Texas DUI Basics
In the state of Texas driving while intoxicated charges are considered
Class B Misdemeanor offenses. This kind of misdemeanor is given only
when an individual is convicted for a first or second offense.
According to Texas law, driving while intoxicated charges are only
given when an individual operates a motor vehicle in a public area
while he or she is intoxicated.
All drunken driving cases are handle by jury trials; however an
individual may request a judge at his or her own discretion. In order
for a driving while intoxicated charge to withstand, the prosecuting
attorney must prove to the jury that the individual was guilty of all
portions of the charge.
In Texas in order for an individual to be convicted he or she must have
committed all three portions of a driving while intoxicated charge.
These include the operation of a motor vehicle, doing so in a public
area, and in certain counties while under the influence of drugs or
alcohol. Public areas include parking lots, highways, beaches, and
Texas law also defines intoxication as not having full capabilities of
the body -- physically, mentally, or both -- while under the influence
of substances -- alcohol, drugs, or both. Intoxication also can include
having a blood alcohol content that is above the legal limit of 0.08
percent or being intoxicated by a prescribed substance.
When an individual obtains a driver's license, he or she gives common
consent to submit to chemical testing when requested by a police
officer. If an individual refuses to submit to chemical testing, he or
she will automatically have his or her driver's license suspended. This
kind of suspension will withstand even if the individual is not
convicted of driving while intoxicated.
Driving under the influence convictions are based on the number of
prior offenses. The more offenses an individual has on his or her
record, the more severe his or her punishment will become. A first
offense can earn up to seventy-two hours in jail, a fine up to two
thousand dollars along with any fees, conditional driver's license
suspension, mandatory attendance to a twelve-hour DWI education
program, probation, and twenty-four hours of mandatory community
service or up to one hundred hours.
A second driving while intoxicated offense is considered a Class A
Misdemeanor, while a third driving while intoxicated offense is
considered a felony in the third degree. Fines increase to four
thousand dollars along with incarceration up to ten years. An
individual's driver's license will thus be suspended for up to two
years and community service will increase to no more than two hundred
Driving while intoxicated offense can also heavily increase when
certain circumstances are involved in the crime. Aggravating factors
include having a minor in the motor vehicle, driving a commercial
vehicle with a 0.04 percent blood alcohol content, being under the age
of twenty-one, having an open container, causing another injury, and
causing the death of another. When a minor is under the age of fifteen,
an offense will increase from a misdemeanor offense to a felony offense
automatically, even if it is a first offense.