Archive for February, 2013

Texas DWI and Understanding Ignition Interlock Devices


An ignition interlock device is a device that you blow into which detects your blood alcohol content (BAC). It is essentially a breath test that is installed in your vehicle, and your car will not start until after you have blown into the device and had your blood-alcohol level tested. In Texas, a person with a DWI charge who has a prior DWI conviction on his record can be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in vehicles that he owns or leases. A person with a commercial driver’s license and a DWI conviction can also be required to use an ignition interlock device. 

Our Texas DWI attorneys know it’s important to understand these devices if you are facing a potential DWI conviction and may need to have a device installed in your vehicle.

Understanding Ignition Interlock Devices

Ignition interlock devices are intended to make sure that you cannot drive when you are intoxicated. When you are ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle as a result of a DWI conviction, you will be responsible for paying for the cost of the installation of the device. You must have a device installed on any car that you own or lease, even if the vehicle is shared with someone else in your family or co-owned by someone else in your household.

Once the ignition interlock device has been installed in your vehicle, you must blow into the device every single time you start the car. This means that if there are others in your family who share your vehicle, they too will have to blow into the ignition interlock device before driving. This can be a minor inconvenience for family members, but it is an unfortunate necessity based on the way ignition interlock devices work.

The device will take a reading of your blood-alcohol content, just as a breath test does when police administer the test to a suspected drunk driver. If your blood-alcohol content has exceeded the legal limit based on the test results, then you will be unable to drive your vehicle as the car will not start. The hope, therefore, is that the device will prevent drivers from driving drunk.

The ignition interlock device can also require rolling breath checks as well as a test after you start the car. This means that as you are driving or operating your vehicle, you can be required to blow into the breath test to have your blood-alcohol content rechecked. The test allows plenty of time for you to pull over so you can be tested safely, and you won’t have to worry about taking the test as you drive in traffic. If you fail to blow into the breath test or if your test reveals that your BAC is too high and you fail the rolling re-test, then the horn will go off and the lights will start flashing. You also cannot turn off the car. You must take the rolling retest.

When you blow into the ignition interlock and fail the test, either initially or in a rolling retest, the failure is recorded and can be a violation of your probation. The best way to ensure you are not paying for one of these devices to monitor your every move behind the wheel is to fight the drunk-driving charge in the first place.

You need an experienced, aggressive Texas DWI lawyer.  Call 1-800-395-5951 today for your free consultation. More than 20 years experience.

Texas DWI Law: Interstate Consequences of a DWI


When you are cited for driving while intoxicated, you face a number of consequences. For example, an automatic license suspension can go into effect. You also face criminal charges and may be convicted, fined and jailed. One common question that people have, however, is what happens if you are arrested for a DWI in a different state? After all, each state issues its own driver’s licenses, so many people aren’t sure how an out-of-state DWI will impact their license in their own state.

Our Texas DWI lawyers believe it is important that everyone is aware of the consequences of a DWI when visiting another state. Throughout the U.S., the states have come together to create reporting programs and to exchange information about DWI offenders. These cooperative efforts ensure that a person who drives drunk when he is out of his home state will still face consequences upon returning home. As such, it is just as important to avoid driving drunk out of town and just as essential to take an arrest seriously if it happens someplace other than the state where you live.

Interstate Consequences of a DWI

There are two different enforcement systems in place to ensure that a person convicted of a DWI faces consequences in his home state: the Driver’s License Compact (DLC) and the Nonresident Violator Compact (NRVC). Forty-five states are current members of the Compact, including Texas. A map of the states that participate in the DLC and NRVC can be found on the website of the National College for DUI Defense.

If you are convicted of a DWI, the Driver’s License Compact mandates that the state where you are convicted must relay the information about your offense to your home state. This means that if you are convicted anywhere outside of Texas, news of the conviction will reach Texas. When the home state receives information about your conviction, it takes action against your driver’s license according to its own rules. Once Texas learns of your conviction, therefore, your license will be suspended for the required length of time depending upon whether you have any previous DWI convictions.

The DMV in the state where your offense occurred may also suspend your right to drive within that state. This is not, however, the end of the consequences, and the suspension does affect your rights at home. In all 50 states, your suspension is entered into a registry of drivers with suspended licenses. When you apply for a new license or you try to renew your license, every state is required to check the registry. This means that no matter where you go, whether you go back to Texas or move to a different state entirely, your license suspension will be on the record and your license will be denied if your out-of-state suspension is active.

Because of these different rules, it is very important to take out-of-state DWI charges just as seriously as you would if you were arrested in your home state.

You need an experienced, aggressive Texas DWI lawyer.  Call 1-800-395-5951 today for your free consultation. More than 20 years experience.

Texas Drunk Driving Attorneys: Calculating Your BAC


In Texas, it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. For younger drivers under the legal drinking age, zero-tolerance rules impose penalties with a BAC of .02 or higher. Commercial drivers also have a lower maximum BAC and can face consequences if their blood alcohol content exceeds .04. In addition to these general rules, Texas also imposes enhanced penalties upon any driver with a blood-alcohol content level of .15 or higher.

Because your BAC is such an important determining factor under Texas DWI law, it is important to have some idea of how many drinks will cause you to exceed the legal limit. The way in which alcohol affects your blood-alcohol content can vary based on a number of different factors including your weight, how long the alcohol metabolizes in your body, your metabolism and your gender. Medications that you take can also affect the way in which your body processes alcohol.

Even a simple choice about whether to mix a drink with diet soda or regular soda can affect your BAC. A recent study found that diet soda mixed with vodka resulted in breath alcohol concentrations that were 18 percent higher after 40 minutes, compared to people who drank a regular soda mixed with the same amount of vodka.

For all of these reasons, it can be difficult to get an accurate estimate of how much you can drink before you are over the legal limit. Despite the challenges, however, our Texas DWI lawyers believe that it is important that you have some idea of how drinking will affect you and of how much is too much to drink.

Estimating your Blood Alcohol Content

Because different types of drinks have differing amounts of alcohol in them, it is important to first understand the alcohol content of varying types of drinks. For example:

  • One ounce of 80 proof spirits is generally considered to constitute one drink.
  • A three ounce glass of wine has an ounce of eighty proof spirits and is considered one drink.
  • An eight ounce glass of five percent beer has an ounce of eighty proof spirits and is considered one drink

Using this information, the National Council for DUI Defense provides a table that allows you to estimate your BAC based on the number of drinks consumed, your weight and your gender. The table is available on its website and reveals, for example, that:

  • A 100 pound man who has two drinks over the course of one hour would likely be at the legal limit of .08.
  • A 200 pound man who has five drinks in an hour would likely be at the legal limit of .08.
  • A 100 pound woman who had two drinks in an hour would be over the limit with a BAC of .09.
  • A 200 pound woman who had four drinks in an hour would be slightly over the limit with a BAC of .09.
By using this table, you can estimate how drinking alcohol will affect your BAC, and you can get a rough idea of how many drinks you can consume before you are too drunk to drive.
The website for Joseph LaBella & Associates also has a “BAC calculator.” Click here to go to the home page, scroll to the bottom and click on the calculator.
Remember, drinking while intoxicated is extremely dangerous, and you are at risk of both arrest and of causing an auto accident if you drive drunk. It is always best to err on the side of caution and have either nothing to drink or stick to one drink if you plan to drive.  While estimating your BAC can be helpful, therefore, you should not count on estimates to always be accurate for you, and you should pay attention to your own limits when making the decision to drive after having anything to drink at all.
You need an experienced, aggressive Texas DWI lawyer.  Call 1-800-395-5951 today for your free consultation. More than 20 years experience.