Many people are aware that the legal limit for a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) in Texas and many other states is 0.08 percent. What not as many people know is that Texas is a state that imposes enhanced penalties for alleged offenders who have BACs of 0.15 or more.
A driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest involving a BAC of 0.15 or greater will lead to the alleged crime being graded differently and the alleged offender facing more serious penalties. Prosecutors are usually prepared to argue that such offenses are evidence of an increased danger to the public deserving of maximum punishments.
If you or your loved one were arrested for a DWI involving a BAC of 0.15 or more in the Fort Worth area, it is going to be important for you to have experienced legal representation in court. A criminal defense attorney is going to be able to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represents clients arrested in communities all over Tarrant County. We can discuss all of your legal options with you when you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 68 percent of DWI fatalities involved at least one driver who had a BAC of 0.15 or higher. The Texas Penal Code was revised in 2003 to elevate the charges for DWIs with BACs of 0.15 or more.
Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04(a), a person commits DWI when they are intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2) defines intoxicated as “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body” or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
A BAC is the number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, 100 milliliters of blood, or 67 milliliters of urine. While a first-time DWI arrest is usually a Class B misdemeanor, Texas Penal Code § 49.04(d) establishes that any DWI becomes a Class A misdemeanor when an alleged offender has a BAC of 0.15 or more
Your BAC can impact the classification of your criminal charges. A class A misdemeanor will involve more serious potential penalties than a class B misdemeanor, such as:
● Up to one year in jail
● Fine of up to $4,000
● Loss of driving privileges for up to two years
In addition to the criminal penalties listed above, a person could also face additional administrative penalties. The Texas Department of Public Safety will require you to pay an annual surcharge for three years to maintain your driver’s license, and failure to pay will result in an automatic driver’s license suspension.
Surcharges in DWI cases only apply to offenses involving BACs of 0.16 or more. The surcharge will be $2,000 a year for three years.
With a high BAC level recorded, you are certainly going to want to examine the accuracy of the tests performed. In some cases, failure to maintain breath testing equipment can call the results into question and may lead to the criminal charges being tossed.
Other errors by law enforcement could also impact the validity of these DWI charges. For example, an arrest that stems from an illegal traffic stop by the arresting officer could become impossible to prosecute.
Understanding the Driver Responsibility Program (DRP) | Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) — View a DPS brochure discussing the DRP. In June 2019, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 2048, eliminating the DRP. KYTX-TV reported that about 1.5 million drivers would be able to get their licenses back.
Offender Education Programs | Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) | Texas.gov — Visit this website to learn more about the different kinds of education programs in Texas. Learn more about DWI education and DWI intervention. You can also find information about alcohol education for minors.
Were you or your loved one arrested for a DWI involving a BAC of 0.15 or more in Fort Worth or another area in Tarrant County? It will be critical for you to have your case reviewed by an experienced lawyer.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy knows how to fight DWI charges and can work to possibly get your charges reduced or dismissed. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.