Drinking and driving is a serious matter. In the state of Texas, someone is injured or killed in an alcohol-related crash every 20 minutes. Texas state law prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
A motor vehicle is exactly what it sounds like—any motor-powered vehicle. That means you can get arrested for operating a boat while intoxicated, or even a lawnmower.
Impairment begins with the first drink. Depending on your weight, how much food you’ve consumed, and other factors determine how the alcohol will affect you. For some people, two beers in an hour can make them intoxicated. But in the age of high-alcohol craft beer, it all depends on the beverage.
The punishments are severe
Your best bet if you’ve been drinking is not to get behind the wheel. If you do, here are some possible consequences:
- First offense: Fines up to $2,000; up to 180 days in jail; loss of license up to a year. If you refuse to submit to a sobriety test, your license is automatically suspended for 180 days.
- Second offense: Fines up to $4,000; up to 365 days in jail; no license for at least a year.
- Third offense: Fines up to $10,000; up to 10 years in prison; no license for a year or two.
- Child passenger: If you’re arrested for DWI with a passenger under 15 years old, that’s a felony. You’re looking at a couple years in jail and fines up to $10,000.
- Annual fees: On top of the standard fines, you could be looking at annual fees of up to $2,000 for three years while you retain your driver’s license.
- Zero tolerance: If you’re under 21 years of age, your BAC better be 0.00%.
It’s easy to forget the intoxicating power of alcohol, especially while attending a dinner party or other gathering. Easier to forget are the hefty consequences if you’re arrested. It’s better to be safe than very, very sorry. Put that drink down if you’re driving. Reach for the water instead.