Recent data show that law enforcement officials arrested over one million people in a year for DWIs. Another half a million individuals faced charges for drunkenness or breaking liquor laws.
It can be easy for things to get out of hand for a person after having a few drinks to take the edge off after a hard day. Anyone who enjoys alcohol on occasion should understand the consequences of a DWI and if they include prison time.
The legal blood-alcohol content limit in Texas is .08. However, the government makes a point of stating that a person is driving illegally any time a substance impairs the ability to operate a vehicle, no matter the concentration of alcohol. Contrary to what many believe, drivers have the right to refuse a breath test, but the refusal may mean a temporary license suspension.
For first-time convictions of DWI, a person spends at least three days in county jail but will likely not end up in prison. However, a third offense carries a $10,000 fine and two to 10 years in prison.
A first or second offense for DWI does not usually result in prison time. However, aggravating factors present at the time of arrest may increase charges. Such factors can include having an open container in the car while driving or having children present inside the vehicle.
Other possible charges could include child endangerment or assault if the impaired driving injured anyone. Once an offense rises to a felony, prison time is possible.
Texas puts strict penalties in place to dissuade would-be drunk drivers. If a DWI is simply an error in judgment, a person may be able to avoid stiffer punishments.