Each U.S. state has its own set of drunk-driving laws, but there are certain concepts and features common to most states' drunk-driving jurisprudence. Basically, as we all know, it is illegal and a crime for a person to operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol and/or drugs to a degree that impairs his or her ability to drive safely. Both criminal and civil penalties for drunk driving can be harsh and often include loss or suspension of license, large fines, treatment, jail or prison time, community service, restitution, and a criminal record.
If you have been stopped for, arrested for, or charged with drunk driving, it is in your best interest to discuss your options and rights as soon as possible with an experienced Houston DWI Attorney. Drunk-driving law is complex and the guidance of a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
A first-offense conviction includes a fine not to exceed $2,000.00 and/or the possibility of serving jail time from 3 days to 180 days, and a driver license suspension of 90 to 365 days. (Class B Misdemeanor).
For Second Offenses, the maximum fine increases to no more than $4,000.00 and/or jail from 30 days to one year, and a possible driver license suspension ranging from 180 days to 2 years. (Class A Misdemeanor).
On your third defense, you may receive a fine of up to $10,000.00 and/or 2 to 10 years of imprisonment, and suspension of your driver's license ranging from 180 days up to 2 years. (3rd Degree Felony).
DWI with an Open Container
DWI with an open alcohol container (first offense): Increases the penalty referenced above to a minimum of 6 days in jail. (Class B Misdemeanor).
DWI with an Accident
DWI with an accident where serious bodily injury occurred as a proximate cause of the intoxication: this crime is called intoxication assault, and upon conviction you may serve a minimum of 2 years up to a maximum of 10 years in jail. Additionally, you may be fined up to $10,000.00. (3rd Degree Felony).
DWI Involving Death
DWI where a death has occurred as a proximate cause of the intoxication: here, the crime is intoxication manslaughter. Upon conviction, you might have to pay a maximum fine of $10,000.00 and/or be imprisoned from 2 to 20 years (Intoxicated Manslaughter or Manslaughter with use of Deadly Weapon are both 2nd Degree Felonies).
DWI with a Child Passenger
DWI with a child passenger: A person commits a state jail felony if they drive while intoxicated and there is another person in the vehicle who is under 15 years of age. Punishment for a non-enhanced state jail felony is by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than 2 years or less than 180 days and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00.