Categories: Alcohol & Impairment

Does Open Alcohol Container affect your DWI case in Texas

Not long ago, you could take a road trip to Austin, TX, driving with one hand on the steering wheel and holding your cold beer with the other. However, in 2001, Texas adopted one of the strictest laws that make it illegal to have an open container of alcohol within all the vehicle occupants. You don’t need to have alcohol content in your system; you can be charged with an alcohol-related offense even when others are the one holding an open container. The law is termed as open container law. Unfortunately, many people who have been charged with Driving When intoxicated (DWI) don’t understand how the law works or how it can affect their DWI case.

There are many dimensions of open container law that you must to be aware of if accused of a violation. This article covers most of what you’ll need to know, but shouldn’t be construed as legal advice. For legal advice, contact The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski or one of the many other qualified criminal defense attorneys in Austin, TX.

DWI Offenses in Austin, Texas

Penalties that are associated with DWI conviction are severe; Texas is particularly strict when it comes to prosecuting alleged drunk drivers due to the recent increase of accidents. You may find yourself faced with hefty fines, jail times or costly court costs. Other consequences include license suspension, higher insurance rate and penalties assessed by the department of transportation. A DWI case can be expensive, and its repercussion can last for years, so any arrest for DWI must be taken seriously. However, as noted you don’t need to be drunk to be arrested or charged with class C misdemeanor. Possessing an open container of alcohol when driving is considered a class C misdemeanor and punishable by $500. Sometimes an open container violation coupled with a DWI charge and having it can be an aggravating factor in your DWI case.

Open Container Violations

Man committing a DWI offense in Austin, TXOpen containers violation is basically any receptacle holding of alcohol showing signs of utilization. So, is the top of the bear is open or has been taken off the container, or the seal of the containers has been tampered with, or liquid seems to be removed from the container, then you can be charged with open container violation.

Texas open container laws forbid possession in the passenger area of the vehicle as long as the vehicle is located on the public highway, whether the vehicle is parked, stopped or packed.

The passenger area is the areas designed both for the passenger and the driver. It does not include:

  • A glove compartment
  • The truck of the car
  • The space just behind the last seat of your car.

For you to be accused and to be guilty of the open container offense, you must be aware of possession of an open alcohol container in your vehicle.

Open Container Plus DWI Charges

The Penalty for the first time DWI conviction when with open alcohol containers are pretty much the same as the first time conviction and don’t have aggravating conditions. Both offenses are considered class B misdemeanor; the difference is that the minimum jail time will be six days and not 72 hours. However, that’s not all; Open container violation can have other effects on your DWI case. First, it strengthens the prosecution claim that you were drinking shortly before driving. Second, because of the aggravating circumstance, the court can choose a high end of the punishment, which generally hurts you.

Having lawyer beside you when accused of DWI and open container violation increases your chances of fighting your case. The DWI lawyer may be able to contest a DWI charge based on the procedure taken by the officers who searched your vehicle or other factors. Either way, an experienced lawyer can ensure you have the most optimal results possible.

Categories: Alcohol & Impairment

DWI, Drunk Driving, and the Texas Penal Code

In the United States, the law about Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) vary from state to state. Houston DWI cases are charged as an offense of someone driving under the influence of drugs while the DUI is an offense charged when someone is under the influence of drugs or other substances.With a qualified Houston DWI lawyer like Tad Nelson on your side, you’ll have the best chance of beating the charge in court.

Link to Texas Penal Code for DWI-related offenses.

However, in Texas, the law about DUI and DWI varies and there a difference between the two offenses basing on two main factors namely the level of intoxication exhibited by the offender and the age of the driver.

DUI in Texas is a specific charged offense that is committed when the offender is below the age of 21, and they are driving with a detectable amount of alcohol in their system. If an officer can smell the breath of alcohol from the driver that is under the age of 21 years, then the officer has the right to charge the offender with a DUI. In Texas, the offense of DUI is charged not by the amount of intoxication the driver is under but also any detectable alcohol in the driver’s system.

This varies from other states where a DUI is an offense where someone is charged for driving while they are intoxicated. In Texas, the DUI offense is classified as a class c, and this is the lowest classes of offenses. The DUI offense is punishable by only a fine of up to $500, and this offense cannot result in any jail time. Also, if you are under the age of 21 years old and have been charged with a DUI, there is a risk that your driver’s license may be suspended for a period of between 60-180 days. The risk of suspension of your driver’s license depends on the offenses that are previously related to DUI.

The DWI offense in Texas is charged when someone is found operating a motor vehicle in a public place, driving on a public road, and this person may be exhibiting signs of intoxication or impairment. These signs may include; abnormal use of their physical or mental faculties due to the introduction of drugs, alcohol, a dangerous drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol. DWI in Texas is also charged when a driver has an alcohol content in their bloodstream of 0.8 or higher. It should be noted that the offense of DWI in Texas is different from other states as it involves someone driving and they have either used, drugs, alcohol or used a combination of drugs and alcohol leading to impairment of their normal brain and motor functioning.

The consequences of a DWI in Texas is categorized as a class b, and it is a more severe offense compared to the DUI offense. The DWI offense can lead to jail time of between 0-180 days or probation for two years. Also, the DWI offense in Texas might attract a fine of $2,000 and also the risk of suspension of your driver’s license.

Categories: Drug Crimes

The Seriousness of Cocaine Charges in Texas

All the fifty states uniformly prohibit the use, sale, possession or trafficking of cocaine. Texas, specifically, have some strict laws about the drug. It is clearly spelled on the law. Failure to adhere to this rule of law results to the administration of heavy penalties. The punishment is dependent on the number of drugs that one is in possession of, in the event of arrest. The following are some of the cocaine offenses depending on the section code and the penalties to be administered.

Cocaine possession

Possession of cocaine in Texas is by itself a criminal offense, which can’t go unpunished. It is a violation of the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Possession of less than one gram of cocaine is a state jail felony with six months to two years imprisonment. You’ll be subjected to a third-degree felony if you’re found possessing 1-4 grams of cocaine. You will be bound through a second-degree felony if you have more than four grams, but less than 200 grams. 200 grams to 400 grams is equivalent to the first-degree felony and you risk more than ten years imprisonment. If you are lucky, the Texas Department of Justice Institution will release you on a $100,000 bail. However, the defendant must possess the drug knowingly for these rules to remain.

Cocaine sale and trafficking

This is inclusive of delivering of cocaine. To ‘deliver,’ in the Texas law context means, ‘to actually transfer the drug substance or the drug paraphernalia to a second party, regardless of whether or not there exist a relationship between the two.’ It occurs when the one possessing cocaine assists the second party in a constructive manner to possess the drug. These too, are charged depending on the weight of the drug. For less than a gram, the defendant may be subjected to six months to two years imprisonment and $10,000 fine. Delivery of more than 400g may lead one to be life imprisoned and/or a $250,000 fine.

Cocaine manufacturer

Texas law also captures the manufacturer of the drug in their law definition. Manufacturing is the state of production, preparation, and propagation of the drug to assist a second person in possession of the drug. It also encompasses the packaging and labeling of the drug for ease of identification by the buyer. Manufacturing, like possession and delivery, are also punished according to their weight. Actually, the punishment in this category is a replica of those in possession and delivery. However, the punishment may vary depending on the attorney and other factors. Since production may occur in bulk, the penalties here may also be heavy.

The bottom line

Although the penalties are heavy for the drug dealing activities, there is room for lawyers to intervene through a process of legal assistance.

At times, there shall be enhanced additional or lesser penalties depending on whether the cocaine-related activities were conducted for financial benefit or where the event actually took place. This is where the attorneys come in.

If the law has caught you up, sometimes you’ll be obligated to find solace from the legal lawyers. They will help reduce the heavy impact of the hand of the law. The law provides for a regular visit to a medic who checks your health progress. If you find an attorney who deals with a drug crime, he’ll help you sail through the process as you periodically go for drug tests.

Categories: Criminal Defense Lawyers

Finding a Top Criminal Lawyer in Houston

The Beginning of Criminal Charges

Houston criminal law enforcement can be very aggressive at times, netting innocent people in its wrath. The first thing to happen is you’re asked certain information by the officer like your name, origin, and destination. This all after the frightening experience of seeing the police lights in the rearview, not to mention that deafening siren. This is all the beginning of a long process in which your rights will be tested right along with your faith, and patience. If you’ve never hired a criminal defense lawyer in Houston before, this will be the first time, and you should.

I only recommend top lawyers like Mark W. Bennett, Jack B. Carroll, and Sam Cammack to my readers, friends, and neighbors who are in need of a trusted recommendation for legal representation in criminal cases. It’s hard to find a good lawyer in Houston, as many of which claim to be the best lawyer or even worse, the top lawyer. In situations like these it’s best to seek the recommendation of someone who knows what they’re talking about, rather than falling victim to flashy advertising campaigns.

Preparing to Fight Prosecution in Houston

Facing criminal charges in Harris County? I’ve listed a top lawyer in the map below.



After you hire your legal representation, it’ll be important to be honest with him, and give him all the information you can possibly remember about your case. Depending of the gravity of the criminal charges against you, the criminal defense lawyer might hire a private investigator to conduct a third party investigation of the facts. This process is intended to help your criminal defense team fight the criminal charges against you. Mark W. Bennett of Bennett & Bennett and Jack B. Carroll of Jack B. Carroll & Associates regularly hire top private investigation firms like Gradoni & Associates when they’re fighting for their clients. It’s extremely important to hire serious legal representation for serious case. Don’t put your life in the hands of a rookie lawyer with limited experience