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Your Texas DWI charge: The facts to know

When you went out on the town with your friends, you didn't think you would end up spending your night in the local jail. Despite your good intentions for a fun evening out, circumstances resulted in you getting pulled over, accused of DWI and arrested.

Your job is important to you, and with a professional license on the line, you want to know that your DWI charge won't cost you your career. Here are some things you should keep in mind about a Texas DWI charge.

When can you be charged with a DWI?

A person can face a DWI if his or her blood alcohol concentration tests at .08 percent or higher. You could face a DWI charge if you are accused of having been impaired even if you're under this BAC, however.

If you have a child in your vehicle at the time of a DWI arrest or stop, you could face child endangerment charges. If convicted, you could be fined up to $10,000 for endangering a child and could lose your driver's license for up to 180 days. There's a risk that you could go to jail for up to two years as well.

How does a DWI affect your professional licensing?

It depends on the licensing and if you face penalties through the licensing department. For example, if you're a doctor and get a DWI, the Texas Medical Board may review whether it wants to restrict your license. Sometimes, nothing happens to your licensing. Other times, convictions could end up costing you a career.

What penalties do you face for a first offense DWI in Texas?

If you are convicted of a first offense, you could face a fine of up to $2,000 and spend up to 180 days in jail with a three-day minimum. You could lose your driver's license for up to a year and have to pay an annual fee of up to $2,000 to keep your license in the future. This fee is usually payable for up to three years.

What should you do if you face a DWI?

The first thing you should do is look into your legal options. Generally, it is wise to be very careful about what you say to police, as there is the possibility for what you say to be used against you. Your attorney can be present if you are to be interviewed, as well.

It's a good idea to look into a defense as soon as possible. Even if you tested with a high blood alcohol concentration at the time of an arrest, there are rules that the police have to follow. Police making a mistake or doing things that create accuracy issues related to test results are among the things that could create key grounds for challenging DWI charges.

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Keith Gore, Lawyer
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