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FAQs About a Texas DWI


Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is the one offense that is commonly committed every day by non-criminals. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), “About every 20 minutes in Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol.” A lot of drivers don’t realize that impairment starts after just one drink. Since so few people understand the effects of alcohol, let alone Texas’ DWI laws, they end up drinking “too much” and getting arrested for DWI.

If you’re facing DWI charges for the first time, surely, you have questions about the law and the penalties involved. Here, we compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers about a Texas DWI. We encourage you to read them and if you have questions or need a DWI defense, don’t hesitate to contact our firm directly.

1. Where can I find Texas’ DWI law? In Texas, driving while intoxicated is covered under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. Under Sec. 49.04(a), you commit the offense of DWI if you are “intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.”

2. Can I get a DWI with a low BAC? While it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% in all 50 states, drivers can still be arrested and charged with DWI in Texas if their BAC is below .08%. All the state has to do is prove that a driver was impaired by the introduction of alcohol or drugs and the driver can be found guilty of DWI.

3. Can a DWI affect my immigration status? A misdemeanor DWI does not typically trigger removal proceedings; however, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If a Green Card holder is charged with a felony DWI or a drug-related DWI, a judge can decide to place the immigrant in removal proceedings. If it’s a misdemeanor DWI but the Green Card holder has a lengthy criminal history, or if they were convicted of marijuana possession but not deported for it in the past, the new DWI charge can be an issue to an immigration judge.

4. Is DWI a felony in Texas? Most first and second DWI offenses are misdemeanors in Texas. However, a driver can face felony DWI charges if someone else was seriously injured or killed, or if it’s the driver’s third DWI offense. So, as long as it’s not your third DWI and no one was seriously injured or killed, you should be facing misdemeanor charges.

5. What are the penalties for DWI? A simple first DWI (no aggravating factors) is punishable by a fine up to $2,000, by up to 180 days in jail, up to a one year license suspension, and an annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 to keep your driver’s license.

6. Can I get a DWI for driving on my meds? Yes. You can get a DWI for driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medications, or even some over-the-counter medications, such as cold and allergy medications that make you groggy.

Need a Denton DWI lawyer? Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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