A recent study published by WalletHub ranks Texas in the top ten for strictest states on DWI laws. Texas is ranked tenth, in fact, after the company visited and analyzed a number of factors that went into their conclusions. What does this mean for Texas drivers and those accused of DWI? It is a serious charge with serious consequences.
While Texas ranked high on having strict laws, it was only ranked 30th for preventing DWIs. There are a number of reasons why this is so, not the least of which is how many miles of road there are in Texas. With rather lenient drinking laws, and with driving being more of a necessity than not, drinking and driving are a part of the reality of Texas.
There is another takeaway from this study. If the results can be relied upon, then it shows that tough laws penalizing an activity do not prevent that activity from happening. So if Texas has the tenth strictest laws, but ranks in the bottom half for DWI prevention, what is the purpose of the strict laws? That question is for the voting public and lawmakers to answer, but it should spur thought into the reforms needed.
Seriousness of Texas DWI Penalties
The study was right in at least one aspect of its reporting, Texas laws are tough and strict regarding DWIs. For example, for a first time arrest and conviction of DWI the penalty would be:
- A fine of up to $10,000;
- Three to 180 days in jail;
- Loss of driver license;
- Fee to regain license.
While these are fairly standard penalties, the real toughness of Texas law comes when a person is accused and convicted of subsequent DWIs.
With each DWI conviction in Texas comes increased penalties, jail time, and fines. A second offense could end in one year in jail, and a third DWI could mean up to ten years in jail. When compared to other states, these are severe penalties. When a person is convicted of even more DWIs, judges in Texas are empowered further. A recent story reveals this when a judge sentenced a man to life in prison for his DWI.
Understanding Citizen’s Rights
All of this means that those accused of DWI need to understand what their rights are under the law when facing such charges. For example, you have a right to challenge the accusations made against you by the police, and if your constitutional rights were violated, than evidence could be thrown out of the case entirely. This is just one aspect of a DWI case, of course there are many more parts to a defense that you need to know about and understand.
If you are accused of DWI in Texas, you need to consult with the right attorney about your rights and options. Do not settle on just any attorney. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm defending DWI charges is what we do. We will help you understand what your options are, and counsel you as to what your best course of action is. If you are accused of DWI, contact us today.
(image courtesy of J. Durham)