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The basics of DWI in Texas

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2021 | Drunk Driving |

Many states call drunk driving “DUI,” but Texas calls it “DWI,” driving while intoxicated. Stats reveal 259 per 100,000 people get arrested for DUI yearly in the state in spite of penalties. Drivers in Galveston, Texas, should know the laws to get a better understanding of the charges.

Texas DWI overview

DWI laws make in Texas make operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more illegal, which includes drugs and/or alcohol. Drivers can get charged if the vehicle is not moving if they have control or appear to have intentions to drive.
For example, sleeping in a vehicle with the keys in the ignition implies control and possible intention to drive.

The legal BAC limit for commercial drivers is lower at .04, and minors under 21 cannot have any trace of alcohol or drugs. A DUI is commonly given to minor drivers under 21, which is a Class C misdemeanor, under the Zero Tolerance law. Drivers may get charged with DWI below the limit if they show loss of mental and physical control from substances.

DWI penalties

A first DWI offense in Texas commonly includes up to a $2,000 fine, a one-year license suspension, and 72 hours to 180-day in jail. After the license suspension, drivers must pay a $2,000 surcharge for three years to keep the license. A minimum of six days of jail applies if the driver had an open container in their vehicle, even if the vehicle was stopped.

Charges may increase for each offense based on prior convictions, BAC levels, and a minor under 15 in the vehicle. Implied consent laws make refusing a chemical test an offense, which carries a 180-day license suspension.

A DWI can stay on record for years, but drivers may challenge charges with valid defenses. The prosecution only has two years to file a misdemeanor case, and they must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.