The New Year is just around the corner! Whether you plan to celebrate with family or hangout with friends, make sure you don’t spoil the fun. Don’t grab the wheel if you can’t drive -unless you want to receive a DWI, a serious criminal offense with drastic financial consequences. If you are charged with a DWI, you’ll likely have to pay hefty fines, and even worse than that, you may have to spend the night behind bars. A DWI is the ultimate party foul! Here’s what you need to know about the charge and how to avoid it.
What is a DWI and what are the penalties?
If you are intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place, you will be charged under the Texas Penal Code for driving while intoxicated (a DWI). Not only can you be charged with a DWI if the alcohol concentration in your body (BAC) is 0.08 or more, you can also be charged simply if your ability to operate your car is impaired because of any alcohol, controlled substance, or drug that you may have in your body.
The penalties for a DWI in Texas can range from large fines to the suspension of your driver’s license, to jail time, to even prison for severe or repeat offenses. Although first-time offenses can be taken into consideration by a Texas judge, even these can be subject to high fines along with community service, participation in AA or similar sobriety-help meetings and also mandatory drug and alcohol education programs.
Besides the legal penalties you will face with a DWI to your name, be prepared to encounter problems with your car insurance company. Don’t be surprised if your insurance rate doubles, or triples! It’s also possible that your insurance provider may drop you off entirely from your current coverage or refuse to renew the policy. This is because car insurance companies consider those convicted of DWIs as high-risk drivers and may use that classification as a basis to deny coverage under any of the insurance’s available policies.
How to Avoid Getting a DWI?
When it’s time to go home, driving impaired is never an option. We recommend you keep these alternatives in mind to stay out of trouble and get home safely after your New Year’s festivities:
- Pass the Keys If you ingested alcohol or an impairing substance such as prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or sleep medication, give your keys to a sober driver who can take you home. If you believe your driver may also be impaired, do not give your keys to them either, as you should never ride with a driver who’s under the influence. Find a trusted and sober driver to get you safely to your final destination.
- Open Your Ride-sharing Apps or use public transportation Whether by Uber, Lyft, taxi, metro or subway, any of these transportation alternatives is safer for you and your community than driving while impaired. You may spend twenty dollars or more for what seems to be a quick ride home, however, that’s a very small cost compared to the legal fees and fines you could face if you go to court for a DWI. Additionally, you will never be able to compensate the families of those you injure or kill because of your irresponsible decision to drive impaired. During last Christmas and New Year’s holiday season alone, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says there were nearly 2,400 DUI-alcohol related crashes in Texas, which killed 75 people and seriously injured another 199. Please, don’t contribute to the statistics.
- Help a Friend If you see a friend who is attempting to drive after taking alcohol or drugs, take away their keys and help them find a way to get home safely. No matter how angry they may get at the time, they will thank you immensely when the party’s over.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED TEXAS DWI ATTORNEY
We understand that all people make mistakes at some point in their lives. If you have unfortunately been charged with a DWI, contact Dang Law Group so that we can help you navigate through the complexities of the next legal steps you must take to defend against this charge. We have experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who can help represent you and answer the many questions and concerns that you may have. Call Dang Law Group today at 512-648-3378.
Be safe out there, and Happy New Year!