When you drive in Texas, you’re expected to know and adhere to state traffic laws. In certain situations, traffic laws and the criminal justice system may intersect. This would be the case if an officer pulls you over in a traffic stop and you wind up facing a DUI arrest.
An officer taking you into police custody is a stressful and potentially frightening experience. The more you know about DUI laws ahead of time, the less likely you might be to violate such laws. Having knowledge and understanding of state laws doesn’t guarantee that you will never face arrest for suspected drunk driving. However, it might be helpful as you navigate the criminal justice system.
Your BAC level determines if you are legally intoxicated
You might say that you “feel” quite able to drive after consuming alcohol while dining out or while attending a party. How you feel is not a determining factor for the legal permission to operate a motor vehicle. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is .08 or higher, you do not have legal permission to drive because you are legally intoxicated, regardless of how you feel at the time.
The penalties under conviction are severe in Texas
You can lose your license for a whole year and spend up to 180 days behind bars if a Texas judge convicts you of drunk driving. This may be in addition to fines as high as $2,000. The penalties mentioned here are for a first offense. Subsequent convictions include even steeper penalties.
Never drive with an open container of alcohol in your vehicle
If a police officer pulls you over on the way and notices an open container of alcohol inside your vehicle, he or she can take you into custody for suspected DUI. It does not matter if the container does not belong to you. It also does not matter if you are completely sober at the time. While you might be able to prove that you are sober after taking a Breathalyzer test, law enforcement will administer the test after making an arrest.
In Texas, it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle. This constitutes probable cause to make a DUI arrest. Such is the case whether your vehicle was moving down a highway when a traffic stop ensued or was in an idling or fully stopped position on the side of the road.
Criminal defense options for DUI charges
Even if you know you are sober when a DUI arrest takes place, it is always best to enter police custody without resistance. After that, you may explore numerous defense options that might be available to you and may also seek whatever guidance or support you feel is necessary before your case is adjudicated.