One of the most common crimes people are arrested for in the Houston area is driving while intoxicated (DWI). Drunk driving is prohibited in Texas just the same way as every other state in the nation, and convictions can carry steep consequences. When a person is arrested for DWI in Texas, he or she has to deal not only with the criminal charges that result from an alleged offense but also the possible civil penalty. The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program in Texas only allows a person 15 days to request a hearing following a DWI arrest. Were you recently arrested for drunk driving in Southeast Texas? You will want to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Contact The Gonzalez Law Group right away. Our Houston criminal defense lawyers defend clients arrested for DWI throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown, and many others. Call (832) 530-4070 to have our attorneys review and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
Texas DWI Defense Information Center
Texas DWI Laws
Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04, a person commits a DWI offense if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2) defines intoxicated as:
- not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or
- having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
The phrase alcohol concentration is more commonly referred to as a blood or breath alcohol concentration, or BAC. Texas defines alcohol concentration as meaning the number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, 100 milliliters of blood, or 67 milliliters of urine.
Many DWI arrests in Texas involve alcohol concentrations derived from breath samples obtained during roadside tests or tests performed at police stations. A violation of the alcohol concentration limit definition of intoxicated is considered a “per se” DWI violation (with “per se” being the Latin phrase for “by or in itself,” as evidence of an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher is evidence of intoxication), but a person can be arrested based on the other definition of intoxicated that involved more subjective opinions of arresting officers or possible involvement of controlled substances.
Common DWI Charges in Harris County
Our firm handles a wide variety of drunk driving cases in the greater Houston area. Some of the most common kinds of DWI charges our firm sees include, but are not limited to:
If you get a DWI in Texas, you can expect to face very serious penalties, even if this is only your first offense. For example, for a first-offense DWI in Texas, you may spend up to one year in jail and face a fine of up to $4,000. Furthermore, this will most likely cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket, and you will most likely have your license suspended for a period of time as well.
If this is your second DWI in the state of Texas, courts will now treat you as a repeat offender. As such, you may have your license suspended anywhere from six months to two years. Additionally, you will most likely have to spend a year in jail and install the Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle.
For a third or subsequent DWI in the state of Texas, you will face very harsh penalties, including a 2-year loss of your license, up to a $10,000 fine, and up to 20 years of incarceration. Rather obviously, this is an extremely serious offense and you cannot afford to fight it without the assistance of an experienced Texas DWI attorney.
When you get a DWI under certain circumstances, it is considered a felony DWI. For example, receiving a DWI with a minor in the vehicle, receiving a third or subsequent DWI, or committing a DWI while seriously injuring or accidentally killing another person are all examples of felony DWIs.
Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)
DWI laws do not solely apply to automobiles on the road; in many cases, if you are stopped while taking your boat out on the ocean, at a lake, or otherwise and you are found to have a Blood Alcohol Content over 0.08%, there is a very good chance that you will receive a BWI.
A commercial DWI is when someone who drives a commercial vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler, receives a DWI while doing his or her job. Unfortunately, commercial DWIs are particularly devastating, as they not only result in a suspended license, but they can also result in having your livelihood permanently terminated.
DWIs are also not limited to driving while under the influence of alcohol. In many cases, if a police officer pulls you over and suspected that you are driving under the influence of drugs, you may also receive a DWI.
If you damage property while driving under the influence of alcohol, there is a very good chance that courts will consider this as an aggravating factor, which will increase the severity of the charges you will face.
Texas courts consider driving while intoxicated with a minor passenger a particularly heinous act, and they will prosecute you as such. You cannot afford to fight these charges without aggressive legal representation at your side.
Though you only need a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08% to receive a DWI in Texas, if you are caught driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.15%, you will face even harsher charges.
DWI under 21
Texas has a “zero-tolerance” law in effect regarding individuals who are under the age of 21, which essentially means that if you are caught with any amount of alcohol in your system while operating a motor vehicle and you are under the age of 21, you will receive a DWI. Our firm is here to help you fight those charges.
Intoxication Assault is when someone operates his or her motor vehicle while under the influence and causes serious bodily injury to another person. This is considered a third-degree felony, for which you may face high fines and incarceration.
Intoxication manslaughter is when someone who was under the influence while operating a motor vehicle crashes into someone and kills them accidentally. For this charge, you may face up to 20 years of incarceration, as well as a $10,000 fine.
If a police officer believes that you were operating your motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, you can receive a marijuana DWI, which, without the assistance of an attorney, can have very serious ramifications, some of which may follow you forever.
Open containers of alcohol are prohibited from the seating area in any vehicle; they must be stored in the trunk. This means that if you are caught with an open container in the driver’s seat, passenger seat, or backseat, there is a very good chance that you may face an open container charge.
Contact a DWI Defense Attorney in Harris County, TX
If you were arrested for drunk driving anywhere in the Harris County area, it will be in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. The Gonzalez Law Group represents individuals in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood, and many others.
Our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Houston can review all of the circumstances surrounding your arrest and fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome that results in the fewest consequences. Our firm will provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (832) 530-4070 or submit an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation. Contact us today.