DPS troopers will have extra officers on duty in March, looking for spring breakers who are speeding, driving drunk, or not wearing a safety belt.
"The drinking age in Texas is 21. When it comes to underage drinking and driving, Texas has a zero tolerance law," says Col. Thomas A. Davis Jr., director of the DPS. "If you're under 21, you face criminal charges and suspension of your license if you drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system."
DPS troopers are reminding Spring Break travelers to make sure drivers are well-rested. Other safety tips include: leaving in plenty of time to get to your destination, obeying the speed limit and checking your vehicle before you leave to make sure all parts are in good working condition.
Here are the criminal charges that could arise from an arrest for DWI:
- First offense (Class B misdemeanor): fine of up to $2,000, jail term of three days to six months, license suspension from three months to one year. If the judge opts for probation, an alcohol education program is required within six months or the driver license is automatically suspended until the class is completed.
- Second offense (Class A misdemeanor): fine of up to $4,000 and/or jail term of 30 days to one year, mandatory three days in jail even if probation is granted, license suspension from six months to two years.
- Third offense or intoxication assault (third degree felony): fine of up to $10,000, penitentiary term of two to 10 years, license suspension of six months to two years.
- Intoxication Manslaughter (second degree felony): fine of up to $10,000, penitentiary term of two to 20 years, license suspension of six months to two years.
DPS estimates that a first-offense DWI costs at least $3,180 and could cost as much as $17,000, not including surcharges, lost work time and any liability costs.