What Happens When You Get a DUI for the First Time in Texas?
A DUI is pretty heavily frowned upon in Texas, which makes experiencing one for the very first time a frightening prospect. What kind of implications could it have for the future? Is there any need to worry about criminal charges or jail time?
It could all start so simply. Perhaps the offender may have been having a couple of drinks with a friend, and in a matter of moments, there’s a DUI arrest. Here's a look at what to expect for a first offense.
First-time DUI Classification
Typically, a first DUI is categorized as a Class B misdemeanor. However, this is only the case when there are no aggravating factors present. Therefore, the punishments tend to be on the more lenient side of the fence.
In fact, with the right attorney, someone implicated in a first offense could see the charges dropped entirely. Alternatively, the DUI lawyer in Tarrant County may attempt to negotiate for a lesser punishment, punishments such as community service.
Standard Charges and Penalties
If convicted of a first DUI in Texas, there is a maximum fine of $2,000. Additionally, the offender faces up to 180 days in jail. For reference, blood alcohol content would need to exceed 0.08% for a DUI arrest to take place.
Depending on perspective, these punishments may seem tame when the possibilities are considered. As indicated before, however, this is how the matter is handled in the absence of certain factors.
Now, here's a look at a couple of those special conditions that could see the fines and other penalties become much more severe.
Special Conditions that Can Affect Your Case
Escalated penalties such as jail time and fees are not unheard of in a DUI incident.
High Blood Alcohol Content
First, there's the blood alcohol threshold. While the standard 0.08% blood alcohol content is used to establish the charge in the first place, there is a second threshold that could impose more severe consequences.
In this case, a blood or breath test may indicate a measurement of 0.15% or above. At this point, the offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor, even though it's the first time.
The associated fine is $4,000, and the offender faces up to a year behind bars in county jail. Additionally, an ignition interlock device may be required under Texas law. This would require an alcohol-free breath sample to be submitted before the car engine can start.
Sometimes, an intoxicated person may attack another. Given the unpredictability of such a situation, the victim may end up with serious injuries. Should this happen, the matter becomes classified as a third-degree penalty. Not only does this mean a fine of up to $10,000, but there is also a steep jail time penalty of between two and 10 years. The latter would be served in a state jail.
Considering the cognitive and mental state of an intoxicated driver, an unsuspecting victim may suffer fatal injuries during an accident. In this case, the lack of intent would constitute manslaughter.
The matter then becomes a second-degree felony, which attracts a punishment for a dui in Texas of between two and 20 years in state prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or a combination of both.
DUI with a Minor
An offender may also be stopped with a minor in the vehicle. Should the police catch an intoxicated driver with a passenger under 15 years old, the first-offense DUI is automatically a felony. If the driver is a parent of the child, this does not matter.
The punishment is a fine of up to $10,000, and there may even be a state jail sentence of between 180 days and two years.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced DUI Attorney in Texas Today!
Any of the situations above can be incredibly scary, especially for someone who has never had to deal with the legal system in Texas for a DUI. It's incredibly unforgiving and creates an uphill battle not meant to be fought alone.
An experienced and passionate Texas DUI criminal defense lawyer is the path to the best possible outcome, given whatever situation is at play.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Texas, schedule a free consultation with an expert attorney from Sparks Law Firm. To do so, call (817) 381-7846 or fill out the site’s contact form.