DWI and Law

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

Fighting Open Container Cases in Austin

Open Container Violation

According to Austin DWI Lawyer Jackson F. Gorski, open container violations in Austin 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 in Austin


It’s important to keep in mind that drinking and driving makes you more vulnerable to receiving an open container violation in Travis 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 Austin 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

LEARN MORE

The High Cost of Being Convicted of DWI

The penalty for Driving While Intoxicated, in most cases, is quite severe. Where you have been arrested for DWI and are adamant to fight the charge one ought to understand the defenses available to them. With a proper defense one might just evade conviction, suspension of a license, and ultimately get acquitted. In a DWI case, the prosecution has to prove two things.

The Prosecution Must Prove Guilt

First that the defendant was the person driving the vehicle in question, and secondly, that the defendant was under the influence of a drug, for example, alcohol, another intoxicating drug,, or a combination of drugs. And to prove this, in cases where the defendant has been accused of a serious offense, a blood test may be necessary to prove that the defendant was indeed intoxicated.

One defense a defendant may have is that the officer involved in the case did not actually pull them over while were driving the vehicle, which is the reality in most DWI cases. For example, where an officer did not in person observe you driving the vehicle or where the officer found you behind the steering wheel of your car in its stationery state, the issue of DWI will become debatable.

Drunk Driving Defenses

Another strong defense a defendant may have in a DWI case is that there was no probable cause to stop the defendant in his vehicle and subsequently arrest him/her for DWI. Any evidence a defendant may present on the process of arrest will be considered in the court process. For example, where one is of the conviction that they were arrested as a result of their race or ethnicity, and not for reasons of erratic driving or apparent intoxication.

Intoxication Manslaughter: A Serious Felony

However, in instances where one has been charged with Intoxication Manslaughter, defense becomes infinitely harder. The consequences for this type of offense are severe for all parties involved; the injured party as well as the accused. Intoxication Manslaughter is considered a felony crime in most jurisdictions and generally carries a sentence of between two to twenty years imprisonment and possible fines that could be as much as $10,000.

Intoxication Manslaughter differs from manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter on the premise that these two demand some proof of recklessness. However, for Intoxication Manslaughter, once it has been proven that you were indeed intoxicated while driving the vehicle in question, the law will automatically make the presumption of the act being reckless on its own. Therefore, no further proof is required to show reckless driving and a conviction and/or fine is eminent.