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DWI with .15 BAC

Texas law enforcement utilizes a measurement known as blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to determine how impaired a person is via alcohol or drugs. Officers measure BAC in various ways through chemical testing including breath analysis, urinalysis, and blood analysis. If officers find a driver has a BAC at or above .08, then they’ll automatically be charged with drunk driving.

However, what you might not know is that if you have what the court considers to be a “high” BAC, then your penalties may be enhanced. According to the Texas Penal Code Section 49.04(d), if you have a BAC at or above .15% then you could be facing an extended jail sentence and even steeper conviction fines. These harsh penalties mean you will need legal representation as soon as possible if you wish to successfully reduce or dismiss your charges.

Harris County Lawyer for DWI with .15 BAC | High BAC DUI, Texas

The purpose of having penalty enhancements for DWI cases with high BAC is to deter drivers from drinking excessively before driving. Despite this, legislators have not taken into account the fact not everyone processes alcohol in the same way. Some people can have a relatively high BAC but still be able to function normally due to their height, weight, metabolism, their tolerance for alcohol, and other factors.

Unfortunately, the law doesn’t care if you have a high alcohol tolerance or not. Prosecutors will still charge you with DWI, especially if your BAC is at or above .15%. Thankfully, you have options. You can contact Matthew Horak of Horak Law for a case analysis and begin working on an effective defense plan as soon as possible.

Attorney Horak has dedicated years of his career to defending clients of all crimes and has a special focus in DWI. He can utilize his years of experience, extensive resources, and large network to help you secure the best possible outcome for your case. Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation in The Wooldands or Houston, Texas.

We also accept clients in other counties including Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, and Liberty County.

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What Is a High BAC for a DUI?

It’s an unfortunate truth that driving while intoxicated is common in the state of Texas. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that a person is killed every 20 minutes by a residential or commercial drunk driver. Texas legislators have responded to this ongoing issue by implementing harsh DWI laws for those charged with drunk driving. These laws do include serious penalty enhancements for incredibly inebriated drivers with a “high” BAC.

Under Texas Penal Code Section 49.04, you’re guilty of DWI if:

  • You were operating a motor vehicle in a public place
  • You had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08; or
  • Your physical and mental faculties were impaired to the point you were unable to drive via alcoholic beverages or a controlled substance

The legal limit in Texas, and the entire United States, is .08 %. If you’re found with a BAC at or above the limit, you’ll be charged with a DWI per se. You’ll face an enhanced prison sentence and fine if the court finds you had an exceedingly high BAC, meaning you were extremely inebriated. What’s defined as a “high BAC” can be found Texas Penal Code 49.04(b) as having a BAC at or above .15%.

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What Does DWI BAC 0.15 Mean?

For most people, if you have a blood alcohol concentration at or above .1 %, you’re likely to be very impaired by either drugs or alcohol. Drivers who operate their vehicle at this BAC tend to weave, have an extremely reduced reaction time, and are generally too impaired to drive. In fact, the National Highway Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA) reported that 68% of all DWI fatalities include a driver with a BAC at or above .15%.

In response to statistics similar to these, the state of Texas has passed penalty enhancements for DWI cases if the driver has a high BAC. The state considers a “high BAC” to be at or above .15%. If the court finds you guilty of committing a DWI with a BAC of .15, then you’ll face a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $4,000

In addition to the penalties listed above, the judge will likely add the following conditions to your sentencing.

  • 200 hours of community service
  • Driver’s license suspension for 2 years
  • Ignition interlock device installed on your car
  • Completion of a DWI Education Program
  • Potential restitution
  • DPS annual fee of $2,000 for three years

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Other DWI Penalty Enhancements

  • DWI with Child Passenger – According to the Texas Penal Code Section 49.045, you cannot drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above or to the point your mental and physical faculties are impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance.
  • Intoxication Assault – The penalty for DWI increases if someone is seriously injured due to the crime. The offense is referred to as intoxication assault and it can be found under Section 49.07 of the Penal Code. The code establishes a person is guilty of intoxication assault if the victim sustains a serious bodily injury which means the victim faces a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
  • Intoxication Manslaughter – If someone dies due to your DWI, you should expect life-changing penalties. You will be charged with intoxication manslaughter under the Texas Penal Code Section 49.08 and could face either a second or first-degree felony.

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Additional Resources

Texas Laws for High BAC DUI – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about driving while intoxicated (DWI) crimes including DWI with .15 BAC. Access the site to learn the elements of the crime, penalties and other possible enhancements for DWI.

Blood Alcohol Calculator – Visit the official website for Aware Awake Alive, which is a non-profit and non-partisan organization that is dedicated to raising awareness surrounding drunk driving. Access the site to learn how many drinks it may take for you to reach a BAC of .08% or .15%. There you can also learn an explanation for each BAC level and the side effects of each.

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Houston High BAC DWI Lawyer | Driving While Intoxicated, TX

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving with a high BAC, then it’s within your best interest to call Horak Law. Attorney Horak has extensive experience with DWI cases and can utilize his knowledge for your case. He can conduct a free thorough case analysis and start developing a defense plan for you right then and there.

Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation free of charge.

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  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization | Criminal Law
  • National College for DUI Defense
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Laywers
  • Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
  • Matt Horak has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer Legion