Texas DWI Laws: BAC Above .015

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Although any DWI in Texas potentially has very serious consequences, if you are stopped on suspicion of a DWI in Texas and you have a blood alcohol level of .15 or above, the consequences you will face will likely be even harsher. Unfortunately, according to the NHTSA, the state of Texas leads the nation in drunk driving accident fatalities. Because of this, Texas legislators continue introducing laws aimed at curbing drunk driving. One of these laws relates to penalties for a DWI in Texas when the driver’s breath or blood alcohol level is .15 or higher. This law was introduced about five years ago, and is detailed under the Texas Penal Code 49.04(d).

The statute states that if the results of a blood, breath, or urine test is a BAC of .15 percent or higher, even if this is your first DWI in Texas, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, rather than a Class B misdemeanor. Under the prior law, if you were convicted for a first-time DWI in Texas offense, you would serve from 72 hours to six months in jail, and probation of up to two years, regardless of the BAC level. Since the law changed, a first-time DWI in Texas offense with BAC results of .15 percent or higher will result in a jail term of up to one year, with a probationary period of up to two years, and a fine as large as $2,000.  

Should You Take a BAC Test?

If you know you drank a significant amount of alcohol and that your BAC test results are likely to be high, you might be better off refusing to take a chemical test. If you refuse a breath or blood test, your driver’s license may be suspended for a minimum of 180 days. If you agree to take a blood or breath test and test at .15 percent or higher, you will face enhanced charges, and will be more likely to receive jail time and be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. That being said, if you refuse a breath or blood test, the police office could potentially secure a search warrant to forcibly take your blood, and if you still refuse you could be charged with additional criminal offenses. At that point, it is likely better to submit to the test, then obtain an experienced Houston DWI attorney as quickly as possible, who can challenge the validity of the search warrant and the blood draw.

Fighting for Your Rights and Your Future Following a DWI in Texas BAC Test of .15 Percent or Higher

Because you are facing so many adverse consequences you need to be certain you are taking every possible step to fight the charges against you, discussing the details of your DWI in Texas with a knowledgeable Houston DWI attorney who will aggressively defend your rights. Since the legal BAC limit in the state of Texas—and in every state in the United States—is .08 percent, you would be considered very intoxicated with a BAC of .15 percent or higher. Alcohol concentration is the number of grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath. If you are a small woman, weighing approximately 100 pounds who consumed one regular drink within one hour, your BAC is probably around .05 percent.

If you consumed two regular drinks within that one hour, your BAC could well be at .09 or higher—over the legal limit. A 200-pound man, however, could probably drink four regular drinks within one hour and be right at the .08 percent legal limit or even a bit lower, depending on certain other factors. This means that it is very difficult for a person to accurately judge his or her own BAC level, as it is dependent on age, gender, weight, tolerance to alcohol, whether food was consumed prior to drinking the alcohol, whether the person is also taking certain prescriptions or over-the-counter medications, and how fast the alcohol was consumed. A “regular” drink is considered a 1.5 ounce shot of 80 proof hard liquor, one 12-ounce beer, or one five-ounce glass of wine.  

How a Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI Lawyer Can Help

If you have been accused of DWI in Texas, with a BAC above .15 percent, it is imperative that you speak to a knowledgeable Sullo & Sullo Houston criminal defense attorney. Our goal is always to fight on your behalf for the best outcome possible, given the specific circumstances of your DWI charges. We believe that good people make mistakes, and that one mistake should not completely derail your life. We understand that you do not want to spend time in a Harris County jail, and we will aggressively fight your charges to that end. We also understand how destructive a Harris County criminal record can be for your future, preventing you from obtaining employment you are otherwise well-qualified for, and causing many more negative repercussions.

We will look for inconsistencies or weaknesses in the Harris County district attorney’s case against you, challenging any issue possible. It is hoped these challenges will lead to a reduction or even a dismissal of your charges, or, at the very least, a reduction in sentencing. We will also attend your Administrative Hearing to fight for you to retain your driving privileges. We understand how important it is in our highly mobile society, to be able to drive to and from work, to and from school and to run the many errands we all must run.

We will protect your driver’s license to the extent possible, and, when necessary, will help you apply for an occupational license. If possible, we will help you avoid a Harris County trial altogether, however we will never make a deal with the prosecutor unless you completely understand the consequences of the deal and are 100 percent onboard with the decision. For experienced DWI in Texas representation, contact a Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorney as quickly as possible following your DWI in Texas charges.

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