Driving while under the influence is a more common occurrence than many imagine. In fact, research reveals that a high number of individuals feel comfortable getting behind the wheel after having several drinks. Due to this issue becoming more prevalent in our society, it is crucial to provide more information on the topic. Law enforcement is dedicated to protecting the roads of Texas by monitoring for any DWI suspected activity.
In the event that you are suspected of or charged with a DWI, it is critical to have a team by your side. James H. Horton Law Firm, P.C. can help explain the laws that exist in Texas, helping you prepare if necessary.
What is the BAC Limit?
There is a common misconception that the 0.08 blood alcohol content regulation is a hard and fast rule. While it is true that you will face charges for a BAC of 0.08 and higher, there are also other situations where law enforcement can pull you over. If you have had a small amount to drink, but your driving and mental capabilities are impacted, you can still be stopped. You might find yourself wondering, what notifies law enforcement that you may be under the influence?
Signs of Impaired Driving
There are several signs that point towards driving while impaired. Perhaps the easiest one to spot is swerving, a sign that the driver is not able to focus properly. Law enforcement keeps their eyes peeled for this first. Other signs include sudden or frequent stopping, as well as random acceleration. Following another car too closely is also another potential signifier of driving under the influence. Without the capacity to make safe decisions, drivers could also fail to adhere to the basic driving laws, such as stopping at lights.
If You Are Pulled Over
If you are pulled over and suspected of driving while impaired, you can face several different tests. These are established in order to determine whether or not an individual is under the influence. Within the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, there are three different processes that you have to go through.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test: This involves the officer assessing the eyes of the individual. They will move a pen or another small object back and forth to track their movement.
Walk-and-Turn Test: In this test, the individual will be instructed to take roughly 9 steps one way and back in a straight line. If they are unable to keep their balance or follow the line, they may be impaired.
One-Leg Stand Test: The officer will tell the individual to balance one foot in the air for 30 seconds. If they are unable to keep their balance, sway, or bounce, that can signify intoxication.
What Happens If You Are Charged
Depending on the number of offenses you have, the level of charges is different in Texas.
If you are facing your first DWI offense in Texas, you could have up to a 180 day stay in prison. Furthermore, there is the potential for anywhere between 24-200 hours of community service. Your license could face up to a year of suspension as well. There is the potential for up to $2,000 in fines, not including the additional costs to retain your license.
With a second DWI offense, you face more severe penalties. Your prison stay could be as long as a year, with a potential for 80-200 hours of additional community service. The length of time for license suspension is also longer, up to 2 years. Fines could go up to $4,000 in these cases. Furthermore, you will have to install a Deep Lung Air Device, which monitors your BAC and shuts off the vehicle if it is over the limit.
Facing a third-time DWI offense results in up to 10 years in prison, and anywhere from 140-800 hours of community service. Your license could be suspended for up to 2 years still. However, fines could be up to $10,000. You will still have to install the Deep Lung Air Device in your vehicle.
Facing Charges? James H. Horton Law Firm, P.C. is Here
Going through a DWI charge is by no means an easy process. Having an experienced defense team on your side can drastically change your outcome.