A considerable amount of land in Texas is federal, including National Parks, National Forests, military installations, and federal buildings. Many people get stopped for DWI while on federal land and will face legal proceedings as a result., Unfortunately, federal DWI charges are complex and can differ considerably from charges in state court.
If you’ve been arrested for federal DWI, contact Tad Nelson & Associates today. Our Houston DWI lawyers understand what penalties you face and can represent you before a federal judge.
Which Laws Apply?
In general, state law applies unless there is a conflicting federal law. Where there is conflict, a federal law applies.
- If you are arrested for DWI in a National Park, then their own regulations would cover the crime. Texas has two national parks: Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains.
- If you are arrested on other federal land, then the Assimilative Crimes Act states that a federal court will apply Texas state law.
National Parks regulations are similar to our state’s DWI definition: a BAC of .08 or higher or being under the influence of drugs/alcohol and unable to operate your motor vehicle safely. You can be charged with DWI in a national park for prescription drug use or even with a very low BAC.
Which Court Hears Your Case?
Because you were arrested on federal land, your case will go through federal court. This means you need a skilled Texas DWI attorney experienced in the federal court system, which is not the same as the Texas court system. Different rules of procedure and evidence apply. Federal prosecutors also have different goals when it comes to DWI cases.
At Tad Nelson & Associates, we can handle your federal DWI case. We will attend the arraignment with you and negotiate with the prosecutor. We can also defend you in a federal trial, if necessary.
What Are the Penalties for a DWI on Federal Land?
If you are arrested in a national park, then you will be charged under 36 CFR § 4.23. This is a Class B misdemeanor which can result in up to 6 months in federal prison and a $5,000 fine. You might also face up to 5 years on probation which can come with grueling conditions.
If you’re arrested on other federal land (not National Parks), then you face many of the penalties you do if convicted in Texas court under our state’s DWI law. The federal government can also prevent you from driving onto federal property for a year.
Can You Be Penalized for Refusing a Chemical Test?
Yes. Federal law allows the government to prohibit you from driving on federal lands for a year if you refuse a test.
We Represent Defendants on Federal DWI Charges
Attorney Tad Nelson and our team have helped many people prosecuted in federal court. Although you might feel intimidated by the federal process, it is possible to win these cases. Tad brings the same expertise in DWI law to federal cases as he does those in state courtrooms.
To learn more, call our law firm today to schedule your consultation.