What are the potential penalties for high breathalyzer results?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | DUI

People in Texas are aware that it is illegal to drive while they are under the influence of alcohol. They are also probably generally aware that if the police suspect they are under the influence of alcohol they will be asked to take a breathalyzer test to determine their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The results of the breathalyzer test often are what determines whether people will be charged with a DWI or not.

Under Texas law, people are considered intoxicated if they have a BAC of 0.08 or more at the time they are driving. People can be charged with DWIs if they have a lower BAC as well, if the lower BAC causes people to be impaired. However, most of the time DWIs occur when the breathalyzer reading is .08 or more. There are mandatory penalties even for first time offenses such as jail time and driver’s license suspensions, if people have a BAC of 0.08 or more.

Potential penalties for high BAC

Not all DWIs are treated the same though. If people have a BAC of 0.15 or more the potential penalties increase. It is a Class A misdemeanor as opposed to a Class B misdemeanor. This increases the potential jail time to up to one year and the potential fines up to $4,000. This is in addition the to driver’s license suspension and other consequences.

A DWI conviction for any BAC level is serious, but the consequences only increase when people have higher BAC levels. When people complete the breathalyzer and find out that they have a high BAC, they will likely be charged with a DWI, but that only starts the process. Before they will realize the potential consequences they will need to be convicted, not just charged.

In Texas people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. There may be defenses available to people and prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that people committed the crime they are accused of committing. Experienced attorneys understand the potential defenses and may be a useful resource.