Houston DWI Lawyers could tell you something which would likely surprise you about drinking and driving—it is not actually illegal to drink and drive, so long as your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is not over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The legal limit for those with a CDL in the state of Texas is 0.04 percent and for those under the age of 21, Texas has a no-tolerance policy, meaning the driver may not have any detectable level of alcohol in his or her system. So, while it’s not ever a good idea to drive after you have been drinking, so long as you are over the age of 21, and do not have a commercial driver’s license, you can legally have a BAC of less than 0.08 percent.
What you need to remember is that it is much easier than you might think to reach that threshold. As an example, a 120-pound woman could reach a 0.08 BAC level after only two drinks. A “drink” is one shot of liquor, 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine. A 200-pound man would likely reach a 0.08 BAC after three drinks. (Most people vastly underestimate the amount of alcohol it takes to impair their driving skills). If you recently had a Harris County Arrest for DWI in Texas, you may have engaged in Harris County Field Sobriety Tests, Harris County Breathalyzer Tests or Harris County Blood Alcohol Tests. Police officers use these tests to determine whether you are driving while impaired, and following a Harris County Arrest for DWI in Texas, you need Houston DWI Attorneys to help you properly decipher Texas DWI laws.
Misinformation Regarding BAC Levels - There are an abundance of misconceptions and misinformation regarding Texas BAC levels. The most common misconception pertains to the “magic” 0.08 percent number. While some people believe this is 8 percent, in fact, 3 percent of alcohol in your body would result in death. BAC is calculated by dividing the number of milliliters of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood—the weight of ethanol, in grams, in 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath. BAC can be measured by through blood, breath or urine.
In truth, neither BAC nor the number of drinks consumed are necessarily accurate indicators of the level of impairment. This is due to the fact that alcohol tolerance varies widely from person to person, and is affected by adaptation to chronic alcohol consumption, genetics, body weight, body fat, gender, whether food was consumed, and a number of other factors. Generally speaking, a blood alcohol level between 0.06 and 0.09, will render a person at least slightly impaired in their balance, speech, vision, reaction time and hearing.
There will also be a reduction in judgment, and an impairment in reasoning and memory at this BAC level. Time is the only thing which can actually lower a person’s BAC levels. For each hour since the first drink, you can deduct 0.015 from your blood alcohol level. If you went to bed at 2:00 a.m. with a BAC of 0.20 (very intoxicated), you would still be considered legally drunk if you were pulled over between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. the next morning, so be aware that it is not possible to “sleep it off,” nor will multiple cups of coffee or a cold shower lower your BAC levels. If you are subjected to a Harris County Arrest for suspicion of DWI in Texas, do not wait, hoping everything will be fine—have a loved one contact experienced Houston DWI Attorneys immediately, so you have an advocate in your corner when facing the Harris County District Attorney.
Commercial Drivers and BAC Levels - If you possess a CDL driver’s license, you should be aware, that you are only allowed an upper limit of 0.04 BAC before you can be arrested and prosecuted for DWI in Texas. It does not matter whether you are on the job or off, or whether you are driving a company vehicle or your own personal vehicle, your legal limit is still only 0.04. Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard due to the fact that they drive much more complex vehicles, and these vehicles, due to their size, present particular dangers to other drivers on the roadways.
While an officer must have probable cause to ask a non-commercial driver to take field sobriety tests (and the driver may refuse the tests), commercial drivers are bound by US Department of Transportation regulations which can subject commercial drivers to random BAC testing. Although fighting a DWI in Texas has very high stakes for virtually anyone, commercial drivers can lose their means of making a living should they be convicted of DWI in Texas under Texas DWI laws.
The Price of a Texas DWI - The penalties for a DWI in Texas are harsh, although having experienced Houston DWI Lawyers by your side can give you a much better chance at the most positive outcome possible. After your Harris County Arrest, the Harris County District Attorney will likely aggressively pursue a conviction. For a first offense DWI in Texas conviction (Class B misdemeanor), you could spend from 3 days to 180 days in jail, pay a fine as large as $2,000, and have your driver’s license suspended for 90-365 days. However, if it is your DWI in Texas First Offense and you had a BAC higher than 0.08, you could face Class A misdemeanor charges. Second, third and subsequent DWI in Texas offenses increase the penalties significantly. If you have an open container in your vehicle, you will spend at least six days in jail. If an accident occurred due to your intoxication, and that accident caused serious bodily injury, you could face a 3rd degree felony, resulting in a maximum of 10 years in prison, and a fine as large as $10,000. If you are convicted of intoxication manslaughter, you could face a 2nd degree felony, with a sentence of 2-20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
How your Houston DWI Lawyers Can Help - After a Harris County Arrest, it is imperative that you contact experienced Houston DWI Lawyers from Sullo & Sullo. Our Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys are highly knowledgeable regarding DWI in Texas, particularly Texas DWI laws, and offer Houston Criminal Lawyer Free Consultations. We are Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers with Payment Plans, and we want to help you through this difficult time. Contact Sullo & Sullo today—Houston DWI Lawyers who will fight for your rights and for your future.