Types of DWI / DUI Offenses in Texas

Aggressive San Antonio DWI Lawyer

Public advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) ranks Texas fourth in the nation for the rate of alcohol-related traffic deaths. Of all motor vehicle accident fatalities on the roads throughout the state, 40 percent involve drivers who had been drinking. In an effort to reduce the numbers of injuries and deaths caused by drunk drivers, the state legislature has enacted tough laws to punish those who drive after consuming alcohol or drugs. The Texas Penal Code contains a number of different statutes concerning drinking and driving.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Many states throughout the country refer to drunk driving as driving under the influence (DUI), while others use the term driving while intoxicated (DWI). Texas law employs both terms, but uses each one to refer to a different offense. In San Antonio, DUI refers to underage drinking and driving, and it is a zero-tolerance law. A driver under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI if he or she is caught with any detectable amount of alcohol in the blood or breath sample. DUI penalties include a $500 fine, a 60-day driver's license suspension, between 20 and 40 hours of court-ordered community service, and an order to participate in an alcohol awareness class.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

Most drunk driving offenses are charged as DWI. A DWI violation occurs in either one of two ways: as a per se DWI or when the driver's abilities are impaired. In the former, the driver's blood or breath test has demonstrated that he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. In the latter, the law enforcement officer observed signs that the driver's abilities were impaired by drugs or alcohol, such as in a failed field sobriety test or signs including slurred speech.

Penalties for a first-time DWI include a $2,000 fine, between 3 and 180 days in jail, a 1-year driver's license suspension and additional fees. The penalties for DWI increase for subsequent offenses, to the point where a third arrest can lead to felony charges. There are additionally sentence enhancements for driving with an especially high BAC or for DWI with a child passenger.

Intoxication Assault

Under Texas Penal Code §49.07, it is a third-degree felony to cause a traffic accident while driving drunk, provided that the collision results in the serious bodily injury of another person. The statute defines "serious bodily injury" as being any injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which leaves the accident victim with serious and permanent disfigurement or a protracted loss of function of any body part. A conviction for intoxication manslaughter is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Intoxication Manslaughter

When a driver causes the death of another person in a motor vehicle accident, and the fatal collision is attributable to the fact that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the incident, he or she can be charged with intoxication manslaughter under Texas Penal Code §49.08. The offense is a felony of the second degree, and it carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.

More than 10 Years of Criminal Defense Experience

At Law Office of Kerrisa Chelkowski, I represent clients who are charged with all types of DWI and DUI charges, and I am ready to take immediate action on your case. When you have been arrested and charged with an alcohol-related driving offense, you need a dedicated San Antonio DWI defense attorney on your side. Let me fight to clear your name and safeguard you against the serious consequences you face. As a former prosecutor, I can more adequately gauge how the other side of the courtroom operates, using their own tactics against them. Allow me to investigate your case, looking for every piece of evidence that can be useful in your defense.

Call me today at (210) 201-7821 to learn more or fill out my free case evaluation today!

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