Drunk driving accusations come with some very serious penalties. This is one of the reasons why it is imperative for officers to make sure they are absolutely certain that the person is intoxicated before they make the decision to make the claim.

It might interest you to know that the penalties you are going to face for drunk driving are going to start before you are convicted of the crime. In some cases, you will have to deal with these penalties and then not even be charged with any crime. Here’s what you need to know about drunk driving penalties:

Penalties before conviction

As soon as you are arrested for drunk driving, you will face a driver’s license suspension. This doesn’t go into effect right away. Instead, you will have a temporary license issued that is good for 15 days. The suspension will start on day 16 after the arrest. This suspension will remain in place for three months.

The reason you can face a suspension even though you aren’t convicted is because the suspension is an administrative process. It is not a criminal matter. Since this is an administrative matter, you do have the right to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. You only have 15 days from the date of your arrest to get the hearing request in or you will lose your ability to drive legally.

Texas law does have an exception to the three-month license suspension that comes as an administrative penalty. You have the option of having an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle. In this case, the license suspension will only be in effect for 30 days. This is a nice break for some drivers who need to be able to drive for work.

Penalties the come with conviction

The penalties that you face for a drunk driving conviction get harsher with each subsequent conviction. Your blood alcohol concentration at the time of the incident also matters. If you have a BAC of .08 to .14 percent, you will face regular drunk driving penalties. For a BAC of .015 percent or higher, you face enhanced penalties.

The penalties that you face for a conviction include time in jail, a driver’s license suspension that is in addition to the administrative penalty, education requirements and fines. You might also be required to have the ignition interlock installed on your vehicle and may be placed on probation.