There are several penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas. Whether you are arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, DWI penalties can be severe. As a former prosecutor, Morgan Bourque has handled DWI/DUI cases from both sides of the courtroom. His knowledge of the law and DWI penalties enable him to anticipate the actions that the opposing side may take, and build an even stronger defense based on this insider’s perspective.
But alcohol and asphalt don’t mix. And with each successive offense, the DWI penalties increase until you eventually lose your license and/or go to jail. According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, DWI penalties include:
Driving While Intoxicated
Section 49.04 of the Penal Code states that a person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. DWI is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.
Driving Under the Influence – Minors
Section 106.041 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code makes it illegal for a minor to operate a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor’s system. Driving under the influence is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500, an alcohol awareness course, community service, and driver’s license suspension.
Driving While Intoxicated with an Open Container
Section 49.04 of the Penal Code also states that driving while intoxicated while the driver had an open container of alcohol in the person’s immediate possession is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of six days.
Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger
Section 49.045 of the Penal Code states that driving while intoxicated while the vehicle is occupied by a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age is a state jail felony.
Definition of Intoxication
Section 49.01(2)(a) of the Penal Code defines intoxication as “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; OR (b) having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.”
Open Container Law (Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in a Motor Vehicle)
Section 49.031 of the Penal Code says that a person commits an offense if the person knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked. An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.
It is an exception if at the time of the offense the person was a passenger in:
- the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxicab, or limousine; or
- the living quarters of a motorized house coach or motorized house trailer, including a self-contained camper, a motor home, or a recreational vehicle.
Good people can make mistakes and sometimes innocents get caught in a web of suspicion. No matter your situation, Morgan Bourque is ready to provide efficient, aggressive representation inside and outside the courtroom to prevent severe DWI penalties.
We service the following areas in Texas; Harris County, Montgomery County, The Woodlands, Houston, Spring, Conroe, Montgomery, Magnolia and Oak Ridge.
Call now to review your DWI case and begin establishing a successful strategy.