New DWI Law Enhances the Punishment for “Extreme DWI”

This weekend will mark the first weekend for a new drunk driving law that will potentially enhance the penalty for first offenders to a class A misdemeanor, which doubles the punishment range for a first DWI offense. The new law is commonly referred to as “extreme DWI” and it applies whenever a person’s blood alcohol concentration (or “BAC”) is above a 0.15.

The current legal limit for BAC in Texas is 0.08, and usually a first offense for DWI is charged as a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $2,000.00 fine, 180 days in jail or both. Absorption rates vary from each individual, but according to a general chart for average absorption rates, having a BAC of 0.08 roughly translates into three beers consumed over the course of an hour by a 140 lb. person.

Although it is not illegal to drink and drive, it is illegal for a motorist to drive once they become intoxicated. A police officer’s discretion to take someone off the street is very low, and they really only need reasonable suspicion to think a violation of the law has occurred to arrest you. They will usually look for clues to confirm their suspicions, such as a field sobriety test, or they may request for a blood test or breathalyzer test, but they do not have to in order to arrest someone for DWI.

Also, at least in Harris county, law enforcement officers are acquiring warrants for people’s blood if they refuse to give a sample willfully. This practice happens every weekend under the county’s “no refusal weekend” policy.

If you or a loved one are arrested on suspicion of DWI and you were forced to give a specimen of blood or breath you face serious legal consequences that may cost you a lot of time and money. Your license may be suspended for a period of time, your freedom may be restricted and the costs of legal defense can get expensive.

Everyone should always drink responsibly and drive only when they have the normal use of your mental and physical faculties. However, if you or someone you know are arrested on suspicion of DWI then you need an aggressive attorney who will fight to preserve your rights under the law. Contact the law offices of The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp for a consultation if you or someone you know has been arrested on the suspicion of a crime.