What Does Your BAC Result Mean for Your DWI Charge?
The numbers from your blood alcohol concentration test hold a lot of weight in determining whether you will be charged with driving while intoxicated. The big number in almost every state is 0.08 percent BAC, which is the legal limit that determines whether you are intoxicated (Utah is the exception because it recently lowered its limit to 0.05 percent). However, there is more to BAC levels in Texas law than a simple 0.08 cut-off point. You can still be charged with DWI when your BAC is below the legal limit, and the level of the charge can increase depending on how much your BAC exceeds the limit.
Less than 0.08
The 0.08 percent BAC limit is based on the percentage of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream that it usually takes to impair their driving capabilities. Your alcohol tolerance may be different than that, depending on factors such as your:
- Body chemistry
If your BAC is above the legal limit but you show no signs of impairment, you are still considered to be legally intoxicated. If your BAC is below the legal limit but you do show signs of impairment, a police officer can still arrest you on suspicion of DWI if they believe that your impairment reached the level of intoxication. Your advantage in this scenario is that the prosecution is basing its case solely on subjective evidence from the officer’s observations, which is easier to dispute than scientific blood test results.
0.15 or Greater
In Texas, a conviction for a first-time DWI with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.14 is a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by as long as 180 days in jail and a fine of as much as $2,000. Having a BAC of 0.15 or greater for a first-time DWI will elevate the charge to a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by as long as one year in jail and a fine of as much as $4,000. This is the same level of a misdemeanor as if you were being charged with committing a second DWI. Either way, a first-time DWI conviction will result in a driver’s license suspension of as long as one year and require you to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle after you have regained your driving privileges.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Lawyer
Law enforcement can make mistakes when measuring your BAC that will create an inaccurately high reading. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can explore whether there is a reason to cast doubt on the accuracy of your tests. Schedule a free consultation by calling 888-726-5625.