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Three tips for anyone who gets stopped for a DWI in Texas

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal charge that Texas officials take very seriously. Even a few drinks could provide officers with enough evidence to support these charges. As a result, it is beneficial for every driver in the state to have a basic idea of what to do if pulled over while driving after consuming any amount of alcohol:

  • Cooperate with officers. First, if you see those iconic red and blue flashing lights in your review mirror pull over. Pull over safely and roll down your window to address the officer. You are generally required to provide your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance but you do not have to answer questions.
  • Field sobriety tests are easy to "fail." These tests, as discussed in a piece by Forbes, are designed to divide your attention and increase the likelihood that you will not perform well. As noted by Forbes, "even an Olympic gymnast probably couldn't perform the field sobriety tests to an officer's satisfaction." Although you are generally required to get out of your vehicle when requested to do so by an officer, you are not required to take this test.
  • Handle an arrest wisely. If you are arrested and charged with a DWI, do not argue with the officer or try to run away - call a lawyer. Also, be aware of the fact that anything you say could be used against you. This can include what is said during phone conversations. Choose your words wisely. Do not incriminate yourself.

These charges are serious. If enough evidence is gathered to support a conviction you could face harsh penalties.

What penalties come with a DWI charge in Texas? In Texas, it is illegal to operate a vehicle a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Criminal penalties that come with a conviction can include:

  • Driving ability. One of the punishments connected to a conviction for a DWI is the loss of the ability to drive. Your driver's license can be taken away for up to one year for a first offense and two years for a second or third offense.
  • Fine. If convicted, you could face a fine. The amount varies with your history and the details of the charges. However, even a first time offense can come with a fine of up to $2,000. This does not include the cost of other fees that can accompany the charges.
  • Prison. A conviction can also result in prison time. A first conviction can lead to up to 180 days in jail, a second can result in one year imprisonment and a third, up to 10 years in prison.

Additional penalties, including required use of an ignition interlock device, can apply.

What can I do if I am facing DWI charges? It is important to know that charges do not automatically become a conviction. A case must be built against you. As such, you have an opportunity to build a defense and fight these charges.

The defense that is best will depend on the details of your specific situation. As such, it is wise to contact an attorney to review your case and help better ensure your legal rights are protected.

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