Drunk driving is not safe for anyone on the Texas roadways. It increases your chances of getting into a wreck and causing injury or death to other people. Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is enough to land you behind bars. When your case involves a BAC of .15 or more, prosecutors will be less forgiving. They will sentence you to more time in jail and steeper fines if you are found guilty. Do not try to handle these charges on your own. Contact legal representation as soon as you can. The sooner you gain a trusted defense team, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome in court. The attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group will exhaust all of their resources to get the charges against you dropped or reduced. Take the first step in building your defense and schedule a consultation with us.
Driving while intoxicated is a problem that impacts people of all ages and from every walk of life. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 68% of the DWI fatalities involved at least one driver that had a BAC of .15 or higher. Instead of being charged with a class B misdemeanor for a DWI with a BAC between 0.08 and .14, you will be charged with a class A misdemeanor if you are caught driving with a BAC of .15 or higher. A police officer will conduct a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine to determine the level of alcohol in your system. You have the right to refuse this test, but it will result in an automatic license suspension.
A BAC of .15 or higher is considered an aggravating factor in a DWI case so you will be facing elevated charges. Like mentioned in the previous section, you will have your charges elevated from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor that is punishable by the following:
- Between 30 days to a year in jail
- A fine that can cost up to $4,000
- No driving privileges for up to two years
You will also have to face administrative penalties along with the punishments imposed by the court. You will be required to pay an annual surcharge to the Texas Department of Public Safety for three years to maintain your driver’s license. Failing to do so will result in an automatic license suspension until all payments are made.
This surcharge is only required if you had a BAC of .16 or more. If so, you will be required to pay $2,000 a year for three years when you regain your driving privilege.
It’s not uncommon for a DWI case to involve other factors. These factors can include having a child passenger, being found with an open container or causing the death of another person. All of these related crimes are in Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Codes, and they will result in steeper fines and more time behind bars.
An offense that is commonly charged with a DWI is the possession of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle. It’s against the law in Texas to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of a vehicle. It doesn’t matter if the vehicle is being operated or if it’s stopped or parked, you will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable by a $500 fine.
Having someone younger than 15 in your vehicle while driving drunk is another crime you could be charged with. Texas takes the safety of children seriously, so you will be looking at state jail felony if convicted. A state jail felony is punishable by 180 days to two years behind bars and a fine that can cost up to $10,000.
Perhaps the most devastating DWI cases are those that cause death. This is called intoxication manslaughter, and it’s the accidental cause of death because of intoxicated driving. The crime is a second-degree felony that will put you in prison for two to 20 years and require you to pay a fine that can cost up to $10,000.
Intoxication and Alcoholic Beverage Offenses | Texas Penal Code– Visit the Texas Constitution and Statutes website to read the chapter that governs DWI and related crimes in the state. You can learn more about the related offenses mentioned above, as well as other offenses such as public intoxication and intoxication assault.
Texas Driver Responsibility Program– View a pamphlet about the driver responsibility program from the Department of Public Safety. The pamphlet features an FAQ section that answers questions like how do I pay my surcharge and do you have to pay the full amount at one time?
Contact a Houston, TX DWI Lawyer
DWI charges should not be taken lightly, especially when your case involves a BAC of .15 or more. You will need the guidance of a defense team that is experienced defending DWI in the Harris County courtroom. We know this may be your first run-in with the law, which is why we want to be with you every step of the way. The Gonzalez Law Group will listen to your story and formulate a defense plan that is in your best interest. Schedule a time to speak with us. Call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form.
The Gonzalez Law Group represents clients in cities across Harris County that include Houston, Almeda, Fresno, Manvel, and many others.