DWI/DUI

DWI/DUI

What's a DWI in Montgomery County, Texas?

Texas defines Driving While Intoxicated as operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. A public place could be a roadway, a lake, river, highway, or any public place.

Intoxication is the most controversial issue in DWI cases. Ronnie Yeates is adept at cross-examining witnesses and scrutinizing evidence to resolve technical problems.

Typically, officers will ask you to complete several field sobriety tests. An in-car and/or body camera will record your movements and take photos. The state will attempt to use all statements or actions against you in court. Field sobriety tests are not an accurate indicator of intoxication, and hiring a knowledgeable DIW layer to review our case is very important to ensure your rights are protected.

Texas DWI Laws & Statutes

Texas has some of the harshest penalties for intoxicated driving.

Texas Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas is defined in Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code as:

  • "a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place."

Intoxicated in Texas is defined in Section 49.01 of the Texas Penal Code Section as:

  • "not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body."
  • "having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more."

Blood Alcohol Level and Charges

In Texas, DWI is determined by the amount of alcohol in your blood (or blood alcohol content) at the time you were arrested.

Texas Penalties For Driving While Intoxicated

The Texas DWI law raises the penalties for DWI offenses based on the number and severity of DWI offenses.

It is important to note that Texas does not have a look-back period for DWI.

Possible punishment for your first DWI offense with BAC less than .15

  • Class B Misdemeanor
  • Fine up to $2,000
  • Jail term: Between 72 hours and 180 days
  • License suspension: Maximum two years
  • Community Service Hours
  • DWI Intervention or Education Program
  • Mandatory Civil fee of $3000.00
  • Possible ignition interlock device

Possible punishment for your first DWI offense with a BAC of more than .15

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Fine up to $4,000
  • Jail term: 72 hours to one year
  • License suspension: Maximum two years
  • Community Service Hours
  • Mandatory Civil fee of $6000.00
  • Possible Ignition interlock device

 Possible punishment for your second DWI offense

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Fine up to $4,000
  • Jail term: 30 days to one year
  • License suspension: Maximum two years
  • Community Service hours
  • DWI Intervention or Education Program
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock device

Third offense and subsequent DWI offenses:

  • Third-degree Felony
  • Fine up to $10,000
  • Jail term: Between two and ten years
  • License suspension: Maximum two years
  • Community Service Hours
  • DWI Intervention or Education Program
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock device

OTHER ALCOHOL-RELATED OFFENSES

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) for persons under 21

Anyone under 21 can be charged with DUI in Texas. An officer can arrest for simply having the odor of an alcoholic beverage on your breath while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. There doesn't have to be any tests. But, if they do tests and get a breath or blood sample, a person under 21 can be charged with DWI, a much more serious offense.

Punishments for Class C Misdemeanor DUI conviction (17-20 yoa)

  • 1st and 2nd offense
    • Fine up to $500
    • Community Service Hours
    • Alcohol Awareness Class
    • License Suspension
  • 3rd Offense
    • Fine of $500 to $2000
    • Up to 180 days in jail
    • Community Service Hours
    • Alcohol Awareness Class
    • License Suspension

What is the punishment for someone under 21 convicted of DWI in Texas?

  • Class B Misdemeanor
  • Fine from $250 up to $2,000
  • Jail term: Between 72 hours and 180 days
  • License suspension for one year unless he has an Interlock Device
  • Community Service Hours
  • DWI Intervention or Education Program
  • Mandatory Civil fee of $3000.00
  • Possible ignition interlock device

Public Intoxication

Anyone, regardless of age, found in public places and intoxicated to the point that they could endanger others or themselves may be charged with public intoxication. These include sidewalks, common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, office buildings, transport facilities, and shopping areas.

Minor in Possession (MIP)

Minor in possession is against the law. Anyone under 21 years old cannot possess alcohol unless it is within the scope of employment, visible presence of a parent, legal guardian, or spouse, or under the supervision of the police when doing MIP stings.

Punishments for MIP

  • 1st and 2nd Offense
    • Fine up to $500
    • Community Service Hours
    • 30 to 60-day DL suspension
    • Alcohol Awareness Class
  • 3rd Offense
    • Class B Misdemeanor
    • Fine from $250 up to $2,000
    • Jail term: Between 72 hours and 180 days
    • 180-day DL suspension
    • Community Service Hours
    • DWI Intervention or Education Program

Other serious alcohol-related crimes

DWI with a child passenger

Anyone who operates a motor vehicle in a public place and has a child with them may be charged with child endangerment. Texas child harm convictions can result in up to $10,000 in fines, a 180-day suspension of driver's license, and a maximum of $10,000 in jail time.

Possible consequences for being convicted of Texas DWI with a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle:

  • 180 days to 2 years Texas Department of Corrections (prison)
  • Fines up to $10k
  • Up to 1000 hours of Community Service
  • An ignition interlock device must be installed in your vehicle.
  • Possible Probation
  • Repeat alcohol offender's courses
  • Victim Impact Panel
  • Higher auto insurance costs

What happens after I'm arrested for DWI?

If you fail a breath or blood test, your driver's license may be suspended for up to 90 days. You only have 15 days to request a hearing to fight your DL suspension (An ALR Hearing). Quickly hiring an attorney makes a difference.

Why you should get a lawyer to represent you at your ALR hearing

An experienced lawyer can help you make the most robust case for your driver's license reinstatement. If the judge rules in favor of the state, your driver's license will be suspended.

Obtaining an occupational driver's license after a DWI

If your driver's license has been suspended, you may be eligible for an occupational driving license. Depending on the facts, you could drive with little to no restrictions or many restrictions, including curfews on driving and restrictions on locations. This allows you to drive to work, school, home, and necessary events or buildings.

You must request an occupational license from the county in which you live or the court responsible for the offense. The court order can also be used to issue a temporary driver's license while your occupational licensing request is being processed.

There may be a 180-day wait period for driver's license suspensions. It is recommended that you consult an attorney to discuss your options.

No Refusal Weekends in Conroe & Houston Texas

Law enforcement may hold "No Refusal Weekends" to curb drunk driving. Texas law requires all drivers to consent to a breath test or a blood draw. If a driver refuses, and the officers can articulate to a judge, they may get a warrant to take your blood.

Texas Field Sobriety Testing used for DWI Arrests

People are sometimes pulled over on suspicion of DWI. However, they are just tired, ill, or distracted. There are three standardized tests officers can ask a person to perform. A person does not have to do them. These tests are:

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
  2. Walk and Turn
  3. One Leg Stand

Horizontal gaze nystagmus:  Nystagmus is an involuntary bounce or jerking sensation in the eyeball. It's caused by disturbances to the inner ear system or the oculomotor control of the eyes.

Walk and turn:   A divided attention test where a person is asked to walk nine steps, turn around, and walk nine steps back.

One Leg Stand:  A divided attention test where officers will have a person stand on one leg and count to 30.

Police Make Mistakes

An officer can stop someone based on a 911 call, but an anonymous 911 call is insufficient to warrant a DWI arrest.

A vehicle can be stopped without any evidence of the violation

Officers cannot pull people over because they feel they have to. Without this evidence, any arrest or stop will be inadmissible before the court.

Mistakes in BAC Testing Equipment

The Intoxilyzer (Breath Test Machine) can detect alcohol in a person's breath. But it is not infallible. There are many ways a machine can give an inaccurate reading. Lifestyle factors like diabetes or diets can also cause abnormally high readings. Also, unkept machines, radio frequency, and other human error issues can throw off the readings. Hiring an experienced DWI lawyer is vital to finding these mistakes and issues and making the state prove its case.

Blood Testing instruments are used in hospitals, but the requirements to operate them are different for the state analyst and those treating you in a hospital. These instruments must be validated annually, use specialized mixtures to assure proper testing, and count on the near-perfect human ability to ensure everything is done correctly. Making sure you have someone who knows how to attack these tests is essential.

Contact Our Office Today!

Call (832) LAW-1000 to confidentially discuss your case with Ronnie Yeates, a local criminal defense lawyer.

Call 24/7 for emergency assistance

 

 

Ronnie Yeates is an experienced Harris County DWI Attorney and also specializes in The Woodlands, Conroe, TX, Montgomery County, and surrounding areas.

 

 

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