According to the most recent figures from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are approximately 4,700 motorcyclists killed in a “motor vehicle traffic crash” each year. The NHTSA said about 28 percent of these reported fatalities involved drivers who were legally intoxicated—i.e., they had a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. Overall, motorcyclists were statistically more likely to be involved in a DWI crash than individuals operating cars or trucks.
Defining DWI for Motorcycle Drivers
Not surprisingly, Texas takes a harsh stance on all types of DWI offenses. It does not matter whether an intoxicated driver operates a motorcycle or a car. The Texas Penal Code defines “driving while intoxicated” as the operation of any “motor vehicle” while under the influence of alcohol. A motor vehicle, for DWI purposes, includes any “device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway.” This includes both motorcycles and mopeds.
Note that while a blood-alcohol level of at least .08 percent is sufficient to establish a driver is legally intoxicated, it is not the only means that prosecutors and police can use to prove a DWI. Texas law defines intoxication broadly to include “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug,” or any combination thereof. So a person who is observed erratically operating a motorcycle while under the influence of a drug—even a prescription medication—may be arrested and charged with a DWI.
Consequences of a Houston, Texas Motorcycle DUI Charge
A DWI charge is a serious matter. If you are arrested on suspicion of DWI, you will likely spend at least a night in jail while waiting to make bond. Your motorcycle will be towed and impounded. And if you are convicted of a DWI—as a first offense—your driver’s license may be suspended for up a year. You may also face up to 180 days in jail.
A driver’s license suspension applies equally to a motorcycle and any other type of motor vehicle. So if you are convicted of a DWI based on driving a motorcycle, that does not mean you are still allowed to drive a car or truck. A second DWI conviction, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a two year license suspension, may also lead to the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your motorcycle.
Given these potentially life-changing consequences, it is important to have experienced legal representation if you are facing even a first-time DWI charge in League City. If you need help from a Galveston DWI defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today.