Lasting Impacts of a DWI - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Lasting Impacts of a DWI

Drinking and driving is a real problem this time of year, and people don't realize how much getting caught behind the wheel drunk can cost them.

Texas's Blood Alcohol Concentration for people over the age of 21 is .08.
 
"Even if you gave a breathe sample and the level was below .08. You're not going to get out of jail instantly or anything like that. You were still operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol, so you are still going to be charged with Driving While Intoxicated...If you drink and drive you take the chance of getting arrested" said Wichita Falls Police Sergeant John Spragins.

Once someone is arrested and charged with a DWI, they will have to go through a long criminal court process.

"You're going to be arrested, taken to jail, booked into jail, the officers are going to complete the paper work and you're going to stay in jail until you see a judge," said Sergeant Spragins.

The judge will set the defendant's bond, they will be able to pay it off. Then the defendant's case information will be sent to the District Attorney's office. From there, the defendant will have to wait for their day in court.

"It is not a fast process. It is a long drawn out process. It is not like what we see on TV. These things last forever and it follows you forever. It is not something that just instantly goes away," said Sergeant Spragins.

If you are convicted of a DWI, there is not a standard punishment. People can be charged with misdemeanor or felony.

"Anywhere from probation to several years in jail. Its a wide range depending on the circumstances you're involved in," said Sergeant Spragins.

Not only could someone be locked behind bars, they will have to fight to keep their driver's license.

"There will be a separate [court] hearing as far as their driver's license being suspended." said Sergeant Spragins.

When all the court fees and everything is added, it can be quite a lot.

"The fees get really expensive. When you start talking about attorney's fees, driver's license surcharges, and court cost, it adds up quickly and can get into the thousands of dollars," said Sergeant Spragins.

Sergeant Spragins said it is pretty easy to avoid a DWI, just don't drink and drive. He recommends having a plan together before you go out. Have someone drive you home or call a taxi.

James Parish, Newschannel 6

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