Texas treats driving while intoxicated as a serious crime. This means that the consequences of a DWI are harsh and potentially life-changing. Upon conviction, you face multiple fines, jail time, probation, driver’s license suspension, and more.
What Is A Class B DWI?
Under Texas law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated.
Intoxication is defined as:
- Not having the normal use of physical or mental faculties due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two; or
- Having a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of .08 or higher.
What are the Penalties for a Class B DWI in Texas?
A driver who had a BAC of 0.08%-0.15% faces some severe penalties if convicted of a Class B DWI. These include:
- Up to six months in jail;
- Up to a $4,500 fine;
- Up to two years driver’s license suspension;
- DWI intervention or education program.
Additionally, it’s possible that the judge will order that an ignition interlock device, or IID, be placed on the driver’s vehicle. The IID is a device installed on a vehicle that will prevent the driver from starting the vehicle if alcohol is detected on their breath. When the driver attempts to start the vehicle, the device will block the signal from the ignition to the starter until a breath sample from the driver is obtained by blowing into the IID. If the device does not detect alcohol, the vehicle will start. If the device does detect alcohol, the vehicle will not start.
Administrative Penalties For a Class B DWI
An arrest for DWI in Texas sets in motion two separate proceedings. One is the criminal case that may result in the penalties discussed. The other is an administrative proceeding overseen by the Texas Department of Public Safety. These two proceedings are separate and are not connected.
When you were arrested for DWI in Texas, you were asked to take a blood or breath test in order to measure your blood alcohol concentration level. Refusal to take a test or failing a test by having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more will subject you to an automatic administrative license suspension from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Your license will be confiscated by your arresting officer, and you’ll be issued a temporary driving permit good for 40 days from the date of arrest. On the 41st day following your arrest
On the 41st day following your arrest, your driver’s license will become suspended permanently for a length of time dependent on your number of prior DWI convictions, and whether you refused blood alcohol testing after your arrest.
You’ll also be required to pay $2000 each year for three years to the Department of Public Safety as an administrative fee to maintain your driver’s license. Fail to make this payment, and you’ll receive an automatic driver’s license suspension.
Potential DWI Defenses
Even if you failed your breath test and field sobriety tests, your conviction is far from automatic.
There are many problems that can occur with not only with the actual breath testing equipment but also with the procedures that are followed in order to conduct the breath test and field sobriety tests. Some examples of these problems include:
- Testing device has not been properly calibrated or maintained;
- Officer did not follow the proper procedure for testing;
- Testing device was not working properly at the time of testing;
- Road or weather conditions affected your field sobriety test performance.
An experienced DWI attorney will you be able to tell you what factors, if any, work in your favor and use these in your defense.
The State of Texas takes driving while intoxicated seriously. This means that you need to take any DWI charges pending against you seriously as well. If you’ve been charged with a Class B DWI, you want to make sure that you get the best possible legal representation. R.J. Harber is an expert in Texas DWI laws, and his practice focuses on DWI and DUI cases. Contact him for a free, confidential consultation at 214-389-1189, or through his online contact page.