Recent blog posts

Beware Boating While Intoxicated ChargesThe summer can be the height of recreational boating season in Texas, particularly during holidays such as the Fourth of July. Police are aware of this and will be on the lookout for people who have had too much to drink. Boating While Intoxicated is just as serious a charge in Texas as Driving While Intoxicated. People accused of BWI must take the same measures to protect themselves as if they were stopped for a DWI.

Defining Boating While Intoxicated

BWI occurs when a person operating any motorized aquatic vehicle is legally intoxicated, which is defined as having a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 or greater. Just as with a DWI, the punishment for those convicted varies, depending on the offender’s history and aggravating factors:

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Texas Close to Passing Second Chance Law for DWI OffendersA conviction of driving while intoxicated in Texas has consequences beyond the court-issued punishment. The conviction will show up on your criminal record when someone conducts a background check on you. A DWI record could prevent you from getting a new job, bank loan or lease on an apartment. Proposed Texas legislation would allow one-time offenders to seal their DWI records. The “Second Chance Bill” has passed the Texas House of Representatives and Senate and is awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval. The bill has received bipartisan support, based on the idea that an isolated DWI incident should not punish a person for the rest of his or her life.

How It Works

The bill would amend the Texas code regarding the nondisclosure of non-violent class C misdemeanors and DWI convictions with a blood alcohol content level of less than 0.15. Texas passed a similar bill in 2015 that applied to non-violent class A and B misdemeanors. A person could petition a court to seal the record of his or her DWI conviction in Texas, as long as:

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New Program May Expedite Blood Search Warrants During DWI ArrestsIf you have been charged with driving while intoxicated, you can refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test. In Texas, police officers can request a blood search warrant that requires a sample of your blood to be drawn and tested for alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Executing the warrant can take hours because the officer often needs to go to the station or court house to obtain it. However, some Texas municipalities are testing a mobile communications program that enables officers to receive an approved blood search warrant in the field. If the program is successful, it may become easier for law enforcement to obtain evidence against DWI suspects.

Blood Search Warrant

Under Texas law, a judge can issue a blood search warrant that allows a medical professional to collect a DWI suspect’s blood sample as possible evidence of intoxication. An officer can request a blood search warrant as long as:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Field-Sobriety-Test-Types.jpgTexas motorists can refuse to take a field sobriety test when police officers pull them over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Officers use the test to determine if motorists have any physical or mental impairments, and the test results can be evidence in DWI cases. There is no penalty for refusing a field sobriety test, but the driver may still be arrested if the officer believes there are other signs of DWI. If the case goes to trial, prosecutors may claim that refusing the test is evidence of guilt.

Whether you are sober or not, you are taking a risk if you agree to a field sobriety test. You may perform poorly during the test due to factors other than sobriety, such as the surrounding environment or a natural lack of balance. Your test performance can be considered evidence that you were impaired, even if your blood alcohol content was below the legal limit. The National Highway Safety Administration has three standard sobriety tests.

Horizontal Gaze Test

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DWI Offender Wins Appeal Against State of TexasA Texas appellate court recently ruled in favor of a man who argued that the state punished him for having multiple driving while intoxicated convictions without proving his previous conviction. In Oliva v. The State of Texas, the appeals court overturned a lower court decision to convict the defendant of a Class A misdemeanor for DWI, saying it should have been a Class B misdemeanor conviction. According to Texas law:

  • A first-time DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison and a maximum fine of $2,000.
  • A second-time DWI offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $4,000.

The case addressed how a prior DWI conviction must be presented when a subsequent DWI charge is made.

Case Details

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