Following a drunk driving charge and the suspension of the driver’s license, they may be able to challenge the arrest and suspension through an administrative hearing, but they have a limited time line to do so. Additional options may also be available once the license is suspended.

Drunk driving charges are unquestionably serious charges with the power to change an accused individual’s life forever. In a nearby community east of the Bryan area, a 17-year old Texas teenager is facing serious drunk driving-related charges.

The 17-year old high school student is facing charges of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault and was released from jail on an $80,000 bond. Police said he was driving a flat bed truck and is accused of causing an accident with a passenger vehicle when his truck swerved into the passenger vehicle.

The accident resulted in the passenger vehicle being pushed off the road. Inside the passenger vehicle was a husband and wife in the front seat. Both of their mothers were riding in the back seat. One of the mothers, aged 84, was killed in the accident, while the other, also in her 80s, was seriously injured. The married man and woman were also taken to the hospital with serious injuries that were not expected to be life-threatening.

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