There’s nothing better than getting your buddies together for the big game – and in Texas, all football games are big. Whether you’re packed around the television or tailgating in the parking lot, football games are a time to kick back, have some beers, and relax before getting back to the grind of real life.
Unfortunately, when you have one drink too many, you could be putting your life at risk. A recent study revealed that 8% of fans (who wanted to submit to a BAC test after a professional sports game) leave the game legally drunk. That’s approximately 5,000 people leaving each NFL game – and that doesn’t include college or high school.
If you are one of the 8% and decide to drive home, you could face DWI charges – and the harsh penalties that go with a conviction.
Penalties for DWI In Texas
Say you and your buddies are leaving the game, and you decide that your “least drunk” friend should be the one to drive home. Bad idea.
Even two or three drinks could set someone over the legal limit. If you attended a tailgate or a night game, your chances of having a legally drunk friend drive you home increase exponentially. It could even be you.
If law enforcement officers pull you over and you fail a chemical test, you could be charged with DWI and have to go to court. A charge isn’t a conviction, but if a judge finds you guilty, you could face the following penalties:
- Up to $2,000 in fines (not counting court fees)
- Up to 180 days behind bars
- Up to a year without a valid driver’s license
- Additional annual fees
That’s just for a first-time DWI conviction. If you’ve already been convicted, a second conviction could result in heavier penalties, including:
- Up to $4,000 in fines
- Up to 12 months behind bars
- Up to two years without a valid driver’s license
- Additional annual fees
Not surprisingly, the penalties only get harsher if you reach a third or subsequent conviction, or if there are aggravating factors. For example, if you are arrested with a child under the age of 15 in the car, you could face DWI with a Child Passenger charges. The penalties for a conviction include:
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Up to two years behind bars in a state jail
- Up to 180 days without a driver’s license
The Lesson: Be Careful at Texas Football Games to Avoid DWI Charges
The penalties for DWI in Texas are not worth the risk. When you are getting ready for football season, remember the following tips and keep yourself out of court:
- Designate a driver who won’t have a single drink at a game. Otherwise, your “least drunk” friend could still blow a .08.
- Take public transportation or a rideshare to the game to avoid any temptation to drive back.
- If you do want to enjoy a beer, cut yourself off before halftime. Alcohol takes at least an hour to process in your body, and football games typically only last between two and three hours.
- Download apps that help you determine your BAC before driving.
- Remember your rights when behind the wheel.
Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy the game!
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.