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Harlingen DUI/DWI Lawyer

driving under the influence and intoxicated in harlingen

In the County of Cameron, the most recent data from the Texas Department of Transportation indicates 414 alcohol-related driving under the influence (DUI) crashes, with 90 total crashes occurring in Harlingen.

However, not all DUI or DWI cases are the result of an accident. A motorist traveling on Interstate 69E or driving on Commerce Street might get pulled over for speeding or any number of traffic incidents and get charged with a DUI.

If you are facing DUI or DWI charges in Harlingen, it’s important to know your rights and have an idea of what to expect. It’s a good idea to contact a dedicated Harlingen DUI/DWI lawyer at Kenny Perez Law for assistance with your situation, especially if you might have been falsely accused of intoxication.

DUI/DWI Laws in Texas

In Texas, driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are interchangeable terms according to the law.

According to Texas Penal Code Section 49.01, intoxicated while driving requires mental or physical impairment from drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or a combination of both. Additionally, a person with a blood-alcohol level (or blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08 or higher is also intoxicated when operating a vehicle.

For those operating commercial vehicles and holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL), that limit is 0.04 BAC. The threshold is lower because commercial vehicle drivers who drive a bus, truck, semi-truck or tractor-trailer, or others have to meet higher standards due to their profession.

In Texas, you just have to exhibit signs of impaired mental or physical faculties—drivers do not need a BAC at or over the legal limit for the law to consider them intoxicated.

The first step in determining intoxication is getting pulled over in a traffic stop or vehicle checkpoint. That’s why it’s essential to be aware of what to expect if you’re pulled over.

Evaluations and Tests to Determine Intoxication

To determine if a person operating a motor vehicle is intoxicated, law enforcement will either perform a field sobriety test (often called a roadside sobriety test), use a Breathalyzer device to analyze blood alcohol concentration in someone’s breath, or both.

Some examples of sobriety tests are walking a straight line heel to toe and then turning around, standing on one leg, or checking someone’s gaze or eye movement.

The issue with these tests is that they can be subjective to the person conducting the evaluation. As a result, a law enforcement officer may misjudge a driver’s balance or coordination even if that person is not intoxicated.

That’s why if you are wrongly accused and arrested of DUI or DWI in Harlingen, you should reach out to lawyers experienced with these types of cases as soon as possible following your arrest.

Possible Fines and Penalties for DUI/DWI in Harlingen, TX

Driving under the influence charges carry weighty fines, fees, and minimum required jail time once a person gets convicted. The charges and penalties or fees vary depending on the situation and whether or it is a first offense. Charges and penalties increase with each additional offense. Below is the breakdown for each violation.

First Offence

The first time a person faces DUI charges, they can expect a minimum of 72 hours jail time with as much as six to 180 days total. They might also get their license suspended for 90 days or up to one year.

Fines and fees include:

  • $3,000 state fine
  • Up to $2,000 in additional fines
  • An annual fee of up to $2,000 for three years just to keep your driver’s license

Second Offence

The second time you are convicted of DUI or DWI, you can be put in jail for anywhere from one month to one year. In addition, your license is also suspended (for a one-year minimum, but as long as two years).

Fines and fees include:

  • $4,500 state fine
  • Up to $4,000 in additional fines
  • An annual fee of up to $2,000 for three years just to keep your driver’s license

Third Offence

The costliest and largest impact is a third DUI conviction. A person could face two to ten years in prison and a one- to two-year license suspension.

Fines and fees include:

  • $6,000 state fine
  • An additional $10,000 fine
  • An annual fee of up to $2,000 for three years just to keep your driver’s license

In addition to the above consequences, a person may also need to go through community service programs or use an ignition interlock device that makes the driver pass a Breathalyzer test before starting the vehicle.

Some Defenses for DUI or DWI Charges

If you’re arrested for driving while intoxicated but have not consumed any drugs or alcohol, there is recourse for being wrongly accused. However, it is a challenge best handled by an experienced DUI attorney in Harlingen.

Among other defenses, your lawyer might argue:

  • That the law enforcement officer didn’t have a valid reason to stop you because you weren’t committing a moving violation or driving recklessly
  • That the sobriety test was biased or inaccurate
  • That the Breathalyzer, blood, or urine test was faulty either because of poor testing equipment or errors in collection and testing procedures
  • That prescription medication or physical disabilities skewed testing results
Harlingen DUI/DWI Lawyer, Kenny Perez

Getting arrested for a DUI is upsetting, especially when you suspect wrongdoing on the part of law enforcement. What’s more, the effects of a conviction can last for the rest of your life, significantly affecting you both financially and professionally.

Consulting an attorney who has experience handling DUI or DWI cases takes some of the burdens and worries off your shoulders.

If you are arrested and charged with a DUI or DWI, contact the lawyers at Kenny Perez Law at (956) 544-9292 as soon as you can for a complimentary case consultation. A representative is also available via online chat, 24 hours a day.


Kenny Perez Law

513 E Jackson Ave # 304,
Harlingen, TX 78550
(956) 659-9553

Definitely a law firm that you can trust! Professional, reasonable, and knowledgeable. The legal team has great customer service skills. They were able to help and guide us every step of the way after our accident.” – Cynthia Barrera
Rating: 5/5
03/14/2021
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Kenny Perez Law is the Texas law firm that you can trust. We serve the entire state of Texas with offices in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Brownsville, Harlingen and McAllen.

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