Law

Driving Under the Influence: Definition, Penalties and More

DUI or Driving under the influence is commonly known as drunk driving. It refers to driving a motor vehicle while the person whose operating is has blood alcohol concentration or BAC above the legal limit.

A driver is considered driving while under the influence of alcohol if the BAC, as well as the BrAC (Breath Alcohol Content), reaches 0.08 and above. A Breathalyzer is used to measure your BrAC levels. Many scientists such as toxicologists have not approved this principle as scientifically accurate, but the legislatures of the state have accepted this system.

What are the penalties for DUIs in Texas?

The penalty for DUI first offense in Texas is minimum jail time of 3 to 180 days, fines, and penalties of up to $2,000. The punishment is higher if a child is with you at the time you were caught driving while drunk younger than 15. Also, you will have a suspended license for 90 days up to a year.

For second offenses, you will serve one month up to a year in prison, suspension of license for 180 days to 2 years and you have to pay a fee up to $4,000 unless you have a child 15 years younger in the car. For third time offenders, two years of jail time, up to $10,000 worth of fines to pay and suspension of license for 180 days to 2 years are the penalties.

Second and third-time offenders are required to install an IID to prevent them from driving under the influence. IID stands for Interlock Ignition Device and works like a Breathalyzer. The IID won’t let the driver operate the vehicle as you need to “pass” the test before you can use your car.

For those aged under 21, the BAC or BrAC are set lower – 0.03 for blood and 0.02 for breath. It only means the smallest amount can get you convicted of drunk driving.

What happens if an officer wants to take my BrAC or BAC and I refused?

Texas has an implied consent law. One is charged guilty once found to have the legal limit of BAC or BrAC, but you can still argue about being guilty in courts. Even if you have no signs that show you being under the influence, you can be convicted if you reach the legal limit.

Refusal can still lead to suspension of your license and subjection for fines. For the first time offenders, suspension of your license can last for up to 180 days and two years license suspension for second and third time offenders.

How to prevent DUIs?

  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Assign a non-drinking driver
  • Take a cab instead of driving
  • Take the keys of your drinking buddies to protect others

Hiring a lawyer is crucial in making sure you can handle your DUI case. Whether this is your first offense or not, situations like this will taint your record and can affect your life in more ways than one. Find an excellent law firm you can trust and a lawyer who can find the right strategy to handle your case.

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