A DWI (driving while intoxicated) is an offense that can leave you with a severe legal hangover in addition to your physical one, especially if you’re a repeat offender. The only lasting cure for that hangover is information – and a good DWI trial attorney. We’re here to help shine a light on how to handle a DWI.
(Don’t worry, it’s a soft light. We know your head is probably a little sensitive right now.)
The legal blood-alcohol limit for driving is 0.08 percent; unless you’re a minor, in which case the limit is 0.00 (zero tolerance). Remember that drinking under the age of 21 is a separate crime and carries its own penalties, however.
If you’ve been pulled over and suspect that you might be over the legal limit, you actually are within your rights to refuse an Intoxilyzer (breath test) or other tests in the State of Texas. And you should, as less than one percent of DWI cases that bring blood test evidence to trial see the defendant found not guilty (the number is five percent for Intoxilyzer tests).
However, if you refuse, the State is almost certainly going to ask for a suspension of your driver’s license anyway. This can mean up to 180 days in a separate civil case, and you only have 15 days from the time the suspension begins to request a hearing to save your license.
Note that the “right” to drive is really more of a privilege. When you sign up for your license, it is a contract with the state and revocable in the event of misconduct. But even if you took the tests and failed them, you are still within your right to request a hearing to save your license.
DWI for a first offense without extenuating circumstances, such an accident where someone was injured or children in the car, is a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence can be up to six months in jail and fines of up to $2,000. These punishments double on the second offense. A third offense is considered a felony, and can net you up to a decade behind bars. Causing an accident involving injury or death to another party increases punishments to up to 20 years in prison.
The laws against DWI were passed to reduce the dangers resulting from heavy drinking, which don’t end even if you do arrive home safely from a night out with more booze than allowed in your system. Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to drive while intoxicated, which means that if you make a regular habit of doing so, it’s a sign that you may be consuming an unhealthy amount of alcohol. Excessive drinking has been linked to several cancers, in addition to heart and liver disease.
The Other Dangers of Drinking
It’s not just the long-term effects of consumption you need to worry about. Alcohol poisoning claims six people a day. Passing out from drinking too much puts you at risk of aspiration from vomit if you throw up while unconscious. Just because you’re out cold, that doesn’t mean your stomach wants to hold onto a poisonous substance longer than it absolutely has to. Also, alcohol lowers your body temperature and can leave you vulnerable to hypothermia if you’re exposed to the elements.
Even if you don’t pass out from too much drinking, your waking actions may put both yourself and others at risk – and you don’t have to be behind the wheel of a car, either. Alcohol abuse has been linked to increases in the following conditions or behaviors:
- Clinical depression
- Domestic violence
- Misuse of firearms
Help Is Around the Corner
That pounding in your head and nauseous feeling in your stomach is just the barest tip of the true hangover that can come from continued unsafe alcohol consumption. Lives and liberties can be lost with DWIs, and they don’t come back after aspirin and rehydration like a physical hangover. If you need a DWI Lawyer in Houston with handling your case and getting your life back in order, contact Thiessen Law Firm today.