At Alex Hernandez Jr., Criminal Law, we see many DWI and DUI cases. If you are in need of a DWI attorney or DUI defense attorney, do not hesitate to get in touch with us, regardless of the situation. We will defend you and make sure your rights are upheld throughout the legal proceedings of a DWI case.
Continue reading for a basic overview of DWI and DUI laws in Texas. Keep in mind that these laws are subject to change by the time you read this, so be sure to give your DWI lawyer a call if you are facing an arrest or trial for driving under the influence.
DWI Versus DUI
DWI stands for ‘driving while intoxicated’, whereas DUI stands for ‘driving under the influence’. DUIs are usually given to people under the age of 21 or is impaired by an illegal drug. DWIs can be given for driving while under the influence of alcohol above the legal limit or driving while impaired by a controlled substance, or an illegal or dangerous drug. Currently, there is no standardized limit for drug impairment while driving, but you can still face legal consequences for doing so.
BAC And Exceptions: Commercial Drivers And Persons Under 21
BAc refers to blood alcohol concentration and is a way to determine how much alcohol is in your system. While the BAC limit for most circumstances is .08 percent, commercial drivers can be arrested for DWI with a BAC of .04 percent or higher. Additionally, anyone under the age of 21 can be arrested for DWI with anything above 0.0 percent BAC.
How Much Is Too Much To Drink?
If you have to ask yourself if you’re okay to drive home, you most likely are not and it is better to be safe than sorry. However, even if you do not feel buzzed, a roadside breathalyzer can say differently. Based on your weight, you may blow a .08 percent at a different rate than your spouse or buddy. For example, it is estimated (and don’t rely on these estimates to determine if you can drive or not), that a 120-pound person will hit the legal limit after three drinks, whereas a 200-pound person may not hit it until five drinks. When in doubt, have a sober person drive.
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Do I Have To Take A Breathalyzer?
The short answer is no, you do not have to take a breathalyzer test if asked by a police officer. However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. In Texas, chemical tests like breathalyzers fall under “implied consent.” This means that when you get behind the wheel, you have implied your consent to a breathalyzer if law enforcement suspects you are impaired.
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer – or even if you take one and fail – you will most likely have your license suspended. Your first offense of refusing to take a breathalyzer can result in a 180-day suspension of your driver’s license. If you are later caught driving with a suspended license, you will face more legal consequences. For your second offense of refusing a test, you can face up to two years with a suspended license.
If you fail a chemical blood or breathalyzer test, meaning you test positive for higher than the legal limit of alcohol in your system, you can have your license suspended for 90 days for the first offense, and one year for the second (these sentences are often shorter for minors).
What To Do After A Failed Or Refused Breathalyzer
As always, everyone will have their day in court. If you fail a breathalyzer or flat out refuse to take it, you will be most often be issued a temporary driving permit. Immediately afterward, you should call your DUI defense attorney because you only have 15 days to request a hearing in court. If you do not request a hearing, your license suspension will kick in soon afterward.
Even if you were not driving under the influence and you simply refused to take the test for other reasons, you can still be found guilty at your hearing, making it all the more important to have a qualified DWI attorney by your side.
Driving drunk is always a bad idea. Your life can go from wonderful to terrible with one simple decision, and we always recommend having a designated driver or calling an Uber or a cab if you have been drinking. Here are some legal penalties you may face when arrested for DWI, even if you have not been involved in an accident:
- Heavy fines and fees – including court fees and defense attorney fees
- Prison and jail time, especially if you kill somebody because of your actions
- Suspended license and revoked driving rights
- Car insurance premiums are likely to go up significantly
- Sentenced to community service or DWI education programs
Arrested For DUI Or DWI? Call Your DWI Attorney ASAP
Alex Hernandez, Jr., Criminal Law is your criminal defense attorney serving San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin, Victoria, Laredo, and the surrounding areas. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, we want to stand by you and ensure that your rights are not violated. Regardless of the circumstance, do not hesitate to get in touch with your DWI attorney today.