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(a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
(b) Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (d) and Section 49.09 , an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.
(c) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that at the time of the offense the person operating the motor vehicle had an open container of alcohol in the person’s immediate possession, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of six days.
(d) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
A DWI second offense is a class A misdemeanor which has a punishment range of a fine no more than $4,000 and/or a jail sentence of from 30 days to 1 year, and a possible driver’s license suspension ranging from 180 days to 2 years. Additionally, if a jail sentence is probated, the consequences for DWI second offense probation includes a mandatory 3 days in the county jail if you have a prior conviction over 5 years old, or 5 days in the county jail if you have prior convictions within 5 years. Also upon conviction, there is an annual $1,500-$2,000 surcharge fee every year for 3 years in order to retain your driver’s license.
If you are charged with a subsequent offense of DWI or a first offense of intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter, as a bond condition, you are required to install a vehicle ignition interlock device on your car, and you are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an interlock device which detects the presence of alcohol in your breath. If the device detects a certain level of alcohol, the vehicle is temporarily disabled and, additionally, the court will order an accused to abstain from alcohol use and use of controlled substances without a prescription. The court may enforce this by ordering random drug testing.
A DWI stays on your record for the remainder of your life. the law changed and now the State is not limited to 10 years to use an old DWI for enhancement purposes.
You could not have gotten a deferred adjudication for DWI for an offense committed in 1990. They quit having deferreds available for DWI in either 1982 or 1984, thefore you received a straight probation with a conviction. (This avoided having your driving license suspended because you took a special class.)
Some people mistake the number of years a DWI is quote on one’s record because of the limited number of years traffic violations are reported on your driving record.
That your friend’s DWI did not show up is just luck. It means that either it was overlooked when the data was loaded; or, it was not reported by the county.
The main difference between a DUI and a DWI boils down to the age of the driver. Under Texas law, a person operating a vehicle who is 21 years of age or older and who is legally intoxicated (has a .08 blood or breath alcohol concentration or is impaired by drugs) can be charged with a DWI. On the other hand, if a person under the age of 21 is pulled over and has any alcohol in his system then the individual can be charged with a DUI. It is irrelevant whether the minor is impaired by the alcohol in his system. In Texas, if a driver is under 21, it is illegal to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in his system. This is Texas’s zero-tolerance policy. Importantly, a person under the age of 21 can still be charged with a DWI, as long as the driver has a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater.
Another difference between a DWI and DUI is the penalties imposed for each offense. For a first time DWI offense, one may receive a fine up to $2,000, a jail sentence between 3 and 180 days, a loss of one’s driver’s license up to a year, and an annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for 3 years to retain one’s driver’s license. Conversely, a minor stopped for drinking and driving may receive a fine up to $500, a 60-day suspension of his driver’s license, 20 to 40 hours of community service, and mandatory alcohol-awareness classes. For subsequent offenses, the severity of the penalties increase for both a DWI and DUI.
How Long Will The State Suspend Your License After A DWI In Texas?
For a first-offense DWI in Texas, you will face a driver’s license suspension of 90 days to one year. If you have previous convictions for DWI, your suspension could range between six months and two years.
The duration of your suspension will increase if any of the following conditions apply to your offense:
Your BAC exceeded 0.08
You had a child age 14 or younger in the car
You had an open container in the car
You caused an accident, injury, or fatality
Does The State Suspend Your License For Underage DWI In Texas?
Texas follows a zero-tolerance standard for drivers age 21 and under. Consequently, any detectable amount of alcohol subjects an underage driver to criminal charges. The type of charge — and the duration of the license suspension — depends on the young driver’s BAC.
Underage DUI License Suspension
An underage driver will face DUI charges if his or her BAC ranged between 0.01 and 0.079. Drivers will lose their license for 60 days to six months.
Under 21 DWI License Suspension
Underage drivers who test between 0.08 and 0.149 for BAC face driver’s license suspensions as follows:
First Offense: 1 year
Second Offense: Up to 18 months
Subsequent Offense: Up to 2 years
Who Decides The Length Of Your License Suspension For DWI?
At the time of your arrest for DWI, a police officer will confiscate your license and issue you a temporary permit to drive. This permit, called a Notice of Suspension and Temporary Driving Permit (Form DIC-25) outlines the procedure for requesting an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing.
This hearing, a civil proceeding overseen by an administrative law judge, will determine the disposition of your license. You must request your ALR hearing within 15 days of you arrest. If you fail to do so, the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) will suspend your license 40 days after your arrest.
At the hearing, the judge will hear testimony from you (or your lawyer), the arresting officer, and anyone else who has relevant information. Based on that testimony and other evidence in the case, the judge will rule on the length of your suspension.
Deaths and Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents in Texas and the United States
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA), Texas had the highest number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2016 (1,438 fatalities). There were 949 drivers with a BAC of 15 percent or higher involved in fatal DUI accidents that year. During 2015, Texas was also the state with the highest number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities with 1,323 deaths in 2015. Texas also had the highest number of DUI-related deaths in 2014 with 1,446 deaths.
The Texas Department of Transportation also provides state-specific DUI crash information. However, the numbers are slightly lower and maybe because the crashes used to compile this data is based on “reportable data” from accident information on CR-3 crash reports. According to this information, 987 people died in DUI accidents in Texas during 2016.
However, thousands of people reported injuries from DUI accidents. The report states that 2,302 people suffered incapacitating DUI injuries, 5,893 people had non-incapacitating DUI injuries, and 6,481 people had possible DUI injuries. When you compare the statistics from rural areas to urban areas, the totals are not very different. Therefore, drunk driving in Texas appears to be a problem throughout the state.
The cities with the highest number of DUI crashes in 2016 were:
San Antonio — 1,845
Houston — 1,492
Austin — 1,432
Dallas — 1,310
El Paso — 759
Sadly, drunk driving accidents alter the lives of millions of people each year by killing and injuring thousands of people across the United States. For more statistics about drunk driving or to check the statistics for your specific city or area, you can visit the website for the Texas Department of Transportation.
n 2016, Texas tragically led the nation in traffic fatalities with 3,776 (NHTSA, 2017). Alarmingly, 44% of these deaths involved a driver with at least a .01% blood alcohol content (BAC), which is 11% above the national average of 33% (NHTSA, 2017). Furthermore, 25% of these deaths involved a driver with a BAC of .15% or greater, which is almost twice the legal per se limit (NHTSA, 2017). The national average in this category is 19% (NHTSA, 2017). Viewed on their own, these statistics are devastating. When compared to 2015, however, it is clear that Texas’ grave impaired driving problem is not getting better, it is getting worse. In 2015, 1,562 people died in alcohol-related crashes in Texas (NHTSA, 2016) compared to 1,676 in 2016 (NHTSA, 2017). Also in 2015, 895 people died in crashes involving a driver with a BAC over .15% (NHTSA, 2016) compared to 949 in 2016 (NHTSA, 2017). Impaired driving is a serious problem for teenage drivers and children. Nationwide in 2015, 26% of drivers aged 15-20 involved in a fatal crash had a BAC of .01% or higher and 21% had a BAC of .08% or higher (NHTSA, 2017). Put another way, 80% of the under-21 year old drivers who were killed with alcohol in their system had a BAC of .08% or higher – which is illegal even for those legally permitted to drink. All of these statistics together paint a terrifying picture of Texas’ increasingly serious alcohol-impaired driving problem.
With the nationwide opioid epidemic and legalization of marijuana in many states, driving under the influence of drugs is a growing problem. In 2016, an estimated 11.8 million people aged 16 and over drove in the United States under the influence of drugs, including both illegal and misused prescription drugs (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2017). Since 1991, the number of drivers killed in crashes involving opioids has increased seven fold (Columbia University, 2017). Without a legally mandated per se limit (such as the .08% BAC threshold for alcohol), it is a challenge for states to prove impairment in drugged driving cases. Per se limits for drugs do not exist in Texas primarily because of the uncertainly over what level of drugs in one’s system constitutes intoxication. Texas courts thus rely on expert testimony over toxicology lab results, which is far more complicated and uncertain than the proven per se alcohol limit. To compound the problem, toxicology labs are having trouble keeping up with the massive demand for tests. Also, with new types of legal and illegal drugs cropping up on a seemingly daily basis, it is difficult for labs to constantly formulate new tests for new drugs. Given all the issues associated with drugged driving, it is crucial that courts of all levels have a firm grasp on the legal issue involved.
Every two years, the Texas Legislature considers new laws aimed at fixing Texas’ impaired driving problem. In 2017, a handful of bills passed that arguably render the consequences of impaired driving less severe. For example, House Bill 2059 creates a statutory method for minors arrested for driving under the influence to have their arrest and prosecutorial records expunged. Municipal courts in Texas must stay apprised of new laws and all their particularities. This is a significant undertaking that requires constant continuing education to avoid misinterpretations and misunderstandings. The Texas Municipal Courts Education Center (TMCEC), through its Municipal Traffic Safety Initiatives (MTSI) grant, seeks to give municipal judges, clerks, prosecutors, and other court staff a thorough understanding of Texas laws and procedures so as to effectively adjudicate impaired driving cases and issue blood search warrants. The importance of this cannot be understated as 1,059 minor driving under the influence of alcohol cases were filed in Texas municipal courts in FY16 (Annual Statistical Reporting of the Texas Judiciary, FY16). Also in FY16, Texas municipal judges serving as magistrates issued 43,115 arrest warrants in Class A and B misdemeanors, which DWI offenses are usually charged as (Annual Statistical Reporting of the Texas Judiciary, FY16).
A person must be at least be 21 years of age to publicly drink an alcoholic beverage in Texas, with some exceptions
Texas is one of ten states (California, Colorado, Maryland, Montana, New York, Texas, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) that allow consumption by minors in the presence of consenting and supervising family members. In the state of Texas, parents accept responsibility for the safety of minors under 18 when the minor is on their property or on property leased by them and under their care, custody, and control; an adult may provide alcohol to a minor if he/she is the minor’s adult parent, guardian, or spouse, and is visibly present when the minor possesses or consumes the alcoholic beverage. It is against the law to make alcohol available to a non-family person younger than 21 even in your own residence, even with the parent’s permission.
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