Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Austin is a serious criminal offense that could influence both your everyday life and your future. With DWI laws in Texas being some of the most stringent in the country, the consequences are significant, from high fines affecting your personal finances to the suspension of your drivers license-and possibly even jail time.
Challenging DWI charges can be difficult, as there will either be an acquittal or a prosecution with no plea bargaining involved. With that in mind, it is essential for anyone accused of a DWI to seek counsel and ask a dedicated and experienced attorney, "What are the penalties for DWI in Austin?"
At Hines Ranc & Holub, we know the laws surrounding drinking and driving, and we can help you through every stage of your case. If you have questions regarding the penalties you might face as a result of your DWI charges, we can help you find both answers and solutions.
How Is Driving While Intoxicated Determined?
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol in Austin. The level of intoxication is influenced by one's gender, weight, the amount of food in the body, and the number of drinks consumed.
A person is legally intoxicated in Texas when his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .08 percent. At that point, an adult can be arrested and charged with DWI. For minors, the Texas BAC limit is any detectable amount.
Drivers may also be considered intoxicated if they are obviously impaired but have a BAC below the legal limit, meaning that this determination is a judgment call made by the arresting officer.
Consequences for DWI in Austin
In Austin, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over for a traffic stop. After observing the driver, any behavior that would indicate intoxication, such as slurred speech or imbalance, will justify the officer in requesting a breathalyzer or blood test. A refusal of either of these tests will result in an automatic license suspension of 180 days.
If convicted of DWI, consequences can be serious and life altering, with multiple offenses increasing the severity:
A first DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor, and your drivers license could be suspended for anywhere from three months to a full year. You could spend between seventy-two hours and 180 days in jail. Fines can go all the way up to $2,000 and you could also be penalized with an annual fee of either $1,000 or $2,000 for three years if you want to keep your license.
The second time you are convicted of DWI, it will be a Class A misdemeanor. The resulting fine could be as much as $4,000 with an annual fee between $1,000 and $2,000 for three years to retain your license. You could receive a sentence of between thirty days and one year in jail, and your license could be suspended for between 180 days and two years.
A third-offense DWI is accompanied by some steep penalties and is a third-degree felony. You could receive a fine of $10,000 and a three-year annual drivers license retention fee between $1,000 and $2,000. Your license could be suspended for 180 days to two full years, and you could be sentenced to two to ten years in prison.
Other DWI Penalties
In Austin, after two or more convictions within a five-year period, a special ignition switch (called an interlock ignition device) will be installed in your vehicle. This device prevents the vehicle from working if alcohol use is detected.
Furthermore, an intoxicated driver caught with a child passenger under the age of fifteen can be charged with child endangerment, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, up to two years in jail, and a license suspension of 180 days.
How Hines Ranc & Holub Can Help with Your DWI
If you are charged with DWI in Austin, the experienced attorneys of Hines Ranc & Holub are dedicated to helping your case by either reducing the consequences you are facing or by having the charges against you dismissed.
Call our on-call attorney now to discuss your case now.
No matter how complex your charges may seem, you can have peace of mind knowing our legal team is behind you. You aren’t in this battle alone. Get our Austin criminal attorneys on your side today.