Driving While Intoxicated is a serious offense to be charged with, and the relevant statutes are found in Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code. To be guilty of DWI the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
Generally speaking, the State may prove intoxication by introducing evidence that (at the time of the offense) the defendant’s blood alcohol level was .08 or more, or that the person had lost the normal use of his mental or physical faculties through the introduction of alcohol or drugs or any combination of the two.
Just how serious is this charge? Well that depends on a number of factors. I will address them in order beginning with the least serious charge.
A first offense DWI is generally a Class B misdemeanor which carries a punishment of a minimum of 72 hours (6 days if combined with an Open Container), and a maximum of 180 days in the county jail. The fine for this offense cannot exceed $2,000.
That said, if the State can prove that the person accused had a blood alcohol content of .15 or greater at “the time the analysis was performed” then it can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, and this carries a punishment of the minimum stated above and a maximum of 1 Year in the county jail, with a fine not to exceed $4,000.
Moreover, if a person has previously been convicted of a DWI (in any state) then a subsequent DWI may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor with a minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum identical that stated in the previous paragraph.
A DWI may also be charged as a State Jail Felony if the State can prove that the person had a passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle at the time he was driving while intoxicated. This offense carries a punishment of a minimum of 180 days and a maximum of 2 years in State Jail, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
A person may be charged with a 3rd Degree Felony DWI (Repetition-3rd or more) if he has 2 previous DWI convictions at the time of the offense. In this case the punishment range is a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 10 years in prison, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI, please call me now at 940-613-0115 for a free consultation.