DWI Laws and Penalties in Texas Criminal Courts (Part I)

Many people are familiar with DWI charges in Texas. In fact, the Texas Department of Public Safety publishes a Texas Driver Handbook that contains an entire chapter on the topic of the impact of alcohol and drugs on driving ability. The written exam portion of the Texas driver’s license requirement contains questions about alcohol and drug related impaired driving.

DWI Questions on the Texas Driver’s License Exam

First time driver’s license applicants for a class C operator are asked two questions on the topic of alcohol and drug impaired driving. One is “What effects does the use of marijuana and amphetamine have on driving?” The other is “What is the penalty for being convicted of driving while intoxicated?” Other parts of the handbook discuss the penalties to driving privileges if a driver is convicted of a DWI-related charges.

DWI Arrests in Texas

Operating a motor vehicle in Texas with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of .08% and above is illegal. Drug-related charges are supported by readings in blood tests that look for the composition of illegal or prescription drugs in the blood stream. The alcohol or drug impaired driver is arrested and arraigned for these charges

DWI Convictions in Texas

Most DWI convictions are obtained because of a plea. A plea is a formal admission of guilt and has the same legal effect as a conviction following a guilty verdict in a jury trial. Many impaired drivers accept a conviction and plead guilty because of cost, timing, limited defenses, or a desire to put the incident behind them quickly.

First-time offenders with no accompanying injury to people often are permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction is better than a felony conviction. Felony convictions almost always carry jail time and affect housing and job prospects for people once their criminal case is closed. Once the impaired driver is convicted, the judge sentences him or her. The next post in this series will examine sentencing and violations of conditions of sentencing.

Driving Privileges re Temporarily Suspended After Arrest and Before Conviction

Immediately following a DWI arrest in Texas, an impaired driver loses his or her driving privileges pending resolution of the arrest. This issue comes up again during sentencing where the suspension becomes permanent for a specific period.

Contact a Denton, Collin, and Dallas County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Individuals with license suspensions due to DWI arrests and subsequent convictions may be eligible for an occupational license. An occupational license permits an individual to drive to and from work and handle some daily living activities. Consult the law offices of Kimberly Griffin Tucker to review your case circumstances to determine if you would qualify for an occupational license while you wait for your driving privileges to be reinstated.