Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can become a serious issue depending on the circumstances you are in and how you conduct yourself with the police officer who pulls you over.
To be “under the influence” can mean two things:
- You have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more
- You are unable to function “normally” on a physical or mental level due to the substances you ingested
If the police arrest you for your suspected DWI, the local DMV can revoke your license if you do not cooperate with them. Especially if you refuse or fail a chemical test, the agency that arrested you can take your license immediately.
At this point, you would receive a Notice of Suspension which provides you a temporary license for 15 days. During this time, you can schedule a hearing to contest your suspension, and if you do not do this, your license will remain suspended for 90 days from the 40th day after your arrest. Once you request a hearing, your temporary license will remain effective until the court completes your case.
As your first offense in Texas, you have a few more options than if you receive a second or third offense. During your license suspension period, you may be able to get an occupational license which allows you to legally travel to work or school and other places necessary for everyday life.
- Fines: Your fine can range from less than $2,000 to $4,000 depending on your BAC; the judge may also require you to take a DWI class
- BAC limits: If you have a BAC of 0.15% or more, your offense could be a class A misdemeanor, but if it is less, the court will likely classify it as a class B
- Jail time: With a BAC of less than 0.15%, you could be sentenced with between four days to six months of jail time; with a BAC of more than 0.15% you could be sentenced with more than one year of jail time
- Injured passenger: If you injure someone, the judge could charge you with a third-degree felony, which often comes with jail time of two to 10 years and a $10,000 fine
As a first offender, it is important that you have the right people on your side to handle your case in the best way and minimize your charges as much as possible. If you work with an experienced DWI lawyer, he or she may help walk you through Texas laws and navigate court time to protect your rights.