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Aggravating factors may make DWI penalties higher

| Mar 19, 2020 | Firm News |

The Austin Police Department cracks down heavily on DWI offenders. Many people who are driving while intoxicated in Texas may already have more than one offense, especially if they drink regularly. 

Multiple DWI offenses and other aggravating factors often result in more severe penalties. 

BAC levels  

According to AustinTexas.gov, the rate of alcohol absorption varies from person to person based on a variety of factors including gender, weight and number of drinks. A blood alcohol content level of 0.08% may not make drivers visibly drunk, but if pulled over, they are over the legal limit. On the other hand, someone who acts visibly impaired but has a lower BAC may still receive a DWI charge. 

The city qualifies a hard-core drinker as a repeat DWI offender who has a BAC level of 0.15% or higher. 

Penalties 

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a first DWI conviction will result in a maximum $2,000 fine, 180 days in jail, and an annual $2,000 fee for three years to keep a driver’s license. Maximum limits for a second offense are a $4,000 fine, one-year incarceration, two-year license revocation and the $2,000 annual driver’s license fee for three years. The fine and incarceration limits for a third conviction rise to $10,000 and 10 years, respectively. 

A driver with a minor passenger under 15 years old may also receive a child endangerment conviction, which comes with a maximum fine of $10,000, two years in jail and 180 days without driving privileges. 

A driver or a passenger with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle will receive a $500 fine.