Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)


Ok, so you've been arrested for DWI. Now what? A DWI arrest can create lots of problems. There's not only criminal consequences that come with a DWI arrest, you can also lose your driver's license. That means your liberty and your freedom to drive are on the line.

If you don't handle a DWI properly, you might end up with a license suspension that will keep you off the road for up to 2 years. That's where a qualified DWI attorney can step in and keep you on the road. 


Under Texas law, driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense that can have extremely serious legal consequences. Authorities are actively looking for people who violate the law, and many drivers are surprised to learn that they can be accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) even after only a few drinks. In some cases, drivers may be arrested for a DWI even if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the limit that the law defines as “intoxicated.”
Fortunately, there are often a number of ways in which an experienced DWI defense lawyer can help reduce the consequences you may be facing if you are accused of drunk driving. In some cases, an attorney may even be able to have the case against you dismissed or dropped by the state.


While drunk or drugged driving is illegal across the United States, each state has specific laws defining the offense and its associated legal penalties. In Texas, the general drunk driving law is found in Texas Penal Code Title 10, Chapter 49. The statute defines the term “intoxicated” in two distinct ways:
● Not having the normal use of your mental and physical faculties due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol; and/or
● Having a BAC of .08 percent or more.
For certain classes of drivers, the BAC limit is lower. For example, drivers who are under 21 years of age are prohibited from driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, and commercial drivers are subject to a .04 percent legal limit.
When investigating a driver suspected of driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, law enforcement officers can use a variety of methods to gather evidence of intoxication and impairment. Objective measures of a person’s blood, breath, or urine can be used to determine a driver’s BAC. It is important to note, however, that a BAC above the legal limit is not necessary to legally accuse someone of DWI in Texas; instead, probable cause indicating that you are intoxicated is enough for an officer to arrest you.
Among the kinds of observations an officer can consider in determining whether a driver is intoxicated include observations about the driver’s appearance and behavior, the presence or odor of alcohol, and the driver’s performance on a variety of field sobriety tests.

Overview of DWI Penalties
Conviction Offense Level Maximum Fine Jail Range License Suspension
1st DWI and BWI Class B Misdemeanor Up to $2,000 72 hours to 180 days 90 to 365 days
2nd DWI and BWI Class A Misdemeanor Up to $4,000 30 to 365 days 180 days to 2 years
3rd DWI and BWI 3rd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) 180 days to 2 years
Intoxication Assault 3rd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) 180 days to 2 years

Carlo D'Angelo Criminal DWI / DUI Defense Attorney /Lawyer

For the purposes of driving while intoxicated (DWI) and other laws involving alcohol, Texas law defines anyone under the age of 21 as a “minor.” Minors are prohibited from driving a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their systems. For a first offense, minors who are caught driving after drinking any alcohol face fines, probation, loss of their right to drive, mandatory enrollment in an alcohol education class, community service, and the installation of an ignition interlock device. These penalties increase significantly with each subsequent offense, and in many cases can include jail time. Fortunately, an experienced Texas DUI defense lawyer can often minimize these and other long-term consequences that minor DUI offenders may face.
The penalties in Texas associated with driving while intoxicated (DWI) have grown increasingly harsher over the past few decades. While specific penalties imposed after a DUI depend on a variety of factors, the most relevant are the number of previous offenses as well as your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of your arrest. Below is some information on the penalties that may be imposed after being accused of driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol:
• 1st DWI Charge / Offense – After your first DWI offense in Texas, you may be fined up to $2,000 and spend between three and 180 days in jail. Additionally, your license may be suspended for up to two years, and there may be an annual surcharge of as much as $2,000 to keep your license for three years. Finally, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car and attend a DWI intervention or education program.
• 2nd DWI Charge / Offense – After a first offense, the penalties associated with DWI in Texas increase significantly. A second offense could result in fines of up to $4,000 and a jail sentence of one month to one year. The license suspension associated with a 2nd DWI offense can last up to two years, and there may be a three-year annual surcharge of up to $2,000. In addition, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle and attend a DWI intervention or education program.
• 3rd DWI Charge / Offense – The fine associated with a third or subsequent offense in Texas can be up to $10,000. In addition, offenders may be sentenced to 2 to 10 years in state prison, and have their license suspended for up to 2 years. There may also be a surcharge of up to $2,000 assed per year for three years. Finally, there may also be a requirement that you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle and also that you participate in a DWI intervention or education program.


Anyone who operates a motor vehicle in Texas is subject to the “implied consent” rule, which holds that by obtaining a driver’s license and operating a motor vehicle, you have consented to a chemical test if a law enforcement officer suspects that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Because of this rule, you can lose your license if you refuse such testing. This suspension is completely separate from the criminal part of a DWI case, and can result in a license suspension of 90 days to two years.
Drivers will not lose their license immediately after a refusal takes place – after a refusal, you have 15 days to request an administrative hearing regarding your suspension. If you do not request a hearing, an automatic suspension begins 40 days after your refusal. The administrative hearings are handled by the State Office of Administrative Hearings, and can be requested online.

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