Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DWI - Texas Law

The state of Texas has a .08 blood alcohol concentration limit for intoxication. However, a driver may be issued a citation for impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs regardless of the amount of alcohol. Impairment can begin with the first drink. Depending on body weight, gender, and the food in one's stomach, a person's tolerance varies. In general, women, smaller people, and younger people do not have high tolerances.

Once you are stopped, you will be asked to take a blood or breath test. You can deny. However, you will then be automatically subjected to a 180 day driver's license. In the state of Texas, punishment for DWI depends on the number of previous convictions.

For a person's first DWI offense, they will spend between 72 hours and 180 days in jail. In addition, they are subject to fines up to $2,000 and their driver's license will be suspended for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of a year. A second offense carries a possible fine of $4,000. An offender will spend between a month and a year in jail. Their driver's license will be suspended for a maximum of 2 years. If a person is convicted of DWI the third time, they face up to 10 years in prison, a $4,000 fine, and a driver's license suspension for up to 2 years.

If you are found in possession of alcohol and are under 21, the following will occur on the first offense: 30 day driver's license suspension, 8 to 12 hours of community service, alcohol-awareness classes and a fine of up to $500. If a second or third offense occurs, the driver's license can be suspended 180 days. If the offender is above the age of 17 they face a maximum of $2,000 in fines and 180 days in jail for the third offense.

If you are under the legal drinking age of 21 and are drinking and driving, the following will occur: 60 day driver's license suspension, $500 fine, 20 to 40 hours of community service, an alcohol awareness classes. Penalties increase with subsequent offenses.

The state of Texas has a zero tolerance rule. That means an individual under the age of 21 cannot possess any alcohol in their blood. The above consequences will occur if the amount of alcohol is very minimal. If the BAC is .08 or greater and the individual is 17 they face up to 180 days in jail.

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Driving While Intoxicated

Driving while intoxicated is the act of operating and/or driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to the degree that mental and motor skills are impaired. It is illegal in all jurisdictions within the U.S. The specific criminal offense is usually called driving under the influence (of alcohol and/or other drugs, DUI), and in some states driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating while impaired (OWI), or operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). Such laws may also apply to boating or piloting aircraft.

In the United States the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 17,941 people died in 2006 in "alcohol-related" collisions, representing 40 percent of total traffic deaths in the US. Over 500,000 people were injured in alcohol-related accidents in the US in 2003. NHTSA defines fatal collisions as "alcohol-related" if they believe the driver, a passenger, or an occupant of the vehicle (such as a pedestrian or pedalcyclist) had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01 or greater. NHTSA defines nonfatal collisions as "alcohol-related" if the accident report indicates evidence of alcohol present. NHTSA specifically notes that "alcohol-related" does not necessarily mean a driver or nonoccupant was tested for alcohol and that the term does not indicate a collision or fatality was caused by the presence of alcohol. On average, about 60 percent of the BAC values are missing or unknown. To analyze what they believe is the complete data, statisticians simulate BAC information. Drivers with a BAC of 0.10 are 6 to 12 times more likely to get into a fatal crash or injury then drivers with no alcohol.