All people make mistakes, and some of those mistakes come with severe consequences. Those parties who underestimate their level of inebriation and get behind the wheel may face DWI charges with strict penalties.
For those facing such charges, it is important to understand the factors that affect the process. In particular, there are a few key elements of the DWI arrest that accused parties should be aware of.
In Texas, implied consent applies. This means that once drivers are under arrest, they must comply with a sobriety test. It is important to note that this rule applies to those drivers who are under arrest, not those being questioned. Therefore, it is possible to refuse the test during the questioning process. The transportation code provides detailed descriptions of the penalties for refusing a sobriety test.
Also, the law requires that the arresting officer inform the driver of his or her right of refusal and the possible penalties for not submitting to the test. If the officer does not fully express this, it may be possible for the driver to contest the charges in court and get them dismissed.
Drivers may face a few possible penalties upon conviction; it all depends upon the occurrence of the offense and its effects. For example, the penalty for a first-time offender is much lower than for a repeat offender. The difference in fines could be as much as $8,000, and while a first-time offender may spend between three and 180 days in jail, a third-time offender could serve a prison sentence between two and 10 years.
A party who was under the influence and swerved in a lane may not receive as harsh a penalty as a driver who caused property damage or injury to another party. If a driver has a child in the car, the penalty will be harsher, as well. A careful review of the law may aid in determining the penalties a party may face.