Anyone charged with a DWI offense is a concern in all states, although it is taken more seriously in some rather than others – and in the state of Texas, offenders may face some very severe penalties. DWI/DUI penalties in College Station Texas are indeed significant and drivers should really think twice before driving after consuming alcohol. Any fines and penalties received could result in both current and long-term side effects that may be very unpleasant to face.
DWI/DUI in Texas – Definition
Although similar, there is a difference between DWI and DUI in Texas. DWI is defined as “driving while intoxicated,” a charge made to anyone who has been stopped for driving with a blood alcohol count that exceeds the legal limits. DUI is defined as “driving under the influence” and is a charge made to those under the age of 21 for being stopped while driving with any evidence of alcohol consumption. DUI’s will carry a lesser charge but is still a serious offense.
DWI/DUI Penalties – A Basic Understanding
There are different classifications of DWI offenses that can carry differing penalties if convicted:
- DUI – This carries a fine up to $500 plus court costs on a first offense. Penalties can escalate to 180 days in jail for repeat offenders.
- First Offense DWI – This is considered a Class B Misdemeanor; anyone charged and convicted for the first time can be assigned a fine up to $2,000, jail time of 3 days to 6 months, and community service of 24 to 100 hours as well as other related penalties.
- Second Offense DWI – Classified as a Class A Misdemeanor; this offense includes penalties of up to $4,000, jail time of up to 1 year, community service of no less than 80 hours or more than 200 hours. Additionally, a deep lung air device can be assigned during probation, a driver’s licenses can be suspended from 180 days to as much as 2 years, and other related penalties may apply
- Third Offense or More DWI – Considered a Third Degree Felony, steeper penalties may be assigned. Fines may be as high as $10,000 and prison time may be assessed for 2 up to 10 years. 600 hours of community service may also be assigned, a driver’s license can be suspended for up to 2 years, and a deep lung air device can be assigned indefinitely if the person retains driving privileges.
DWI/DUI Penalties – Other
In addition to the above, other penalties may be assigned depending on each individual incidence. Basic offenders are generally required to attend a DWI Education class, a Victim Impact panel, and complete a DWI Evaluation that can help predict the likelihood of another offense happening so preventive measures can be taken ahead of time. Those receiving probation must also pay a monthly supervisory fee.
Each offender may present more complex situations, such as the involvement of open containers, prior alcohol-related offenses of any kind, other driving convictions, etc. A more substantial probation may be required which can include the addition of any of the following: ignition interlock devices; completion of an AA program; increased basic penalties; in-patient treatment for repeat offenders, etc. Based on a specific set of options, the courts can assign more DWI/DUI penalties as seen fit to help prevent another offense.
DWI/DUI Penalties – Invisible Ones
There are other types of penalties other than legal ones that many DWI offenders do not consider until after the fact that can affect each person’s private lives.
- Car Insurance – Being able to get car insurance becomes a major issue. If coverage can be found, the premiums can substantially increase. Any repeated offense will cause the insurance company to cancel the policy right away.
- Related Property Damage and Injuries – Besides the effect on driving privileges and finances, DWI/DUI penalties often include paying for any damages suffered by others as a result of the incident. Property damage, injuries, and even deaths can occur as a result of driving while intoxicated, which makes the result some of the hardest penalties to live with.
To avoid DWI/DUI penalties in College Station Texas of any kind, criminal defense attorneys in Texas stress that driving responsibly is a necessity at all times. For those individuals who have already been charged with such an offense, it is imperative to seek legal counsel as soon as possible for help in working through the consequences for such charges – DWI or DUI are indeed serious offenses that can carry serious penalties.