Facts about a First Time DUI/DWI in Houston
You’ve made a mistake. You had too much to drink and then you tried to drive home and were pulled over for driving under the influence. You have now been charged with your first DUI. There are probably many emotions running through your mind at the moment: fear being at the top of the list. To combat this fear, look into hiring a drunk driving attorney in Houston. Your attorney will be able to help you know what to expect as a first time DUI/DWI offender.
The first thing you must know is the difference between a DWI and DUI. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated and DUI stands for driving under the influence. In most states, these two terms are used synonymous with each other. However, a DUI is used when you are being charged with being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Even though this is your first offense, the courts are not lenient when it comes to drinking and driving. Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense with stiff penalties. You can expect to have your license suspended for a minimum of 90 days and up to 180 days. This is known as an administrative license suspension and can be contested. When you are arrested, you are required to go through certain tests, including a blood test, to determine your BAC (blood alcohol content). If you refuse this test, your license carries a mandatory suspension of 180 days. You are not required to undergo alcohol or substance abuse screening or use an ignition interlock device to get your license back unless ordered so by the courts.
With your first DUI in Texas, there is an incarceration period of a minimum of 3 days up to a maximum of 180 days. The amount of time incarcerated will depend on certain factors. These include driving with a minor as a passenger or if any bodily harm or property damage occurred. You will be fined up to $2,000. You will be required to pay a $1,000 fee to a surcharge program for three consecutive years. If your blood alcohol content at the time of the arrest if higher than .16, the surcharge is increased to $2,000 annually for three years. If you receive a DUI with a minor in the car, your incarceration period goes from 180 days up to 2 years. Your fine maximum will also increase up to $10,000. The DUI conviction will remain on your driving record for no more or no less than 10 years.
The state of Texas prohibits reducing DUI charges to a lesser offense because of the seriousness of the crime. In 2014, over 10,000 people were killed as a result of drunk driving. This is equivalent to a third of all traffic deaths in the United States. Driving under the influence is serious. It is possible to bargain the terms of the DUI, but you will be charged with a DUI nonetheless. If you have been charged with a DUI, an attorney will be happy to assist you in your case.