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An allegation of driving while under the influence, or DUI, carries serious potential penalties. These charges carry a required jail sentence, heavy fines, and a lengthy license suspension.
To prove these charges, a prosecutor must prove that a person was driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol. This case is usually dependent upon the arresting officer’s observations, which are vulnerable to cross-examination during trial.
A Plainview DUI lawyer is dedicated to defending individuals facing DUI Charges. A skilled defense attorney can work to discredit the prosecutor’s case and preserve your freedom and right to drive.
When is Someone Driving Under the Influence in Plainview?
Driving under the influence, like all other criminal accusations, must be specifically defined under Texas law. Texas Penal Code §49.04 provides the core definition. It states that a person is driving while intoxicated if they operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated in a public place. Looking closely at the definition, there are three terms that need to be expanded upon.
First is the idea of intoxication. Texas law defines intoxication as having a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or above. Alternatively, a person can be intoxicated if their mental or physical capacities are impaired from drugs or alcohol. Therefore, a person can be intoxicated even if their blood-alcohol level is below .08 percent if the arresting officer makes the judgment call after observing the driver.
Second, a person must be operating the motor vehicle. Under this definition, a person riding a bicycle cannot be drunk driving. Nor can a passenger of a motor vehicle. However, if a person is behind the wheel, with the keys in the ignition, they are legally operating the vehicle. It does not matter whether they are actually driving.
Finally, the offense must occur in a public place. This can include roads, public parking lots, or garages. A person cannot be drunk driving on their own property or when invited onto another person’s normally private land. It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to prove each of these elements.
What are the Potential Consequences of a DUI?
A DUI is unique in that a person is facing both criminal penalties and driving consequences. Even for the most basic level of DUI with no aggravating circumstances the penalties are severe.
Texas Penal Code § 49.04(b), states that a DUI will result in a minimum jail term of 72 hours and is a Class B misdemeanor. However, if the person has an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, or their blood-alcohol level is at least .15 percent, the penalties are increased to those of a Class A misdemeanor.
The penalties are also enhanced if:
- There was a child in the car at the time
- A collision causes injury to another person
- The defendant has a prior conviction for DUI
On top of the potential criminal penalties, a DUI may also affect a person’s driving privileges. For even a first offense, a person’s license may be suspended for a minimum of 90 days. This suspension term can reach a maximum of one year.
Contact a Plainview DUI Attorney Today
A DUI offense carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence and a long loss of your license. For anyone accused of a subsequent offense or with other aggravating factors the penalties can rise to a felony level. It is vital that anyone facing these accusations take every possible step to protect themselves.
A Plainview DUI attorney is here to defend individuals accused of all sorts of DUI charges. A lawyer can work to discredit the prosecutor’s case at every opportunity and to protect the rights and freedoms of the accused. Contact a lawyer today to let them get to work for you.