Beaumont residents from all walks of life could easily find themselves charged with a DWI.
Like most other states, the legal alcohol limit in Texas is .08 blood alcohol content.
Again like other states, Texas authorities can still charge for a drunk driving offense based on a person’s driving and other behavior, even if the person tests below .08 BAC.
In short, one night at a party or even a few drinks over a business luncheon can end with an executive, professional or other person facing a DWI.
The penalties for a first-offense DWI are significant. A person can lose thousands of dollars to fines and other fees and could also face a license suspension for up to 1 year.
Even with no aggravating circumstances, a first conviction carries with it a mandatory sentence of 3 days in jail. If a person receives probation, they may have to pay for counseling, an ignition interlock device or other expenses.
The consequences of a drunk driving conviction may go beyond criminal penalties
But even if a first-time offender manages to avoid the most serious criminal penalties, the consequences for a drunk driving conviction go far beyond just those a judge might impose.
Just about anyone, for example, will have to pay significantly higher automobile insurance premiums for a number of months or even years.
On a related note, after a DWI, commercial drivers will lose their ability to operate a commercial vehicle for 1 year, meaning effectively that they will not be able legally to earn a living by driving during that time.
This penalty applies even if the driver was operating a private passenger vehicle at the time of the incident.
Other professionals may also face additional penalties for a DWI conviction. For example, doctors, other medical professionals, attorneys and others may have actions taken against their licenses to practice.
The bottom line is that a resident of Southeast Texas should always carefully consider how to respond to a DWI charge, even if it is a first-time offense.