If you or a loved one was arrested for a DWI in Galveston, TX, you may find yourself in a vulnerable position. This is because Texas DWI laws are harsh and can impact your life in a collection of ways. DWI convictions can result in the loss of your driving privileges, a lengthy jail sentence, and a criminal record that can affect you later in life. At the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, we understand the stress that a DWI charge can bring and are ready to help ease that burden for you.
In a DWI case, hiring a skilled defense attorney should be your main priority. Here at the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, our team is passionate about defending the rights of Texas residents. We have handled numerous DWI cases, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, and have experience building defenses capable of fighting difficult claims. As a firm that offers a range of criminal defense services, our team shares immense knowledge of Texas law and is prepared to take on challenging cases. For representation in a Galveston DWI case, talk to our firm immediately.
Every state has the power to create its own laws defining drunk driving and how it should be penalized within its borders. In Texas, it is illegal for an individual to operate any kind of vehicle on the road while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If someone is found to be driving dangerously while intoxicated, an officer may arrest them for “driving while intoxicated.” A DWI can result in many different penalties, depending on the circumstances and how serious the offense was.
Texas DWI laws state that an individual legally cannot drive a vehicle if they are impaired by drugs or have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater. A 0.08% BAC is the legal limit of intoxication, meaning that anything greater can result in significant impairment and endanger other drivers if it hasn’t already. However, all drivers should note that driving while impaired in any way is still against the law. If someone is driving dangerously, whether in a vehicle or a boat, and a law enforcement officer pulls them over, they can still be arrested for a DWI if they are impaired, even if their levels are below 0.08%.
Many drivers become defensive when they are pulled over or arrested on suspicion of a DWI. This may ultimately result in them being confrontational, questioning the officer’s suspicion, or even refusing to take a drug/alcohol test. Most drivers don’t know that they are legally required to comply with state-approved tests if they are arrested for a suspected DWI. This is due to the state’s implied consent law, which says that any individual arrested for a DWI automatically consents to blood or breath tests to determine their level of intoxication. If you refuse to take the tests that are asked of you, you will consequently face legal penalties, even if you aren’t charged with a DWI.
The more DWI convictions an individual has, the more intense the consequences will be if they are charged again. The penalties for DWI charges increase drastically with subsequent offenses in hopes of preventing repeat violations. The following are legal consequences that come with varying DWI offenses.
If an individual is convicted of a DWI for the first time, and there are no aggravating factors, the charge will be viewed as a Class B misdemeanor. The penalties for a first-time DWI conviction include:
If someone is charged with their second DWI in Texas, it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Consequences can involve:
After an individual is arrested three or more times for a DWI in Texas, their offenses then become classified as third-degree felonies if they are not aggravated. If a driver is under the influence and causes an accident that results in the serious bodily injury of another person, this is also considered a felony, whether it is their first or third offense. Third-degree felony penalties can include:
When an intoxicated driver is found to be operating their vehicle with a child inside, they can be charged with a unique type of DWI in Texas. A DWI with a child passenger occurs when an individual has a passenger who is 15 years old or younger in their vehicle while they are driving under the influence. If an individual is charged with a DWI with a child passenger, it is automatically considered a state jail felony. This is because this offense is viewed as a form of child endangerment. Penalties for this charge can involve:
“Driving under the influence” charges are most commonly known as “DUIs” across the country. In some states, though, impaired driving charges are called DWIs. While both DWIs and DUIs refer to the same kinds of charges, each state has varying laws defining the official offense. Because most states use the acronym “DUI” for charges involving impaired driving, you may notice that the terms “DUI” and “DWI” are used interchangeably in your Texas case. Legally, however, an impaired driving charge for anyone over the age of 21 is defined as a DWI.
Impaired driving laws are even stricter for individuals who are under the age of 21. This is because, not only are they not of the legal drinking age, but they are also committing a crime when they get behind the wheel. Texas law states that any individual who is under 21 and found to be driving while impaired can be charged with a DUI. DUIs are only used when the defendant is under the age of 21.
A: Yes, all defendants have the potential to have their DWI charges dismissed. While it is not common, sometimes DWI cases are dismissed if the prosecution is unable to prove that the defendant was impaired enough to be a danger or if the defense can prove that there were problems with the arrest. For example, if an officer pulls you over without “reasonable suspicion,” this may be enough to have your case dismissed.
A: Because impaired drivers have the potential to cause a great deal of harm to other people on the road, the state has harsh penalties in place to deter people from driving while intoxicated. In Texas, anyone who is convicted of a DWI will face an automatic license suspension. If you have prior DWI charges on your record, and are arrested for another one, your license may be revoked completely.
A: Yes, Texas law states that it is illegal for any kind of open alcoholic container to be within the reach of drivers or their passengers. This means that open containers cannot be consumed by passengers or be in the glovebox, in the center console, in cupholders, or anywhere in the front portion of the car. If open alcohol absolutely must be transported, it must be kept in the trunk of the vehicle at all times.
A: When Texas says that it is a zero-tolerance state, this is referring to alcoholic consumption by minors. Texas law states that it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to operate a vehicle if they have any detectable amount of drugs or alcohol in their system. This can include boats, cars, and other kinds of vehicles that have the potential to cause injury.
If our years of experience have taught us anything, it’s that no DWI case is like another. That’s why the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, is committed to providing defense services that are tailored to each of our clients and their personal situations. For criminal defense against a DWI, contact our Galveston firm to schedule a consultation. A Galveston DWI lawyer is prepared to help.