If you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Tarrant County, you aren’t just risking your own life or the possibility of jail time. You could also be risking the lives of others as well.
Texas has a \”zero tolerance\” when it comes to driving while intoxicated (DWI), which is the preferred term in Texas instead of driving under the influence (DUI). In Texas, you are considered legally intoxicated if your blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.08%. If you are arrested for a DWI, you could face hefty fines and jail time depending on the circumstances of the situation.
Here’s what you need to know about drunk driving laws in Texas and how PCS Bail Bonds can help you get a 24-hour bail bond in Tarrant County.
Getting a DWI without Actually Driving
Drunk driving laws in Texas are strict. In fact, did you know that a person could get charged with a DWI without actually driving?
This is because according to Texas law, a person commits a DWI when he or she is operating a motor vehicle in a public area while intoxicated. The definition of “intoxicated” is clearly stated, as is the definition of “motor vehicle”; however, Texas law does not go into much detail about what it means to “operate” a motor vehicle. Due to this, if a person is intoxicated and is sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked vehicle, with the engine still running, they could be charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Tarrant County, Texas
If you are arrested for a DWI, you could face massive fines and jail time. Here’s a slight break down of the penalties for drunk driving in Tarrant County, Texas.
- If you are involved in a DWI for the first time, you could face up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. Your driver’s license also gets suspended for 90 days.
- For second-time offenders, if you get involved in a DWI within five years of your first DWI, you could face up to one year in jail, fines amounting to $4,000, or both. Your driver’s license also gets suspended for one year.
- A third DWI within five years of the first offense could lead to 10 years in prison, fines of up to $10,000, or both. Your driver’s license will also get suspended for one year.
It’s important to know that there are certain situations where DWIs could lead to much bigger fines and much longer sentences in prison.
Drunk Driving with a Child Passenger
In Texas, if a person is charged with a DWI while there are passengers in the car that are younger than 15 years of age, the offenses become much more serious.
One could face prison time ranging from 180 days to two years. There also could be fines mounting to as high as $10,000.
If a person is a commercial driver, they need to be extra careful. A DWI won’t just mean fines and prison time. It could impact their profession—they could be banned from driving commercially for life.
In Texas, in addition to the penalties stated above, if a commercial driver is charged with a DWI for the first time when driving another vehicle aside from their commercial vehicle, they will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for one year.
If the driver is intoxicated while driving a commercial vehicle, they could be disqualified for up to three years.
Lastly, and the most serious, a commercial driver charged with a DWI for the second time could be banned from driving commercial vehicle for life.
For underage drivers committing a DWI (those who are at least 18 but under 21 years of age), fines and penalties are slightly different, but serious, nonetheless.
If an underage driver in Texas is charged with a DWI for the first time, they could be fined up to $500 and sentenced to community service for 20 to 40 hours. The ordered community service must be involve educating or preventing alcohol abuse. Their driver’s license is also suspended for 30 days.
If the underage driver is a second-time DWI offender, they could be fined as high as $500, and ordered to do community service ranging from 40 to 60 hours. This time around, their license could be suspended for 60 days.
An underage drive in Texas charged with a DWI for the third time could face fines between $500 and $2,000, jail time of 18 days, or both. Their license gets suspended for 180 days.
Criminal Liability for Supplying Alcohol to a Minor
In Texas, supplying alcohol to minor is taken very seriously.
If a person engages in furnishing or providing alcohol to a minor in Texas (person under the age of 21), it’s a Class A misdemeanor. This means, one could be fined up to $4,000 and face jail time for up to a year.
This isn’t all. In addition to fines and jail time, your driver’s license also gets suspended for 180 days.
How PCS Bail Bonds Can Help
We know people make mistakes. A DWI is one of the most common offenses in Texas. We believe that everyone has the right to make a strong defense, and the best way to do that is when you are out of jail.
At PCS Bail Bonds, we can help you or your loved one get out of jail quick. We are a leading provider of bail bonds in Tarrant County. We can help you no matter what your situation is. We have been in this business for more than two decades and have seen all sort of DWI situations.