DWI Versus DUI in Texas
Driving under the influence in Texas carries serious consequences
Drunk driving, also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), refers to impaired driving due to alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. Illegal in all fifty states, this offense brings serious consequences. Individual states have specific laws and associated penalties for these crimes and Texas has stronger penalties than many other states if you are convicted. Having experienced legal counsel by your side is essential when facing a DWI or DUI charge. The knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker located in Fort Worth & Southlake are skilled in handling DWI and DUI cases, and are dedicated to advocating for you.
Texas DWI laws
In Texas, an individual over the age of 21 can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if they demonstrate mental or physical impairment due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs, or both, or if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or more. This is an important distinction: if you display impairment but your BAC is below the legal limit, you can still be charged with DWI. Similarly, impairment is not necessary if your BAC level is above the legal threshold — you can face a DWI charge.
Texas DUI laws
Texas is a “zero tolerance” state concerning minors and alcohol. For those drivers under the age of 21, the maximum BAC level is 0%. Only those under 21 years of age can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and penalties for this offense include a maximum fine of $500 and possible suspension of the driver’s license for two months. In addition, those convicted of a DUI may also be ordered to complete an alcohol education program and perform community service.
Convictions are a permanent part of your record
In Texas, previous DWI convictions remain on your criminal record and can be counted against you if you face a subsequent charge. For example, even if you had your first DWI offense 20 years ago, if you face another DWI charge now, it will be considered your second offense and you will be penalized accordingly.
Alcohol testing and implied consent laws
All states have implied consent laws, which means that when you applied for a driver’s license, you automatically gave consent to chemical and field sobriety tests for purposes of determining impairment. The method of testing is determined by the law enforcement officers at the scene, which may include a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test. Now, even though everyone with a valid driver’s license has already given consent to taking these tests, police officers cannot force you to comply. Instead, there are penalties for refusing. In Texas, if you refuse to submit to the blood alcohol or breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended. If you are a first time offender, your license will be suspended for 180 days. If this is your second or third offense, your license will be suspended for two years.
Skill and experience fighting DWI and DUI charges in Texas
Being charged with DWI or DUI can be a very frightening experience. Because these charges bring serious penalties and remain a permanent part of your criminal record, they should not be taken lightly. Experience and skill are essential in successfully fighting a charge of DWI or DUI and the qualified Ft. Worth & Southlake DUI attorneys at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker deliver that and more. With knowledge and dedication to your case, our team aggressively advocates on your behalf. Call us today at 817-332-7703 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.