You've never been so excited. You're going bird watching at Packery Channel. What an adventure! You have some high tech, range roof prisms binoculars (all the rage amongst bird-watching aficionados), a handy guide, and your flask of whiskey. What more could you need? You saw it all -- Reddish Egrets, Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks, and a coveted Whooping Crane. Delightful. Now, it's time to drive home.
As luck may have it, Corpus Christi Police wasn't fond of your driving. The officer asks you to take some tests where you stand on one foot. Since you fell over during the test, you're arrested and brought to the Magistration and Detention Center for booking and processing.
Here's some things to think about if you or someone you know if facing a DWI in Corpus Christi.
Corpus Christi DWIs: You Aren't Just Dealing With the Courts
Most people don't realize that when they are arrested for a DWI in Corpus Christi, they'll have to juggle two separate agencies: the Texas DMV and the Corpus Christi criminal courts. Why? Because the DMV will handle your license suspension pursuant to the implied consent laws and the courts will deal with your criminal case.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Charges
In Texas, there are two primary ways to charge a driver impaired by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both:
1. You are driving and determined to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs,
2. Your chemical test result is 0.08 percent. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher.
Possible DWI Criminal Penalties
Texas's DWI sentencing laws are tough. The judge uses mitigating factors to determine a person's sentence. Factors include your BAC, any use of prescription medications at the time of driving, your current driving record, and other aspects of your DWI situation and overall driving history. A sentence is largely based on what charge the defendant is facing.
Penalties can include possible jail time, a huge fine, and other conditions, such as mandatory license suspension, completing all recommended treatment or education classes, and the installation of an Interlock Device on any car you own or operate. You may also be ordered to participate in Alcohol Awareness classes.
Defendants will face enhanced penalties if their chemical test shows a BAC of .15 percent or higher. These penalties include installation of an interlock device on their car, periodic treatment throughout probation if convicted, and a mandatory license suspension.
I Refused the Chemical Test. Now What?
If you refused a blood or breath test, there's almost always a penalty. Here's why -- when you originally received your license, you gave your implied consent that you would submit to a chemical test if an officer suspected you of driving while intoxicated.
If you're lawfully arrested and refuse to take the chemical test, you'll be fined and the DMV will automatically suspend your license for 180 days for the first refusal. This is in addition to any penalties you'll receive if you are convicted or plead in the criminal case.
Even if you aren't convicted in the criminal case, you can still face a license suspension because of a refusal to submit to testing.
Under Age 21 DUI
Texas isn't playing around when it comes to young people who drink alcohol and drive. The state has zero tolerance for these activities. Young Texans under 21 will have their licenses suspended as follows:
o 60 days on the first offense,
o 90 days for the second offense,
o 180 days for the third offense.
Additionally, youths have to complete a 12-Hour Alcohol Education program, pay fines, court costs, and other legal fees.
If a youthful offender's BAC is over .08% or higher, the Nueces County prosecutor can charge them with a standard DWI.
DWI with a Child Passenger
If you're driving while intoxicated with a child younger than 15 years old in your car, you'll face up to a $10,000 fine, jail time up to 2 years and a license suspension for 180 days.
If I'm Convicted or Plead, What Happens With My Insurance?
If you are convicted of a DWI, one of two things will likely happen. Either your Texas insurance company will raise your rates, or your policy could be cancelled or not renewed.
A Final Word on Corpus Christi DWIs
Remember, it's best to never drink or use drugs and drive. Select a designated driver ahead of time who will stay sober. You can also ask someone else to give you a ride, call a taxi, or use public transportation. Last, but not least, individuals charged with DWI may want to seek the help of a Corpus Christi criminal defense attorney.