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Recent life sentence highlights seriousness of DWI charges in Texas

CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported in September that a 44-year old Texas woman had been sentenced to life in prison for a DWI arrest.
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    December 08, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Most people in Dallas are well aware of their state's reputation for taking violations of the law seriously and delivering harsh punishments. DUI and DWI penalties are no exception to this tendency, with punishments being significant for repeat offenders. The story of a woman who was sentenced to a life sentence for a DWI conviction this September serves as a reminder that drug or alcohol related offenses come with steep consequences in Texas.

Stories of severe penalties

CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported in September that a 44-year old Texas woman had been sentenced to life in prison for a DWI arrest. The woman had an open container of alcohol in her vehicle when she was arrested for DWI for the sixth time in July 2012. The woman had already served jail time for some of her previous convictions, which had all occurred within a 20-year period, with the first being in 1996.

This woman's case is unusual, but it is not singular. In 2010, ABC News reported that a 54-year old Texas man had been sentenced to life in prison after getting into an accident and being arrested with a blood-alcohol level of .32. The man had eight prior DWI convictions, so the judge ordered a lifelong prison sentence.

These situations may seem ridiculous to the average driver in Texas. However, at some point, many people have driven with alcohol in their systems, and some people have driven with blood-alcohol levels exceeding the legal limit. Law enforcement efforts in Texas are not lacking when it comes to catching these drivers, either. CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported in October that, during an 18-day period that included Labor Day weekend, 1,682 DWI arrests were made throughout the state.

Considering all of this, it's very important for drivers in Texas to appreciate the consequences of a DWI conviction and know what to do to avoid this kind of situation.

Preventing DWI situations

Of course, the easiest way to avoid DWI charges is to plan ahead to avoid drinking and driving. Motorists can spare themselves from the expense, inconvenience and stigma of a DWI conviction by doing any of the following:
- Limiting drinking to one alcoholic beverage.
- Designating a driver who will not drink at all or calling a cab.
- Using public transportation such as DART to get home.
- Finding a place to stay for the night instead of returning home.

In the event that these measures don't work and you are arrested for DWI, it is important to understand that refusing to consent to sobriety tests is not a way to avoid penalties. In fact, refusal to consent causes an automatic license suspension even if you are not found guilty of DWI, and the refusal can be used against you in court later.

Of course, consenting to tests and failing them can also have serious consequences. This is why it's important for anyone who has been arrested for DWI in Texas to speak to an attorney immediately to understand his or her options and improve the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

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