Drunk driving is a very serious offense in the state of Texas. Any person who is pulled over under the suspicion that he or she has been driving drunk can expect to be subjected to several field sobriety tests, a breathalyzer test, blood tests and various other actions that law enforcement officers deem necessary to help determine if the driver has actually been driving while intoxicated (DWI). If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures .08 or above, and you are over the age of 21, you will be arrested for DWI. As Texas is a zero-tolerance state with individuals who have been found to be drinking while they are under the legal drinking age, any driver under the age of 21 may be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) if he or she has even the smallest detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system.
The primary difference between a DUI and DWI in Texas is the driver's age. There are certain circumstances when an officer may charge an underage minor with a DWI rather than DUI, and that is up to the sole discretion of the arresting officer. In most instances a minor can expect a DWI charge rather than DUI if his or her BAC is .08 or above. A DWI conviction also carries harsher penalties than a DUI conviction. The penalties for both DUI and DWI in Texas will vary depending on your BAC level, whether any minors under the age of 15 were in the vehicle at the time, and whether any injuries or damages were caused as a result of your drunk driving.
A first time DUI conviction can result in fines up to $500, the mandatory suspension of your driver's license for up to 2 years, the required completion of an alcohol education program, community service and more. Penalties for a first time DWI conviction can include up to 180 days in jail, the mandatory suspension of your license for up to 2 years, a maximum $2,000 fine, the addition of a yearly surcharge added to maintain your driving privileges, the required completion of a drug and/or alcohol education program, the installation of an ignition interlock device and other consequences.
If you have been arrested for a DUI or DWI in Texas, I recommend you contact The Law Office of Samuel R. Terry, P.C. immediately. Any delay in obtaining legal counsel could put your defense at risk. As an experienced Fort Worth criminal attorney I will be able to review the charges against you, devise an aggressive strategy for your defense, and provide you with the uncompromising representation you need to protect your freedom and rights. Contact my firm today to schedule an appointment to discuss your case and review your legal options.