It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. This includes intoxication from consuming alcohol or drugs (for being under the influence of legal prescriptions or controlled substances).
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (DWI)
If convicted of DWI, your driver’s license can be suspended, you could be sentenced to probation, required to perform community service, forced to pay large fines, and even required to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle. A conviction could even mean a sentence in jail or Prison.
Even if breath or blood test results allegedly to indicate intoxication
THAT IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY
You may still be able to obtain a dismissal of your charges, or win your case at trial.
The police may legally stop anyone for violating traffic laws. If the police believe you are intoxicated, you may be asked to submit to a field sobriety test.
Standardized field sobriety tests (SFT’s) are the One Leg Stand (OLS), Walk and Turn (WAT), and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) tests. One of the many shortcomings of these tests is that “failure” or “clues” may be ausedby other things, besides intoxication.
IF YOU HAVE HAD ANYTHING TO DRINK OR CONSUMED ANY MIND ALTERING SUBSTANCE
DO NOT CONSENT TO THE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS.
YOU ALWAYS HAVE A RIGHT TO REFUSE A FIELD SOBRIETY TEST.
They may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test, or for a urine or blood sample to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). In Texas, a person is legally intoxicated and may charged with DWI with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, they alleged the person has lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties, whether it has been caused by the introduction of alcohol or drugs.If your BAC is over 0.15 percent, the charge is enhanced to a class A Misdemeanor, even for a first offense.
IMPORTANT RIGHTS FOR TEXAS DWI SUSPECTS
First, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, blood, or urine alcohol test. Refusal will result in automatic drivers license suspension for a minimum of 90-180 days, but it cannot be used as evidence against you in trial.
Second, you have the right to refuse to answer any questions. If you are stopped, you only must identify yourself and show proof of insurance. Anything further is not legally required.
It is critical to contact Houston DWI attorney Tristan LeGrande immediately if you have been charged with a DWI; the State of Texas will take actions to suspend your drivers license and will aggressively pursue criminal charges against you.
TEXAS DWI LAW
The Texas Penal Code outlines DWI crimes in Texas:
Sec. 49.04. DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED.
(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.
Two key things you need to notice in the DWI statute:
- …If the person is “intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle.” This can take the form of the Field Sobriety tests, officer observations, dash-cam video, intake video, blood evidence for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), breathalyzer analysis for BAC, etc. Each one of these pieces can be used as evidence of intoxication. You need an attorney that knows how to analyze this evidence and attack the veracity of the evidence. If your case goes to trial, you need an attorney that knows how to fight to exclude some or all of this evidence, how to discredit each piece of evidence in front of a jury, and how to explain each piece of the evidence as not indicating intoxication.T
- The minimum term of confinement. This is a relatively new addition to the Penal Code. It requires that you serve a minimum of 72 hours in jail for a conviction of a DWI in Texas. This can be, and often is waived by the District Attorney under probation agreements for a first offense.
Sec. 49.045. DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED WITH CHILD PASSENGER.
(a) A person commits an offense if:
(1) the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and
(2) the vehicle being operated by the person is occupied by a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age.
(b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
Texas takes a hard line stance on DWI with a child passenger, you will notice above that it is a felony. If you have been charged with a DWI with a child passenger you need to hire an attorney that will fight to defend your case, and if not get the charges dismissed or get you a not guilty verdict, to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor.
Sec. 49.07. INTOXICATION ASSAULT.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake:
(1) while operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated, or while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another; or
(2) as a result of assembling a mobile amusement ride while intoxicated causes serious bodily injury to another.
(b) In this section, “serious bodily injury” means injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
(c) Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.
Sec. 49.08. INTOXICATION MANSLAUGHTER.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride; and
(2) is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake.
(b) Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.
Intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter are serious felony Driving While Intoxicated Offenses. You need an attorney to scrutinize all of the facts and evidence in your case and present you with the best possible defense.
Multiple DWI’s mean that the crime is enhanced. A second DWI is charged as Class A Misdemeanor. A Third DWI is charged as 3rd Degree Felony. These are serious DWI charges – need a tough attorney in your corner to fight the State of Texas in your prosecution for these offenses.
IF CHARGED WITH A DWI YOU ONLY HAVE 15 DAYS TO SAVE YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE !
If you are dealing with criminal charges relating to a DWI in Houston, contact defense lawyer
Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500 to schedule a free consultation to go over the details of the case.