Texas Motorcycle DWI Laws
October 25th, 2016 by Tad Nelson in DWI
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.