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DWI and DUI Penalties in Texas

Date Added: May 14, 2008 11:15:16 AM
Author: Cristina Olvera
Category: Texas: Drunk Driving Defense
In Texas the term most often used is DWI which means driving while intoxicated. The term DUI or driving under the influence is used in Texas, but it is used only to refer to those under the age of 21 who operate a motor vehicle with any detectable alcohol in the minor's system. DUI's in Texas carry a lesser charge than those of DWI's.

In order to obtain a conviction the following must first be proved. The person must be intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. The term intoxicated means two things. First means not having normal use of mental and 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. Secondly the term intoxication means having a a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.

Texas has recently enacted the toughest DWI laws in its history. Misdemeanor offenders can now face up to two year license suspension without the possibility of even a work-related driving permit. Repeat offenders often face punishments comparable to those meted out for sex-offenders and felony level theft offenses. Almost every person arrested for a DWI or DUI in Texas has more than one case to defend against.

Penalties for the first DWI are a jail sentence of up to 180 days, an optional fine of up to $2,000 dollars and a one year license suspension. The jail sentence is almost always probated. A second arrest within ten years of the first offense carries a punishment of up to a year in jail, a $4,000 fine and a two year license suspension. Felony level offenses provide for a minimum of two years in state prison and as many as twenty years for an intoxication manslaughter charge. It is not uncommon for a driver arrested for a felony DWI to receive a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
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