Drinking and Driving
It is important to remember that every single injury or death that is caused by drunk driving is 100% preventable. While the overall percentage of alcohol related deaths has dropped dramatically in recent years, mainly due to increased awareness and stricter drunk driving laws, it still remains a serious problem in this country, especially in the state of Texas. In the state of Texas alone, more than 85,000 people are arrested for drunk driving every year, resulting in more than 3000 fatalities. Not only is drunk driving a senseless crime, but it is also one that is completely preventable.
DUI and DWI in Texas
While the vast majority of states do not distinguish between Driving under the Influence (DUI) and Driving while Intoxicated (DWI), Texas is one of a handful of states that does. In Texas, a DUI is classified as a class “C” misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500.00 and no mandatory jail time for the first offense. To get a DUI in Texas you must have a blood alcohol level of below .08, which is the legal limit, but still deemed not fit to drive the vehicle. DUI’s are more common in Texas for citizens under the age of 21, where the faint smell of alcohol at a traffic stop will result in an automatic DUI.
A DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor and brings with it a large fine, a suspended driver’s license, and a minimum jail time of 72 hours. To get a DWI in the state of Texas, the individual’s blood alcohol levels must exceed the nationwide limit of .08. It is also important to remember that if the individual has an open container of alcohol present at the time of arrest, the minimum jail time under state law will be increased to 6 days mandatory. It is also important to be aware that additional DWI convictions will result in exponentially worse punishments like multiple years in prison and a life-time ban on driving privileges.
What to Do if You’re Facing DUI / DWI Charges
If you find yourself facing DUI / DWI charges in the state of Texas, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to hire an experienced DWI attorney. It might cost you a little more upfront, but can potentially save you thousands of dollars in fines and potential jail time down the line. Another great thing you can do is to check yourself into some type of alcohol treatment program. While most courts actually include some type of alcohol treatment into their overall punishment, it looks really good to the court if you have already undertaken treatment on your own and are being honest and mature about your potential problems with alcohol.