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The Basics of DWI DUI in Texas
DUI in Texas is a serious crime. A first offense is usually categorized as a class B misdemeanor in Texas although other factors can raise the infraction to the level of a felony.
If you have been arrested for committing DWI in Texas, you should educate yourself about the basics of Texas drunk driving laws. In addition, you will want to contact a Texas DWI attorney to represent you throughout the legal process.
What is DUI in Texas?
The crime of drinking and driving is sometimes referred to as either DUI or DWI. These are both the same crime. Because each state establishes its own DUI statutes, some choose to adopt the name DUI, which stands for driving under the influence, while others choose to adopt DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated. DWI is the technical term used in Texas.
The blood-alcohol limit in Texas is .08 percent. This means that if someone were to take a sample of your blood, .08 percent of the sample would be alcohol. If you are at or above this limit, a police officer may arrest you for drinking and driving.
It is important to note that you can be charged with DUI in Texas even if your blood-alcohol level is below .08. In Texas, intoxicated drivers are also considered to be those whose driving is impaired due to alcohol or drug consumption regardless of their blood-alcohol content.
Testing Your Blood-Alcohol Level
In Texas, a police officer may pull you over for a traffic violation or after witnessing suspicious driving behavior, such as weaving or driving in two lanes at once. You may also be stopped as part of a sobriety checkpoint. This is when officers stop cars at a certain location and check drivers for intoxication.
At this point, you will be asked for your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. You may also be asked to take a number of tests.
In Texas, these tests can include a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test uses a device that can estimate the amount of alcohol in your blood by picking up trace amounts of alcohol in your breath. If the device shows a reading of .08 or higher, the officer will place you under arrest.
According to laws covering DUI in Texas, you are allowed to refuse a breathalyzer test but not without suffering serious consequences. If you refuse to take a breath or a blood test for the purposes of checking your blood-alcohol level, your driver's license will be automatically be suspended for 180 days.
Minors & DUI in Texas
If you are under the age of 21 and you are caught drinking and driving in Texas, you will suffer automatic penalties. These are sometimes referred to as zero-tolerance laws.
A minor only needs to have a detectable level of alcohol in his or her system to violate DUI laws in Texas. Underage drivers who are caught drinking and driving for the first time may be penalized with:
- 60-day driver's license suspension
- Up to a $500 fine
- 20 to 40 hours of community service
- DUI classes
If a minor is caught with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or greater, the penalties are even more severe. Fines are increased to a maximum of $2,000, and the driver may even face up to 180 days in jail.
If you have additional questions about DUI in Texas, contact an experienced Texas DUI attorney.