In the state of Texas, drunk driving falls under one of two categories – Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Regardless of which crime drivers are charged with, they need to begin fighting these charges as soon as possible. The professionals at DUIRights.com can help those who are charged with DUI or DWI get their defense case started on the right foot in an attempt to help them avoid the jail time, fines, penalties, and license suspension they will face.
DUI/DWI Penalties in the State of Texas
Texas, like many other states, uses jail time, fines, penalties, and a license suspension as a means to punish those who are convicted of DUI or DWI. Having to deal with these consequences will disrupt an individual’s life, which is why fighting these charges is so important. The penalties assigned for first time offenders include:
- Minimum Jail Time Between 3 and 180 Days
- Fines and Penalties Up to $2,000
- License Suspension of 90 Days to 1 Year
It is also important to note Texas does not practice a lookback period for DUI/DWI convictions. This means for those individuals with previous DUI/DWI convictions, regardless of how long ago they were, will have an impact on current charges. Those who are considered repeat offenders will face longer jail sentences, higher fines and penalties, and longer license suspensions than first time offenders.
Knowing Your Texas DUI Rights
The state of Texas does not allow for plea bargaining for DUI/DWI charges, which means the individual will need to have his or her case dismissed or be found innocent of the charges in order to avoid these consequences. A knowledgeable DUI/DWI lawyer will want to know if his or her client’s rights were violated in some way in order to have a strong defense against the prosecutor’s case. In order to know this, he or she will ask a series of questions to learn more about the arrest – which is where many rights violations occur – and will usually ask some variations of the following questions:
- Was the vehicle in operation when the traffic stop was made?
- What reason was given by the arresting officer for making the traffic stop?
- Did the officer recite the Miranda Rights? Did the client understand these rights?
- Was any sobriety testing administered? What tests were given?
- Were the officer’s observations consistent with other witnesses?
Protect your rights and learn how to get your Texas DUI charges dismissed. Get Started Now by filling out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form to get the answers you need.
You still have a chance to improve your situation once you learn the steps needed to eliminate your Texas DUI charges. Texas DUI penalties have become inflated calculations by the court system favored towards the courts themselves and attorneys specializing in this field. Over the past 14 years, DUIRights.com has helped thousands of people just like you. Good people with families, jobs, and friends. People who are now facing one of the worst days of their lives after being charged with DUI. We sincerely believe that people who make a mistake shouldn’t have to pay for it the rest of their lives.
Building a Strong DWI Defense
No matter how guilty you may think you were at the time of the arrest, we want you to know one important thing: There is ALWAYS an aggressive and effective defense that will help you fight for the best possible outcome. In our experience, many officers do not follow proper field sobriety test procedures. In fact, challenging probable cause and the way field sobriety tests, blood tests and breath tests were administered is often a successful strategy to reduce or drop the charges. Also, many people plead guilty prematurely based on a breath test with a result above the legal limit. This is a common and costly mistake, as there are a variety of ways in having the breath test suppressed as we will show you how to do.
If you rely solely on a public defender to help you, your chances will be limited in preserving financial security and effectively winning your case. With our help, we will show you the easy to understand steps needed to get your Texas DUI charges dismissed effectively and take back the control of your situation by being equipped with the real information and representation you need to win your case.
DUI Laws in Texas
Overall, Texas ranks about “average” for DUI penalties and fines. The one area, however, that significantly sticks out with Texas DUI law is the fact that there is no “lookback” period. This is the time most states allow to pass between convictions for sentencing purposes. If you are arrested and convicted of a DUI in Texas, a repeat offense, even if it is more than 10 years old, will still count against you during sentencing.
Consequences for Refusing to Take Chemical Tests
Texas has a shorter suspension period for first time offenders, but all repeat offenders will see a standard two-year suspension for refusing to take a chemical test during a DUI arrest:
- First offense – 180-day license suspension
- Second offense – 2-year license suspension
- Third offense – 2-year license suspension
Challenging BAC Levels in Court
Texas currently uses the standard blood alcohol content (BAC) levels to establish a DUI:
- Drivers that are under the age of 21, .02 percent
- Drivers 21 years of age and older, .08 percent
- Commercial Drivers, .04 percent
Is There Mandatory Jail Time Required for a DUI in Texas?
Texas has flexible sentencing for the first and second offense, but does have a full mandatory sentence required for third time offenders:
- First offense – jail sentence ranging from three days to 180 days
- Second offense – jail sentence ranging from 30 days to one year
- Third offense – mandatory jail sentence of two years
At this time, Texas does not offer a lookback period, so all offenses are considered regardless of the time that has passed for repeat violators.
Monetary Fines and Penalties for DUI in Texas
As it does with jail sentences, monetary fines are flexible and up to the judge. However, there is a maximum fine allowed, unless there is a child under the age of 15 in the car, which will significantly increase the fine amount:
- First offense – fine may be issued up to $2,000
- Second offense – fine may be issued up to $4,000
- Third offense – fine may be issued up to $10,000
License Suspension for DUI in Texas
There is flexible sentencing for a license suspension in Texas with both minimum and maximum time periods defines:
- First offense – suspension will range from 90 to 365 days
- Second offense – suspension will range from 180 days to two years
- Third offense – suspension will range from 180 days to two years
Texas does not require first time offenders to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed, but all repeat offenders are required to have one.
Texas DWI Explained
Whereas “DUI” used to be associated strictly with drunk driving, most states today use the term influence rather than intoxicated. This allows the law to introduce other “influences,” such as marijuana and prescription drugs. Basically, a Texas driver this is under the influence of any substance that inhibits his or her ability to drive is at risk of being arrested and charged with a Texas DUI.
Texas follows the standard blood alcohol content (BAC) guidelines to establish a driver that is intoxicated:
- .08 BAC for drivers 21 and older
- .04 BAC for all commercial drivers
- .02 BAC for all drivers under the age of 21
These levels, and levels of other substances, can be measured with breathalyzer and/or chemical tests. It should be noted at this time that Texas is an implied consent state, so refusal to take these tests will result in an automatic 180-day suspension of your license (for first time offenders).
DWI Penalties in Texas
Like most states, Texas escalates the fines and penalties for each additional conviction. With some of the larger penalties in the United States, hiring a DUI attorney in Texas is almost mandatory for anyone arrested and charged with a DWI.
First Offense Penalties
- Up to 180 days in jail (minimum 3-day stay)
- Up to $2,000 monetary fine (more if a child is in the car)
- Up to 1-year license suspension with a mandatory 90-day suspension
Second Offense Penalties
- Up to one year in jail (minimum 30 days)
- Up to $4,000 in monetary fines (more if a child is in the car)
- Up to 2-year license suspension (minimum 180 days)
- Ignition interlock device required
Third Offense Penalties
- Two year mandatory jail sentence
- Up to $10,000 in monetary fines
- Up to 2-year license suspension (minimum 180 days)
- Ignition interlock device required
Finding a DUI Lawyer in Texas
Because Texas offers no lookback period, anyone arrested is advised to have the case evaluated to see if there is any chance of successfully fighting the DWI charges. You should also consider the fact that Texas does not allow for a wet reckless plea. This means if you do not win your case, you face at least the minimum fines and penalties for first time offenders as well as having a permanent DUI on your record. To have you case evaluated free as well as finding local attorneys to help you with your case, fill out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form.