Houston Criminal Law Blog

EXPERIENCED. AGGRESSIVE. HOUSTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp

What are Alcohol-Related Crimes?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most serious crimes that involve alcohol. The consumption of beer, wine or liquor can seriously impair one’s ability to drive. To be convicted of drunk driving in Texas, a person must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08.

A defendant’s first DWI conviction is usually a misdemeanor. However, it can be punished as a felony if any of the following circumstances are true:

  • A child under the age of 15 was in the vehicle at the time of arrest
  • The accused driver seriously injured another person
  • The accused driver killed another person

A drunk driver who seriously injures or kills someone else may be charged with intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter, respectively. Any subsequent convictions would also be tried as felonies.

Any conviction for DWI will result in the automatic suspension of a person’s driver’s license unless he requests an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. A person may also face prison or jail time, fines and community supervision.

Underage Possession of Alcohol

Another common alcohol offense deals with possession by people under the age of 21. Underage individuals may only possess alcohol while in the scope of employment or within the visible presence of parents or guardians.

If a minor is found guilty of this juvenile crime, his first conviction is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. He will generally be required to pay fines, abstain from driving, attend therapy for alcohol abuse and consent to community supervision. If he accumulates any subsequent convictions, the penalties will increase.

Public Intoxication

Public intoxication is a crime that affects quality of life. This means that police enforce this crime to preserve the community standards for people who live in a certain area. A person may be charged with public intoxication if he poses a danger to himself or others. He can also be arrested if officers regard him as a nuisance. Public intoxication is usually labeled as a misdemeanor.

For a defendant to be convicted of public intoxication, the police must prove that:

  • He had an odor of alcohol at the time of arrest.
  • He was wobbly or unsteady on his feet.
  • His eyes were red, puffy or glassy.

For this crime, prosecutors are not required to show that the defendant’s blood alcohol content was over the legal limit.

Please contact The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp if you would like to discuss the possible defenses for any alcohol-related crime.

Call The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp for a free consultation 713-868-6100
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