Most drivers in Texas are considered legally intoxicated when they get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, but the threshold is lower for commercial vehicle operators and motorists under the age of 21. People who possess a commercial driver’s license can be charged with DUI if they operate a truck with a BAC of .04, and drivers under the age of 21 violate the Lone Star State’s drunk driving laws if they get behind the wheel after consuming any alcohol.
DUI penalties in Texas
The DUI penalties in Texas become more severe with each subsequent conviction. The punishments for a first DUI conviction include a fine of up to $2,000, a custodial sentence of between three and 180 days in jail and a driving ban lasting up to a year. The maximum fine and custodial sentence increases to $4,000 and two years for a second offense, and a third conviction could result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail sentence of up to 10 years. An individual convicted of DUI for the second or third time could also lose their driving privileges for up to two years. State fines, which are assessed at sentencing, range from $3,000 to $6,000 in drunk driving cases.
Drunk driving with a minor in the vehicle
The drunk driving penalties in Texas are even more severe when intoxicated motorists have children under the age of 15 in their vehicles. This will result in a child endangerment charge that carries a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to two years.
Challenging toxicology evidence
Prosecutors usually rely on the results of breath tests to prove intoxication in drunk driving cases, but this kind of evidence is far from infallible. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could seek to have DUI charges dismissed if records reveal that the equipment used to conduct breath tests was not properly maintained. They could also question the reliability of BAC evidence when their clients suffer from medical conditions that are known to influence breath-test results.