DWI and Law

I review of Texas laws as it relates to criminal cases involving instances of Driving While Intoxicated.

Things to Know About DWI Felony Cases in Texas

Before you pick up your next drink at your neighborhood bar, there are some things that you need to be aware of, especially if you are living in Houston Texas. Even though driving under the influence isn’t considered ti be a small violation in any state, Texas is especially strict on those who decide to drink and drive. In fact, getting under the wheel while under the influence of any substance that affects the physical and mental capabilities of a driver isn’t tolerated under the law in places all over the globe. According to the laws of Texas, however, you will find that there are specific requirements that the officers are sworn to adhere to if the driver takes a breathalyzer test and fails due to the concentration (i.e. 08 or higher – alcohol test). Or, the driver decides to refuse a breathalyzer and takes his or her chances in court. Either way, you should be aware of what the consequences will be if you want to stay out of jail.

It is also important to note that these laws cover felony DWI charges and how they relate to each violation that an individual is subject to. Here are 4 felonies that can get you quite a bit of time behind bars.

Intoxication Assault and Felony Houston DWI Charges

An intoxication charge that leads to a conviction of a second degree or a third-degree felony is called an intoxication assault. With this type of felony charge, you can expect the person to have caused a serious injury to another individual. In certain cases, you can expect this person to have a problem that can be deemed as a person who has a habitual DWI problem.

Manslaughter and Felony Houston DWI Charges

When a person gets a lifetime sentences for driving under the influence, you may find that the reason for such a long life sentence is due to a case that involves manslaughter. For instance, if the person was driving with a passenger in the car and the individual was killed during the accident, the law usually entails charging this kind of DWI with a manslaughter felony charge. In this cases, people need a very good Texas defense attorney that can defend them to see if they can avoid a life sentence in jail.

DWI and Child Passenger – Felony Charges

Getting behind the wheel with a child in the car after drinking a glass or two of alcohol is not a good idea at all. Aside from putting any passenger in harm’s way, this type of action will quickly lead to a felony charge. Therefore, for anyone who does not want to spend time behind bars after coming from a local liquor store, it is extremely important to remember that no child under the age of 16 be near the vehicle when a police officer pulls a car over.

Though there are many different ways to punish a driver for driving under the influence, some punishments are deemed as much more severe than others. Specifically, when the driver has a child passenger in the vehicle, someone is killed or severely injured by these actions.

Fighting Open Container Cases in Texas Courts

Open Container Violation

According to experienced DWI lawyers, open container violations will result in small to moderate fines. However, there are times in which it may lead to much steeper consequences. So it’s important that you know how to avoid this offense. Here are a few things that can make you vulnerable to an open container violation.

Drinking Alcohol in Public Places

You’re very likely to receive an open container violation if you fail to keep your bottles and cans sealed. This is an easy mistake to make if you’re taking the bottle from a friend’s home after a social gathering. Bottles that are not sealed or in a bag may be viewed negatively by the police.

Related: 15 Unusual Facts About Texas Alcohol Laws

Ignoring Established Boundaries

If you fail to pay attention to established boundaries, then you may receive a violation. In certain instances, there are specific areas in which people are permitted to drink. In fact, there are often signs posted that specify where you’re allowed to carry open containers of alcohol in public places. For example, while you may not be allowed to drink on public sidewalks, you may be permitted to drink on a specific area of the sidewalk if you’re a patron of a bar or sidewalk café.

Drinking and Driving

It’s important to keep in mind that drinking and driving makes you more vulnerable to receiving an open container violation in Harris County. This is because your container will be open while you drive. Even if the passenger has a bottle of beer, if it’s in a place where you could easily reach it, you could be charged.

Storing Empty Cans or Bottles

There are a lot of drivers who are in the habit of not regularly cleaning or organizing their vehicle. Unfortunately, this can make a huge impact on your life if you are ever pulled over. You can possibly be cited for all of your empty cans and bottles. Even if the alcohol was consumed by someone else, a very long time ago you may still be held responsible for it. In fact, even if the container has only a small amount of alcohol, it will be viewed as an open container. This is why it’s often recommended that drivers rinse out their empty bottles and cans if they are carrying them in their vehicles.

Engaging in Disruptive or Dangerous or Behavior

Another way in which you may make yourself vulnerable to an open container violation is by acting disorderly. This can draw attention to your open container. This is especially the case if you are in an area that has laws against public consumption. The officers’ main concern is to ensure the safety of the public.

Conclusion

Whether you’re intoxicated or not, drinking alcohol while driving is extremely dangerous. And this is why Texas takes its laws on DWI so seriously. An open container violation can sometimes lead to serious consequences. As you can see, there are various ways in which you can make yourself vulnerable to an open container violation. This is why it’s very important to pay attention to the local laws.

DWI With a Minor: What You Need to Know

DWI With a Child in Houston, TX

If you’re Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), and have a minor below the age of 15 in the vehicle, you could be fined as much as $10,000 and be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if you’re found guilty in the court of law for such an offense.

A friend of mine, lets call him “Samuel”, had to undergo a similar experience when he tried to pick up his child from school, all while being drunk. He is currently sentenced to around a year in prison. Also, he was asked to go up for a 12-hour course on alcohol and drunk driving, which he had to complete within 180 days of probation.

Additionally, even if you do get away with the minimum jail term, which is around 18 days, a felony DWI charge can affect your livelihood.

In just August last year, a drunk student caused an accident that killed a man and injured his pregnant wife.

The student was charged with third-degree felony. Regardless of whether or not he graduates, potential employers may decide against hiring this young man.

A DWI Conviction Will Affect Driving Records

And Appear as a Criminal Record

Driving Records include records of all information related to driving, for example, information about the driving license, its expiry date, any tickets against you, violations charged to your vehicle etc. It may be necessary to access driving records in two situations – one, when you want to access your own driving record, and two, when you want to access someone else’s driving record.

You might want to access your own driving record to confirm the expiry of your license, list of your tickets and violations. It is wise to keep a check as a simple thing as a suspended license could lead you to jail, but if you are reminded of it, you can address the suspension.

You might similarly want to check the driving records of another person if you are hiring them. For example, while hiring drivers for taxis, it is important to review that their licenses are current and that they don’t have any pending tickets.

If you’ve been charged with a DWI felony, chances are any future employer would know about it when carrying out a background check, and it is important that

What’s the Penalty for a Texas DWI Conviction?

DWI Lawyers in Houston are often asked this question by their clients and potential clients. We always explain that the punishment depends on;

  • the situation that created the arrest,
  • the specific DWI offense,
  • and any prior criminal history of the accused with a special focus on prior Driving While Intoxicated offenses and convictions

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