Under Texas law, driving while intoxicated is defined as driving a vehicle while drunk on alcohol, or under the influence of drugs. It is a criminal offense and for the most part, the law provides specific blood alcohol concentrations, which are deemed to be “over the limit.”

Texas has a Zero Tolerance law regarding alcohol consumption and minors. So for drivers under the age of 21, any detection of alcohol or other drugs is too much. For those drivers that are 21 and older, the legal limit is 0.08%. Commercial drivers have a legal BAC limit of 0.04%.

Texas is an implied consent state, meaning that by driving on the roads in Texas, you consent to submit to chemical testing if law enforcement has reason to suspect driver intoxication. Refusing a chemical test can result in the revocation or suspension of a driver’s license.

DWI Penalties

Penalties in  Texas are based on a collection of factors, which include the driver’s age, license type, whether other passengers are in the vehicle, whether there was an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, or if there has been an accident. The severity of punishments can range from the payment of fines, court costs and lawyer fees, to the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license, to imprisonment. A prison sentence may even be given to a first-time  offender. The court may also order rehabilitation in the form of mandatory community service,  education and/or intervention programs. Punishments increase in severity with the increase in number of offenses committed. Automobile insurance premiums also increase with the number of DWI offenses a driver has.

Adult DWI offenders can be subject to:

  • A fine

    • First-time offense: up to $2,000

    • Second-time offense: up to $4,000

    • Third-time offense or driving with a child 15 years or younger in the car: up to $10,000

  • A jail sentence

    • First-time offense: ranging from 3 days 6 months in jail

    • Second-time offense: ranging from 30 days to a year in jail

    • Third-time offense: ranging from 2 years to 10 years in state prison

    • Driving with a child 15 years or younger in the car: 2 years in jail

  • Up to 2 years of license suspension, or 180 days if offense involved driving with a child 15 years or younger in the car

  • A $2,000 annual license surcharge for up to 3 years

  • Intervention and/or education

  • Ignition interlock device installation in vehicle

A DWI Attorney Can Help

The DWI laws in Texas are severe and have harsh consequences. When faced with a DWI charge or if you have refused to submit to a chemical test, you’ll need an experienced DWI attorney who can help you develop your strongest possible defense. The seasoned attorneys at Giles & Giles realize that a DWI charge can seriously impact your life, so we work as hard as we can to minimize that impact.