In many car accidents, drunk driving is suspected. In Houston, TX, 2018 saw roughly 1,800 drunk driving cases, and it does not appear as though this trend is slowing much. A DUI charge is a serious offense. If you are caught drinking and driving in Houston, you may face a number of penalties.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is considered drunk driving, and this crime comes with a litany of penalties – many or all of which may permanently stay on your criminal and driving records.

The Basics

Law enforcement officers are trained to recognize specific behaviors of drivers that would lead them to suspect someone is driving while intoxicated and/or under the influence of alcohol.

First, they will take note of driving behaviors. Indicators such a swerving, and sudden or frequent braking may be the first signs a driver is impaired. Officers will attempt to conduct sobriety tests to measure your blood alcohol content, or BAC, to determine if you are too drunk to drive.

If you are charged with a DUI or related offense, it is important to know the possible penalties you may face. These penalties become increasingly severe if you are a repeat offender.

The penalties in Texas

For adult drivers aged 21 years and older can expect to face the following penalties for a first-time DUI offense:

  • Up to $2,000 fine
  • Jail time up to 180 days
  • Suspended driver’s license for up to 2 years

If you are a repeat DUI offender, the penalties become increasingly more aggressive with each recurring charge. For example, a second-time offender will face:

  • Up to a $4,000 fine
  • Jail time up to 1 year
  • Suspended driver’s license for up to 2 years

Third-time offenders will face:

  • Up to $10,000 fine
  • Jail time of between 2 and 10 years
  • Suspended driver’s license for up to 2 years

In addition to these consequences, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle that you must use each time you attempt to start your vehicle to measure your BAC before even starting your vehicle. You may also be required to attend a state-appointed DWI intervention or education program.

Extreme DUI charges and their penalties

While a DUI charge is a serious criminal offense, drunk driving with a child in your vehicle will include severe penalties whether it a is a first-time offense or not, such as:

  • Up to $10,000 fine
  • Jail time for up to 2 years
  • Suspended driver’s license for up to 180 days

Furthermore, if your drunk driving causes serious bodily injury, you will be charged with intoxication assault which is a 3rd degree felony. If you kill another person while driving under the influence of alcohol, you will be charged with the 2nd degree felony of intoxication manslaughter.

Understanding Texas DUI penalties

If you choose to operate a motor vehicle, you must also choose to adhere to the rules and regulations in your state for safety and for the safety of others. Negligent driving behaviors, including driving while under the influence, will hold drivers liable for any damages or injuries they may cause. It is important to contact an attorney who can best advise you of the driving penalties in your state.

The trial lawyers of Blizzard Law, PLLC, in Houston, TX, have more than 50 years of combined experience handling all types of complex litigation, including car accidents that are the cause of DUI. They strongly advocate for their clients’ rights, and work hard to bring favorable outcomes for victims and their families.