We all make mistakes in our lives. It’s easy to get carried away and drink too much at social events, especially if it’s a summer lake day or you’re on vacation. You may find yourself at a party sharing drinks, telling stories, talking about your hobbies, and discussing your career with your friends. But drinking irresponsibly or using drugs will almost always bring unwanted consequences.
Most of them are usually harmless in the long run, but in some cases, the situation might end up being worse than simply falling and injuring yourself or sending a nonsensical text to your boss. Sooner or later, that party is going to end and you have to get yourself home. If you didn’t plan for this occurrence and you get behind the wheel while intoxicated, you’re putting yourself and others in serious danger.
Sometimes people are lucky, and no one gets hurt. However, if caught by the police, you’re going to face serious legal consequences that will hurt your finances and affect your future. Charges for driving while intoxicated should never be underestimated and can remain on your criminal record indefinitely. It’s considered a serious crime in Texas and can result in expensive fines or even jail time.
Whether it’s your first offense or third, hiring a Fort Worth DWI attorney will be a wise choice. They can help you fight or downplay the charges to protect yourself from the harsh consequences.
The Difference Between DUI and DWI
Both these terms indicate that a driver is being charged with a serious offense because they endangered innocent pedestrians and individuals sharing the road.
- DUI stands for driving under the influence. If a person under the age of 21 is pulled over and has any alcohol in his system, then he or she can be charged with a DUI. This is the only officially legal use of the term “DUI” in Texas. This is due to Texas’s zero-tolerance policy. A person under the age of 21 can still be charged with a DWI if their blood alcohol concentration is .08 or greater or if they were driving while under the influence of drugs.
- DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. In Texas, DWIs are charged under the Texas Penal Code, which makes it a more serious offense. Penalties can range from heavy fines to time in jail or prison.
It’s everyone’s job to keep the roads a safe place. Make plans not to drive when you intend to consume drugs or alcohol.
Thinking that nothing will happen because no one was hurt is a huge mistake. A first-time offender charged with DWI in Texas can result in a $2000 county fine, anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 in state fines, a jail sentence up to 180 days, and loss of driving privileges for up to a year.
When convicted of DWI in Texas, there is no removing the charges from your criminal record, ever. This can compromise your ability to get a job, as you’ll need to disclose both your public and criminal record on your job applications. A DWI can also affect lease applications and make finding housing and apartments a chore.
If you’re a habitual offender, you may end up facing up to ten years in prison while your license is revoked for two years. If a child was in your vehicle while you were intoxicated, you can also be charged with child endangerment, which will only compound the consequences you’ll face.
Find Professional Help
Consider hiring a dedicated DWI lawyer as soon as possible so you can fight or downplay these charges effectively. Your lawyer has the knowledge and experience which can help reduce your jail terms and other penalties so you won’t ruin your life. Don’t try to defend yourself in court when your future is on the line. You weren’t smart behind the wheel, but you can be when facing a judge.