Almost 32% of fatal road accidents are due to drunk driving, and therefore, the government has set 0.8% as acceptable blood alcohol level while driving. According to recent polls, Texas ranked at 36 for DUI arrests in 2018.
Drunk driving, legally known as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI), is a serious criminal offense in Texas that can result in various financial, personal, and legal implications.
Luckily, DWI charges don’t always have to end up in convictions. In fact, you can sometimes avoid a DWI through proper planning, a plea bargain that helps reduce the charges or lead to dismissal. These are simple ways to prevent a DWI penalty in Austin, Texas:
What are the Penalties for a First-Time DWI in Texas?
DWIs/DUIs are issued if you are over the age of twenty-one and legally intoxicated. A 1st-degree offense DWI penalty classifies as a Class B misdemeanor and has the following consequences:
- Up to $2,000 fine
- Jail time lasting between three days to one hundred and eighty days
- License suspension lasting two years
- Annual surcharge of $2,000 for three years to recover your suspended license
- DWI intervention/education program
- Possible ignition interlock device
The Top Tips to Avoid a DWI in Austin, Texas
Here are the top 4 tips you need to follow to ensure you don’t get a DWI in Austin, Texas:
Plan Out Your Night Appropriately
You must plan your drinking night to ensure the best outcomes in case of a DWI. Here’s how you can ensure that:
- Get a designated driver or a sober friend with you at the bar
- Decrease your chances of intoxication by eating snacks while drinking
- Drink water and vitamins before driving to aid your liver and hangover
- Designate a time to stop consuming alcohol before you head out. Give yourself at least 90 minutes before you plan to leave
Know DWI Laws in Texas
The terms DWI and DUI are often used interchangeably. However, according to law, they are different types of violations.
DWIs involve alcohol abuse, whereas DUIs refer to any substance that impairs your ability to drive. In addition, the two terms differ in penalties. A penalty for a first-time DWI charge typically includes:
- A $2000 fine
- Between three and one hundred eighty days jail time
- Suspended driver’s license
Drivers under the age of 21 face the following penalties for a DUI:
- Fine up to $500
- License suspended for 60 days
- Community service
- Mandatory alcohol awareness classes
The first DWI conviction classifies as a class B misdemeanor, whereas a second conviction is a Class A misdemeanor. A third conviction is a felony that results in loss of license for 180 days, fine of $10,000, and 2 years in jail.
Have a Plan when Leaving the Bar
Make sure you have a solid plan before you leave the bar to avoid a DWI:
- Get a lift from your friend or order an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi
- If you can’t find a taxi, consider using the bus or public transit
- Check into a hotel or crash at a friend’s place to spend the night
- Wait till you’re less intoxicated to ensure your safety
- Take a two or three-hour break before driving
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
You must understand how a DWI/DUI can impact your life. It can result in the following consequences:
- A criminal record
- Community service requirements
- Drug or alcohol testing
- Fines and fees
- Hefty surcharges on account of public safety
- Higher insurance rates
- Jail time
- Loss or restriction of driver’s license
- Probation and probation fees
- Strained personal relationships
It’s necessary that you know the process of being arrested and what to expect. Typically, first-time offenders get released depending on bond or recognizance.
If you, unfortunately, face serious charges, Texas Officials can hold you for longer and even post bail. Either way, you and your family member should consider contacting a criminal lawyer in Austin as soon as possible.
Ways You Can Avoid a DWI if Stopped on the Road
Here are the top 6 tips you need to keep in mind if pulled over for DWI in Austin:
- Be polite and friendly when dealing with law enforcement
- Avoid volunteering any information to police officers
- Remember that your voice and actions are being recorded, so smile
- Refuse all tests to avoid incriminating yourself further
- Don’t resist arrest or forced blood draw
- Don’t let the officer search your car without a warrant
The Bottom Line: What to do if you get Arrested for a DWI in Austin?
Texas has zero tolerance for drunk driving and, therefore, is labeled a serious criminal offense, affecting your reputation and driving record. Luckily, you can easily avoid DWI penalties by following the law.
If you get a DWI, call an experienced lawyer to assist you. Contact Austin Criminal Lawyer to connect with professionals specializing in criminal drug charges.